How to Become a Librarian in 4 Simple Steps

What is a Librarian ?

Whether it’s an enormous public library in an urban area or a small one-room library in a rural town, the work of a librarian is to help visitors navigate a library’s resources. A librarian helps people find books, DVDs, CDs and other materials in the library’s catalog. Also, you organize items in the catalog, prepares new arrivals, checks books in and out and orders resources from other branches.

A librarian educates people on all of the services provided by the library. You handle phone calls, email and even social media posts from people looking for particular books or other resources.

Before learning the facts on how to become a librarian, check out five main duties of this professional:

  • Checking out books for visitors and checking in books returned to the library
  • Monitoring the organization of the library’s book shelves
  • Placing orders for new books and other resources
  • Educating the public on all the resources contained in the library
  • Providing guidance and suggestions to visitors who want to research certain subjects

The Work Environment and Hours of a Librarian

Some librarians work in large, public or university libraries with many sections. Others work in modest libraries in elementary schools. Most libraries are open weekdays for about twelve hours. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, many librarians in public and university libraries work weekends too.

The Top Must-Have Skills for a Librarian

  • The ability to utilize Dewey Decimal system as you organize resources in the library. The Monroe County Public Library has a useful summary to review. The smooth operation of any library depends upon the logical organization of its resources.
  • The ability to communicate with visitors and understand what they are looking for. You should be able to speak in a friendly, helpful way to visitors who are unfamiliar with the layout of the library.
  • The ability to use various technological devices in the library such as the computers and eBook readers. Today’s libraries are filled with technology. You must know how to use the library’s technology to help visitors find what they are looking for.
  • The ability to operate office equipment in the library. Some people who visit a library want to make copies or use the printer. As a librarian, you should be able to show visitors who to use these devices.
  • The ability to order books and other resources to refresh the library’s collection. Libraries must order the newest novels, works of non-fiction and other resources in order to fulfill the needs of its visitors. Also, reading the latest novels and other exciting works can prove helpful if you’re asked for your opinion of them.

What is a Librarian

Becoming a Librarian

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Librarians

Want to know how to become a librarian? Start by looking at what courses you should take in high school to start on the path toward this interesting occupation.


A literature class that covers writing done by American authors and those from other countries can help you become familiar with great works of literature. This will help you guide visitors to books when they want to be inspired by what they read.

Public Speaking

A public speaking course taken in high school can help you learn how to speak confidently and expand on various subjects. Visitors appreciate a friendly, knowledgeable librarian.

A Computer Class

A class on the basics of using a computer to find information online can be helpful in a career of a librarian. Becoming familiar with how a computer works and its various programs can prove valuable when helping visitors in your library.

Formal Education Requirements

A librarian not only organizes a library’s collection of resources, you must develop a collection that thoroughly serves the public. Developing a library’s collection means evaluating which resources are most used and which are used less frequently. Also, you must have knowledge of how to set up and expand a library’s collection.

Librarians have to know how to collect information for visitors that includes many views on a particular subject. You perform clerical duties, but it’s much more than a clerical position like a library technician. The American Library Association recommends finding an accredited master’s program because it provides more flexibility in the types of jobs you can apply for in this field.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree

Liberal Arts Bachelor’s Degree 4 years

A high school diploma is a basic admissions requirement to universities offering a liberal arts bachelor degree program. Besides that, each university has its own individual requirements regarding grades, extracurricular activities and more. But, generally, it takes about 120 semester hours of credit to earn this degree.


  • World Civilization I
  • World Civilization II
  • World War II
  • Women in American History
  • African-American History
  • European Economic & Social History
  • The Holocaust
  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Stalin’s Russia
  • Introduction to Legal Concepts
  • Introduction to Business Law
  • Corporate and Property Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Family Law
  • Women and the Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Intellectual Property
  • Legal Research Methods
  • Wills,Trusts and Estates
  • Legal Aspects of Cyberspace
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Logic and Critical Reasoning
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introduction to World Religions
  • Engineering and Ethics
  • Philosophy of Sex and Love
  • Latin American Philosophy
  • Introduction to American Politics
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Introduction to Politics and Sports
  • Politics of the Internet
  • Law and the Legal System
  • State and Local Politics
  • Politics and Film
  • The Politics of Food
  • Constitutional Law and Politics
  • Congress
  • American Presidency
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Introduction to Psychological Science
  • Psychology of Personality
  • Community Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Brain, Mind & Behavior
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Learning and Behavior
  • Psychology and Women
  • Human Sexuality

The calculated cost of a liberal arts bachelor degree program is $45,600- $110,400.

Click the link below and find the top liberal arts bachelor degree programs close to you.

Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree

Master’s Degree in Library Science program 1-2 years

To be accepted into a university offering a master’s degree in library science, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a grade point average of between 3.0 and 4.0. A qualifying score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as well as letters of recommendation are other admission requirements. To earn a master’s degree in library science you need to complete about 36 semester credit hours.


  • Foundations of Library and Information Studies
  • Information Retrieval
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Information Organization
  • Collection Development
  • Information Sources and Services
  • Library Management
  • Practicum

The calculated cost of a Masters Degree degree in Library Science program is $19,243- $24,588.

Click the link below and find the top liberal arts bachelor degree programs close to you.

Step 4: Get Licensed

A librarian who works in a school must have a teacher’s certificate. The University of Kentucky has a convenient chart listing the teacher certification requirements by state.

If you want to work in a public library you need to apply to your state for certification. This requires sending your school transcripts and letters of recommendation. The cost of librarian certification varies from state to state.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Librarian and How Much Does it Cost?

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$45,600- $110,400
Master’s2 years to 3 years$19,243- $24,588
Total6 years to 7 years$64,843- $134,988

Librarian Training Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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