“The librarian must be the librarian militant before he can be the librarian triumphant.“
Melvil Dewey, Inventor
Pros and Cons of Working as a Librarian
You consider becoming a librarian but are not sure whether this is the right career for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a librarian in the following chapters.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
Librarian Job Profile
|Job Description||Librarians help people find the books they are searching for and also make sure that everything in the library looks tidy and is in the correct order.|
|Salary||$65,000 per year on average, most librarians make between $55,000 and $74,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Decent if you live in regions with many colleges and schools.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you love spending time in the library.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good since you will not have to work many extra hours and also often have free weekends.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Neither mentally nor physically demanding most of the time.|
|Future Outlook||Questionable since many jobs may be lost in this field due to digitalization.|
|Requirements||You often need a college degree for becoming a librarian.|
Advantages of Being a Librarian
- Librarians can make decent money
- You can work indoors
- Working as a librarian is not that stressful
- You have lots of freedom during your workday
- You can help many different clients
- Librarians don’t have to work many extra hours
- You will come home early quite often
- Librarians don’t frequently have to work on weekends
- Librarians have a pretty good work-life balance
- You don’t have to work in a physical manner as a librarian
- You can expand your knowledge in many different fields
- Decent job security right now
- You will have lots of energy to do things apart from work
Librarians can make decent money
One advantage of being a librarian is that you can make decent money from what you are doing while bartenders and many other people often struggle in this regard.
Sure, you will not get rich and will not be able to afford that much luxury.
Nevertheless, you will make more than many other people and will not have to worry about money that much as long as you are a humble person and don’t need much to be happy.
Hence, becoming a librarian can make quite a lot of sense for you if you search for a job you are really passionate about but still want to be able to make enough money to pay your bills.
You can work indoors
You will also have the privilege of working indoors as a librarian. While you may take this for granted, there are still many people out there who have to work under extreme climatic conditions outdoors.
For instance, there are groups of people who always have to be ready to work during heavy rain, snow or heat.
For example, firefighters, construction workers and many other people work under those extreme conditions on a regular basis and you will be the lucky guy who can sit in a cozy library and enjoy a nice atmosphere instead as a librarian.
Thus, working indoors can be a real plus that you should valuable quite a lot since many people out there don’t enjoy the privilege to do so.
Working as a librarian is not that stressful
Another upside to working as a librarian is that your job will just not be that stressful.
Even though you sometimes have to deal with difficult clients, most of your workday will be pretty relaxed since you will have no time pressure and will also have more than enough time to help out your clients.
In fact, the entire atmosphere in libraries is pretty relaxed and the tension that will often be present in office jobs where you have to do many things at the same time will just not be there if you work in a library.
Consequently, a career as a librarian can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you search for a rather relaxed job and don’t want to have all the stress that comes along with a career in the corporate world.
You have lots of freedom during your workday
As a librarian, you will also have lots of freedom regarding how you want to structure your workday.
Sure, you will sometimes have clients that you have to prioritize.
However, quite often, you just have to find or return books to the right places.
You will also not have a boss who will look you over the shoulder all day long like in many other jobs.
Instead, you will be able to do what you want to do almost every workday and can do the things that motivate you first and leave things that you don’t want to do right now for the next days or weeks.
You can help many different clients
Another benefit of becoming a librarian is that you can also help out many different people.
In fact, you will have to deal with new people who search for information all day long and can exchange ideas with them.
Moreover, you can also talk about latest political developments or other things you are interested in.
In turn, you can make many new friends in the long run. As you can see, working as a librarian is more than just a job.
It also gives you the opportunity to socialize and to make many new contacts over time.
Librarians don’t have to work many extra hours
Many librarians also don’t have to work many extra hours.
In fact, while some librarians have to work exotic hours, most of them only work 40 hours and some librarians work even less.
You may also be able to work as a librarian part-time if you search for a job that leaves you enough time for leisure and if you don’t really need as much money from your job.
You will come home early quite often
Librarians also come home early quite often since most libraries close pretty early in the afternoon, even though this is not true for all libraries and there are always exceptions to this rule.
Consequently, you will also be able to spend plenty of quality time with your family and with your friends during the week.
You will also be able to meet up with your favorite people after work and enjoy a nice drink every day if you want to.
Librarians don’t frequently have to work on weekends
Another advantage of a career as a librarian is that you also don’t have to work on weekends in most cases, even though there are exceptions to this rule depending on the country and the institution you work for and some librarians also sometimes have to work on Saturdays or even Sundays.
Instead of working all of your weekends, you can just enjoy your weekends in your garden and relax a little bit.
