What does a Librarian do?

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A librarian assists people to search for information. Additionally, their duties may depend on the type of library they are employed with. For example, a librarian may work in universities, local government, or for companies and they may be tasks to also handle research. Next, watch a video to learn what a librarian does.

How to Become a Librarian


A librarian typically needs a master’s degree in library science (MLS). They would require a bachelor’s degree in any major in order to enter the master’s degree in library science and normally would take 1-2 years to finish. They should have course work in research methods and strategies, organizing information, Internet search methods, and online reference systems.

An accredited program from an American Library Association may earn a degree that helps secure a good job. There are other names that some colleges and universities use in their programs of library science, for example Master of Library and Information Studies or Master of Information Studies.

In the case of a librarian employed in a library specializing in medical, corporate, or law one would typically supplement a master’s degree in library science with the other identified field. It may be required for some librarians to have a master’s degree, a professional degree, or even a Ph.D. This would depend on the area of expertise they would be expected to have as in the instance of a law librarian that would be required to hold a law degree. Some states require librarians to pass a standardized test and librarians working in public schools usually need a teacher’s certification.

Job Description of a Librarian

Librarians typically help people in search of information and conducting research. Depending on the size and type of library one is employed at would determine the various duties performed. On average, librarians are responsible for the organization of materials and the use and development of databases of library materials. Librarians would research new materials and books by reading catalogs, publisher’s announcements, and book reviews. Some may train library technicians, volunteer workers, and personal assistants. They may be responsible for preparing library budgets.

A librarian’s duties would become more specialized if one worked as a corporate librarian, for example as their work may include helping insurance companies or publishers and consulting firms by conducting research. This would apply as well to a medical, law, government, or academic librarian, in that each area would have particular requirements and duties of its own. A librarian should be skilled in communication, problem-solving, reading, and technology. They should have interpersonal skills as well. A librarian should have initiative because with the changes in technology and resources they would need to motivate themselves to remain current in their knowledge.

Librarian Career Video Transcript

For readers on the lookout for their next great novel, or students desperate for help with a research project, their local librarian is probably something of a hero. Librarians guide people through the use of the library and the services it offers. Librarians help people find information and conduct research. Many plan community programming such as storytelling for young children. They also perform administrative tasks from record-keeping to choosing materials to add to their collection.

Librarians may specialize, using their research and information-organizing skills for private businesses, government, law or medical schools and institutions, and for colleges and universities. They must keep up-to-date on their field and relevant resources, such as databases and search engines. Wherever they are employed, librarians use communication, initiative, and interpersonal skills to assist patrons in getting the most out of their local library.

Most librarians work full time though part-time opportunities may be available. Some specialist librarians may work overtime to help meet deadlines. Most employers require librarians to have a master’s degree in library science. Librarians in specialized fields take courses or earn a degree in that field, such as a law degree, as well as a degree in library science.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Librarians.

National Center for O*NET Development. 25-4021.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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