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Librarian

A librarian is a person trained in librarianship (also known as library and information science or just library science) who works in some type of library. Librarians are traditionally associated with large collections of books but the profession continues to evolve to meet technological and social needs. A librarian may provide information services, including coordination of public programs, computer provision and training, literacy education and assisting with the use of community resources.

Education

dv1940037Many people who love reading decide they want to become a librarian. The job requires more than a love of reading, however. If you are thinking about becoming a librarian, you should try to arrange a meeting with a librarian in a nearby library to discuss the profession. To apply to an MLS program, you will need an undergraduate degree. Although there is no major requirement, English, Computer Science, and Art History are recommended majors to help provide some relative experience. You then need to obtain an ALA accredited Masters of Library Science. Each program is unique, so be sure to research thoroughly before you apply. The University of Michigan (http://www.si.umich.edu/academics/msi/library-and-information-science-lis) and University of Oklahoma (http://slis.ou.edu/) both offer MLS programs. Try to gain work experience before you finish your MLS (preferably before you finish your undergraduate degree). You can apply for a job at a local public library or your university library, or try to find a librarian internship. Networking with librarians will help you find a job down the road. Once you finish your MLS degree, it is time to find a job. The library science field has become competitive so be willing to work your way up. Prove that you deserve a professional position, and you the opportunity will come to you.

Job Description

Librarians have many more duties than simply checking books in and out of the library. They may do any of the following:

  • Search standard reference materials to answer patrons’ reference questions
  • Teach library patrons how to search for information on the library databases
  • Keep records of materials and circulation
  • Supervise planning, budgeting, and personnel activities
  • Analyze patrons’ requests to retrieve the needed information and assist the patron in locating that information
  • Review and evaluate resource material such as catalogues and book reviews
  • Code and catalogue books, films, publications and other library materials based on subject matter
  • Train library staff in duties such as shelving, receiving, researching, equipment use and cataloguing
  • Respond to customer complaints
  • Develop library procedures and policies
  • Develop information access aids such as annotated bibliographies and indexes, electronic pathfinders, web pages, and online tutorials
  • Arrange and assemble display materials
  • Perform public relations work
  • Compile lists of overdue materials and inform the borrowers that their checked out material is overdue

 

Pros & Cons

200341971-001Although competitive, librarians work in a stable field with an average growth rate of 10% predicted for technicians and assistants over the next decade. New technologies are allowing librarians to do more, assume more responsibilities, and expand their field. Online resources make the gathering of information a much easier task for librarians, and they have access to more databases. As a librarian, you have the opportunity to assist people and help them find the information they require and show them how to effectively use it. Although new technologies aid librarians, it does hinder them slightly, as an increased use of online resources limits the need for librarians, which is part of the reason to why the field is so competitive and hard to break into. MLS degree is a popular graduate program, and a large number of graduates will increase the competition for jobs in the future. Librarians spend long periods of time in front of computer screens and terminals, which can result in headaches and eyestrain.