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What degree do I need to be a librarian?

If you enjoy reading and find the library to be one of your favorite places to go, you might be thinking about becoming a librarian. But you may be surprised by the level of education required for this career. Generally, librarians are expected to have a master's degree in this subject. If you are committed to getting the necessary education, read on to learn how to get started.

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees

As you make plans to become a librarian, you should get a bachelor's degree first. This can generally be in any field, though a degree in English or Literature may be a good start. If you plan to work in a specialized library, such as one that focuses on science or law, you might want to major or at least minor in a related field.

Once you have a bachelor's degree of any kind, you can go for a Master of Library Science (MLS). You can expect this advanced degree to take two to three years to finish, during which time you will learn how to classify and catalogue books, keep the library's collection updated, and use your research skills to answer questions. You will also learn how to manage employees and the library as a whole. You may be able to find a school that offers this degree online. But whether you take the online route or attend classes in person, make sure the school you choose to study at is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

Get Certified as a Librarian

Before you can get a job as a librarian, you will need to seek certification. This involves filling out an Application for Librarian's Certification and sending in school transcripts and reference letters. In addition, if you plan to work in a school library, you will also likely need a teaching license or certification from your state.

You can get experience in this field by applying to your city or university library while you complete your degree. This may involve simply re-shelving books or even working as a volunteer or intern for a while. This way, you will have real world knowledge of how a library operates by the time you graduate.


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