Alternatively, you will also be free to make some nice weekend trips with your family or your friends.
Hence, while many other people like waiters or train drivers often have to work during those times, you will be able to spend more quality time with the people and on the things you like most.
Librarians have a pretty good work-life balance
Librarians also report a pretty good work-life balance in general.
Since they don’t have to work many extra hours and also have free weekends, most librarians are pretty happy with their mix between work and leisure and some of them would even be willing to work more.
Consequently, working as a librarian can make quite a lot of sense for you if you don’t just want to work long hours every day like in many other jobs but want to have lots of time for the things you enjoy even more than work.
You don’t have to work in a physical manner as a librarian
Librarians also enjoy the privilege of working with their brains instead of having to do heavy physical work.
Sure, you will have to carry books from A to B quite often and this can be exhausting, especially in your first weeks when you are not used to it yet.
However, this will just not be the same physical burden that construction workers and many other craftsmen experience every workday and you will therefore also be able to avoid the long-term health issues that may come along with those other jobs sooner or later.
You can expand your knowledge in many different fields
You will also get the chance to expand your knowledge in many different fields.
In fact, librarians often have to read many different books so that they are able to help out their clients in a proper manner.
Over time, you can build really broad knowledge and this can be quite interesting.
You may even be able to participate in a game show and win really serious money if you are willing to work hard and expand your knowledge on a continuous basis.
Decent job security right now
Once you start working as a librarian, you will also enjoy pretty decent job security.
Sure, nothing is 100% secure but you will be one of the last people who get fired and compared to the corporate world where you could lose your job from one day to the other without prior notice, you will be relatively safe as a librarian.
Hence, becoming a librarian can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case job security is really important to you and you don’t want to have to worry about losing your job on a regular basis.
You will have lots of energy to do things apart from work
Since you will not have to work in a hard physical manner and also your workday will be pretty relaxed, you will also have lots of energy left that you can spend on the things you like even more than work after you finish your workday.
Consequently, while many other people just come home tired from work and don’t want to do anything but to lie on their couches, you will often be full of energy and will be able to really make your leisure as productive and joyful as possible.
Now that you know all the upsides to a career as a librarian, we also have to talk about all the issues that come along with it so that you get a more comprehensive picture of what working as a librarian really looks like.
Disadvantages of Working as a Librarian
- You need a college degree for becoming a librarian
- Student loan debt can become an issue
- Librarians don’t get rich
- You may get bored with your job in the long run
- Rather low social status of librarians
- People may make fun of you
- Many librarians may become obsolete in the future
- Librarians don’t provide that much value to society
- Teleworking will not be possible for most of the time
- Limited promotion opportunities for librarians
- You don’t create real products
- Lack of creativity at work can be frustrating
- Employability greatly depends on the region you live in
- Lack of hard skills can become an issue
- Hard to switch fields as a librarian
- You may have to work out after work
You need a college degree for becoming a librarian
One problem with being a librarian is that you will often need a master’s degree for working in this field.
This means that you will often have to spend many years in college while many of your friends who aspire to careers as roofers or in other fields may be able to start making money at a much younger age.
Apart from the time commitment, you will also have to spend lots of money on tuition and other costs related to your college education.
Hence, make sure that you are willing to make this big commitment for your career and that working as a librarian is really what you want to do for quite a long time to justify the upfront investment you will have to make.
Student loan debt can become an issue
If you don’t have wealthy parents, working part-time to finance your degree will often not be enough.
Instead, you will often have to take on student loans to finance your studies.
While those student loans can make your time in college easier since you don’t have to worry about financial issues that much during this time, you will also have to pay back those student loans sooner or later and this may financially constrain you in the future when you may no longer be able to buy a home or to lease a fancy car.
Librarians don’t get rich
While you can make pretty decent money as a librarian, you should not expect to get wealthy or even rich.
If you live in really expensive regions, you may even struggle to pay your rent and other basic expenses.
Thus, if money and luxury are really important to you, you may rather want to go for a career in the medical or financial field instead of becoming a librarian.
You may get bored with your job in the long run
Many librarians also get bored with what they are doing in the long run. Yes, in the short run, it can be really interesting to work in a library.
Yet, if you are not really passionate about this job, chances are that you will lose interest in it pretty soon and may not know what you should do for a living in the future.
Rather low social status of librarians
Another disadvantage of working as a librarian is that you will also have a pretty low social status.
While doctors and lawyers are often admired in society, you will just not have the same social reputation and many people will not consider your job extremely important.
Moreover, you may also have problems finding a partner and will have it significantly harder in the dating market compared to other people who make more money and have a higher social standing.
