Education and Training > Librarians > Preparation

Librarians - Preparation

To work as a librarian, you typically need to:

  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • have a bachelor's degree; and
  • have a master's degree in library and information science.

Education after high school

Most librarians have a master's degree in library science (MLS) or library and information science (MLIS). You need two years to complete a MLS after you earn a bachelor's degree. In a master's degree program, you study library science, material selection, and reference tools.

Librarians at special libraries may need an advanced degree in the library's subject in addition to the MLS. For example, to work in a law library, you may need an MLS and a law degree.

School librarians and library media specialists usually need a bachelor's degree in education and courses in library science. Some schools require librarians to be certified both as a teacher and a school librarian. Other schools require a MLS degree with a focus in school library media. Yet other schools require a master's degree in education with a focus in school library or educational media.

Work experience

Work as a library technical assistant is a good background for this occupation. Volunteer work at your school or local library is also helpful.

On-the-job training

Many libraries offer additional on-the-job training to learn about specific technologies and library procedures. This training may be hands-on, classroom-based, or both. Training may last a few weeks to several months.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.