All You Need To Know About A Librarian Career

You consider becoming a librarian but want to get additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you everything you need to know about being a librarian in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a librarian, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, working hours, work-life balance, job prospects, future outlook, educational requirements and much more.

You will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about working as a librarian at the end of this article.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a librarian or rather want to work in a different field instead.

Table of Contents

What does a Librarian do?

Librarians make sure that libraries are sorted properly so that clients find what they need and don’t have to search for books for quite a long time.

They are also responsible for keeping libraries clean so that people feel welcome and really enjoy their time.

Librarians also provide support to customers in case they have any questions.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Librarian

  • Keeping libraries well-sorted
  • Keeping libraries tidy and clean
  • Supporting customers to find what they are looking for
  • Providing customer service for users
  • Repairing or replacing old books
  • Getting new inventory
  • Making sure that a library is run in an economically senseful manner
  • Making sure that a good working atmosphere is maintained
  • Making sure that it is not too loud inside libraries
  • Assuring that local rules and regulations are met

What a Typical Day of a Librarian looks like?

Librarians usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.

The first thing they do is checking their mails and answering the most important and urgent ones.

They also make sure that everything looks nice and tidy and that books are where they should be so that customers will find what they are looking for.

After opening the library for the general public, librarians support customers and make sure that they have the best experience possible so that they can really get value from visiting the library and come back in the long run.

After working with customers for many hours, librarians usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Librarian Salary 2021

Librarian salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $88,000> $43.92
Top 25 %$65,000 – $73,000$32.43 – $36.39
Bottom 25 %$42,000 – $48,000$20.88 – $23.93
Bottom 10 %$29,000 – $34,000$14.47 – $16.94
Range$29,000 – $94,000$14.47 – $46.96
Average (Mean)$55,000$27.41
Median$53,000$26.48

Librarian salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$29,000 – $45,000$14.47 – $22.43
Junior$41,000 – $49,000$20.39 – $24.45
Professional$47,000 – $63,000$23.46 – $31.48
Senior Professional$61,000 – $72,000$30.38 – $35.94
Expert$69,000 – $85,000$34.46 – $42.39
Top Expert$83,000 – $94,000$41.42 – $46.95

Librarian salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$52,700$26.34
Alaska$50,300$25.13
Arizona$49,200$24.58
Arkansas$51,900$25.92
California$59,800$29.89
Colorado$52,400$26.18
Connecticut$48,700$24.33
Delaware$49,200$24.57
District of Columbia$51,600$25.79
Florida$52,900$26.44
Georgia$50,800$25.38
Guam$51,300$25.63
Hawaii$55,500$27.74
Idaho$53,200$26.58
Illinois$48,900$24.44
Indiana$49,700$24.83
Iowa$51,800$25.88
Kansas$48,200$24.07
Kentucky$46,900$23.43
Louisiana$52,500$26.24
Maine$53,800$26.89
Maryland$54,900$27.43
Massachusetts$53,600$26.78
Michigan$51,500$25.72
Minnesota$49,700$24.82
Mississippi$47,200$23.54
Missouri$46,800$23.38
Montana$48,900$24.44
Nebraska$50,700$25.33
Nevada$53,400$26.69
New Hampshire$55,200$27.58
New Jersey$54,300$27.14
New Mexico$49,800$24.86
New York$62,500$31.23
North Carolina$49,700$24.83
North Dakota$48,300$24.12
Ohio$47,200$23.59
Oklahoma$51,300$25.64
Oregon$53,600$26.78
Pennsylvania$54,100$27.03
Rhode Island$49,800$24.88
South Carolina$52,400$26.18
South Dakota$49,900$24.94
Tennessee$52,100$26.02
Texas$48,300$24.14
Utah$49,600$24.78
Vermont$53,600$26.77
Virginia$49,700$24.84
Washington$55,400$27.68
West Virginia$52,800$26.37
Wisconsin$50,200$25.07
Wyoming$47,900$23.93

Job Security of Librarians

Librarians don’t have a high level of job security since they are rather replaceable and many people can do this job.

Consequently, if someone comes along who is willing to work for a lower wage, you may get replaced and may lose your job from one day to the other.

Future Outlook of Librarians

Also future outlook for librarians is rather poor since the number of people who visit a library is decreasing since people do more and more research online.

Hence, many librarian jobs may be lost in the near future.

Working Hours of Librarians

Most librarians start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and quit their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Consequently, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will often come home from work relatively early.

In turn, you will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Job Satisfaction of Librarians

Most librarians are pretty happy with their jobs since they have a rather relaxed time at work, enough time for their loved ones and their hobbies while they can make decent money at the same time.