People may make fun of you
While most of your clients will be nice, some people may also even make fun of you and may try to bring you down.
There are always people who don’t respect others and if you have to deal with those people, make sure that you know who to handle them in a proper manner and don’t let them bring you down.
Many librarians may become obsolete in the future
It is also rather unclear how many librarians will be needed in the future.
Due to artificial intelligence and machine learning, many jobs in the library may become obsolete in the near future and this means that you can no longer be sure to keep your job as a librarian for a lifetime.
You will also have to be flexible as a librarian since also your role in this business will change as well when technology progresses even further.
Librarians don’t provide that much value to society
While you may do a great job of helping people out in the library, you will still not make a really important impact on peoples’ lives.
While doctors can save the lives of many people during their careers, you will be the one who just hands out books.
Consequently, you may also become pretty unsatisfied with what you are doing in the long run and you may even feel like wasting your time as a librarian while many other people do much more important things.
Teleworking will not be possible for most of the time
Another downside to a career as a librarian is that you will also not be able to work remotely.
Most of the time, you will just have to be present at work in person and this will take away lots of freedom from you.
While many other people who work in classical office jobs will be able to do some private work between two virtual meetings, you will not be able to use your time as efficiently and will not be able to do any private work during your workday.
In turn, you will have to do your laundry and many other things after work while other people enjoy their leisure.
You will also have to spend more time and money on commuting and will also get stuck in traffic jams on a regular basis, at least if you live in big metropolitan areas.
Limited promotion opportunities for librarians
As a librarian, you will also not have good promotion opportunities. Instead, you will work in the same position for quite a long time and also your salary will not increase as much.
This can be really frustrating, especially if you are really good and passionate about what you are doing but still don’t get the option of getting into a role where you would have had more responsibility.
You don’t create real products
Many librarians are also pretty unsatisfied with the end result of their work. In fact, there is not a real physical product that they create.
Instead, you will have to provide services for your clients and will not see the same end result as people who work in construction or other sectors that rely on hands-on work.
Hence, you should also not become a librarian if you want to see results and progress from your work every day. In such a case, you will be far better off working in a craftsmen job instead.
Lack of creativity at work can be frustrating
You will also not be able to be pretty creative at work. In fact, most of your workday will be pretty standardized and you will not even have the freedom to change the location of the books you are responsible for.
Instead, you will rather have to work like a robot and place those books at the same location where they have already been for decades.
Employability greatly depends on the region you live in
If you live in a region with many universities or schools, chances are that you will have a relatively easy time finding a job as a librarian.
However, if you live in a rather rural region, you may really struggle to find a job in this field.
Thus, before you decide for becoming a librarian, make sure that you want to live in a region with many young people since you may struggle to find a decent job in this field in the long run.
Lack of hard skills can become an issue
You will also not be able to learn many important hard skills as a librarian.
This can be really frustrating, especially if you sit together with people who work in other fields and report about the fancy things that are possible with our latest technologies right now.
Hard to switch fields as a librarian
Not only will a lack of hard skills be really annoying, but it can also translate into a real problem in case you want to switch fields one day since you will often not have the hard skills to work in different fields.
Instead, you will often be stuck in the librarian industry for quite a long time and you should therefore really make sure that working as a librarian is what you want to do for many years or even a lifetime before you decide to go this career path.
You may have to work out after work
Since you will barely do any physical exercise during your workday, many librarians also have to go to the gym after work to stay fit and to lose weight.
Hence, make sure that you are willing to invest this extra time to increase your chances of staying healthy as a librarian in the long run.
Top 10 Being a Librarian Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Librarian Pros||Being a Librarian Cons|
|Librarians don’t work on weekends||You will not get rich as a librarian|
|Librarians can make decent money||Rather low social standing|
|You have a good work-life balance||Questionable future job prospects|
|Working as a librarian is rather relaxed||You may get bored in the long run|
|You can avoid physical work||People may not take you seriously|
|Librarians can work indoors||Librarians don’t create real products|
|You have a high level of freedom||You may feel obsolete|
|Librarians can help many different people||You will not learn many hard skills|
|You can gather knowledge in many fields||Hard to get out of this industry|
|You will have energy left after work||Overweight may become an issue|
Should You Become A Librarian?
As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages to being a librarian.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether you still want to become a librarian or if you rather want to go for other job options instead.
If you still want to become a librarian, you should also get additional detailed information on the salary, career prospects, future outlook, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties and job satisfaction of librarians.
Also make sure to check out the following articles to get more information on different job options:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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