Turn a Page in Your Career: Become a School Librarian

well stocked school library where school librarians work
well stocked school library where school librarians work

School librarians manage the libraries-both books and Internet resources-that students use for their school research, and make sure that their library materials are up-to-date.

Traditionally, school librarians have managed the distribution of printed information within a limited community. Over the years, the job description for school librarians has expanded to become a multifaceted and exciting career with near endless scope in the computer age.

If you would like to learn how to become a school librarian, read on to see what exciting opportunities await.

Sharing Knowledge and Information

Much more than the traditional Dewey decimal or Library of Congress system subscribers, school librarians unite students with information using the most advanced resources available. As new technologies are created and mainstreamed, librarians create systems that provide the information in an organized manner to meet student needs. Some school librarian responsibilities include the following:

  • Analyzing school and student needs to determine appropriate informational sources
  • Finding reliable source information and distributing it
  • Classifying information in a user-friendly way
  • Writing summaries and abstracts
  • Showing students and teachers how to access information
  • Overseeing library management and administration
  • Supervising employees and volunteers
  • Fundraising and public relations
  • Managing a budget

Shhh, You’re in a Library

A school librarian’s workplace is one of constant discovery and interaction. Using the most current technologies, librarians spend most of their time helping students troll the Internet and locate printed materials for resources and information.

Research requires a considerable amount of time viewing computer monitors and walking students to source locations. Libraries often have volunteer staff to aid in sorting and shelving materials, as well as other responsibilities; however, lifting and shelving books and climbing ladders to access upper stacks is usually part of the job.

Enjoy Vacation Benefits

Librarian Salaries

Librarians and Media Collections Specialists

National data

Median Salary: $61,190

Projected job growth: 5.8%

10th Percentile: $37,300

25th Percentile: $47,960

75th Percentile: $77,400

90th Percentile: $97,870

Projected job growth: 5.8%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $60,130 $30,230 $73,440
Alaska $47,740 $30,440 $98,070
Arizona $48,650 $30,110 $77,920
Arkansas $49,600 $30,110 $74,580
California $77,640 $47,410 $122,700
Colorado $61,200 $38,400 $82,680
Connecticut $64,570 $38,390 $100,310
Delaware $62,420 $45,610 $99,470
District of Columbia $81,640 $60,600 $113,360
Florida $60,650 $37,300 $77,540
Georgia $62,090 $37,940 $96,270
Hawaii $62,060 $48,590 $100,360
Idaho $46,250 $19,430 $77,050
Illinois $60,670 $33,390 $96,550
Indiana $47,810 $28,400 $76,840
Iowa $48,650 $24,660 $77,920
Kansas $60,130 $37,100 $79,100
Kentucky $60,130 $36,860 $76,700
Louisiana $60,050 $47,040 $63,670
Maine $53,500 $30,680 $77,510
Maryland $76,970 $47,740 $113,340
Massachusetts $75,040 $46,330 $100,210
Michigan $50,080 $29,600 $81,250
Minnesota $62,060 $39,460 $97,420
Mississippi $46,880 $18,270 $61,800
Missouri $54,200 $32,970 $79,820
Montana $48,650 $29,730 $77,920
Nebraska $60,040 $29,920 $76,700
Nevada $76,010 $49,990 $97,090
New Hampshire $61,210 $38,400 $80,660
New Jersey $76,960 $47,230 $99,550
New Mexico $48,650 $29,690 $76,700
New York $76,310 $47,450 $121,350
North Carolina $60,370 $39,500 $77,540
North Dakota $60,130 $37,300 $77,920
Ohio $49,120 $29,690 $80,660
Oklahoma $48,210 $23,590 $77,150
Oregon $61,680 $29,580 $94,810
Pennsylvania $60,660 $30,440 $97,450
Rhode Island $62,540 $47,780 $97,910
South Carolina $60,390 $38,090 $78,340
South Dakota $47,510 $30,110 $61,640
Tennessee $60,040 $37,560 $76,700
Texas $61,220 $40,510 $78,310
Utah $47,290 $28,920 $77,090
Vermont $56,490 $37,420 $77,760
Virginia $61,760 $39,170 $106,300
Washington $81,460 $60,590 $120,630
West Virginia $47,310 $24,330 $76,840
Wisconsin $60,670 $37,630 $77,730
Wyoming $49,210 $29,530 $76,010

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

School librarians, like most teachers, enjoy perks, such as holiday and vacation time, that most careers do not offer. While many of these full-time opportunities exist for qualified library teachers, there are a significant number of part-time jobs available as well. If you are interested in working in an educational setting without the struggles of daily lesson plans and lectures, becoming a school librarian might be for you.

Training and Certification

Certification requirements for library teachers vary among states. Some require a bachelor’s degree and regular state teacher certification. Others require library teachers to have a master’s degree in library science or a master’s degree in education (MEd).

Master’s programs in library science and education prepare you for the job in different ways. A library science degree will prepare you for library jobs outside of the educational system, while an education degree will better equip you to move into other teaching positions in your school.

If you choose a library science program, you are sure to take classes in the following disciplines:

  • foundations of library and information science
  • intellectual freedom and censorship
  • cataloguing and indexing
  • research strategies
  • customer / user service
  • online reference systems
  • Internet search methods
  • automated circulation systems
  • library administration

The American Association of School Librarians encourages all future school librarians to attend programs accredited by the American Library Association or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) to ensure the quality of the education program.

If learning and sharing knowledge excite you, then a career as a school librarian could be the perfect fit. The work is intriguing and gratifying as you discover new insights and inspire young minds, searching for answers to the unlimited variety of questions posed by students. Your reward is the great sense of accomplishment you’ll get every time you solve a young person’s mystery and expand his or her world.

Ready to Get Started?