Promotion Opportunities of Librarians

Promotion opportunities for librarians are pretty limited.

Once you start working in this field, you will do the same job for many years or even decades without getting the chance of being promoted anytime soon.

Career Levels of Librarians

  • Librarian intern
  • Librarian assistant
  • Junior librarian
  • Senior librarian
  • Manager of a library
  • Owner of a library

Fields and Types of Librarians

  • Librarian focused on school education
  • Librarian specialized in college education
  • Medical librarian
  • Law librarian
  • Reference librarian
  • Music librarian
  • System librarian
  • Children’s librarian
  • Librarian focused on digital media
  • Librarian responsible for doing administrative work

Educational Requirements for Librarians

Librarians often need a college degree before they are able to work in this field.

While a master’s degree in library science (MLS) may be necessary to call yourself a librarian, you can often become a librarian assistant by just finishing high school.

How to become a Librarian

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a librarian
  2. Get a bachelor’s degree
  3. Apply for MLS college degrees (master’s degree in library science)
  4. Choose your favorite college and degree and start college education
  5. Apply for an internship in a local library
  6. Make a good impression during your internship
  7. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  8. Get your degree with decent grades
  9. Apply for librarian jobs
  10. Master the job interview
  11. Sign your labor contract

Character Traits you need as a Librarian

  • Attention to detail helps you keep a library tidy and well-sorted
  • You should be interested in working with books
  • You should be friendly
  • You should not be afraid to approach new people every day
  • Ability to speak in front of a group of people
  • Good conflict resolution skills help you keep things under control
  • You should be trustworthy
  • You should not be afraid to speak up
  • Willingness to work in a rather unexciting job

Hard Skills for Librarians

  • You should know how to organize a library properly
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations when it comes to running a library
  • Knowledge of modern technologies help you get things done faster
  • Digital skills help as well
  • You should know how to attract customers to your library
  • Ability to forecast future trends
  • You should know how to bond customers to your library
  • You should display a high level of competence
  • Critical thinking helps you find what you are looking for
  • Documentation skills help as well

Soft Skills for Librarians

  • Good time management skills help you support as many customers as possible
  • People skills help you lead a team
  • Empathy for customers who don’t find what they are looking for
  • Patience for customers who are just messy
  • Good communication skills help you solve conflicts
  • You should be a good listener
  • Customer support should be your main priority
  • You should be motivated to help people out
  • You should have a passion for working with books

Exit Options for Librarians

Librarians barely have any exit options at all.

Since you will be pretty specialized, you will often lack the skills to work in a different field and apart from working as a clerk in a library or a college, you will often not find many other jobs and may get trapped in this industry.

Librarian – Similar Careers

  • Curator
  • Education administrator
  • Technical assistant in a library
  • Librarian assistant
  • Librarian supplier
  • Statistician
  • Salesperson
  • Teacher
  • Nanny

Librarian Career FAQs

Is working as a librarian physically demanding?

Working as a librarian is not heavily physically demanding.

Even though you often have to bring books to their right location, you will still not have to stress your body as much as construction workers or welders who have to work in a hard physical manner on a regular basis.

Is working as a librarian mentally demanding?

Being a librarian is not heavily mentally demanding.

While you will have to use your brain from time to time to assure great customer service, you will still not have to stress your brain as much as financial analysts or judges who work in a mentally demanding manner all day long.

Is it dangerous to work as a librarian?

Working as a librarian is not dangerous at all.

You will just work in a rather safe environment and your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be rather low compared to police officers or firefighters who have to risk their lives on a daily basis.

How long do librarians stay in their jobs?

Librarians stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since they enjoy pretty decent overall working conditions and their incentive to switch fields is rather low.

Moreover, many librarians are pretty specialized and also have problems finding a job in a different industry.

Is it easy for librarians to find a new job?

Since an increasing number of people search for information online instead of going to a library and this trend will continue in the near future, you will have a rather hard time finding a new job as a librarian since many libraries may get shut down in the long run.

Is it hard to switch from being a librarian to another field of work?

Since librarians are pretty specialized, they often have a hard time finding a job in a different field due to a lack of skills and not many companies in different fields would be willing to employ them.

In turn, before becoming a librarian, make sure that this is what you want to do for quite a long time to avoid any issues in this regard.

Do librarians have a high social status?

Librarians don’t have a high social status.

Instead, many people will belittle you and even your family and friends may not understand your career choice.

Can you help out your family and friends as a librarian?

You will not be extremely helpful to your loved ones since you will not learn many skills that could provide real value to your family and friends as a librarian.

For instance, while craftsmen will be able to install and fix many things around the home and financial advisors will be able to consult their loved ones on how to invest money properly, you will not be able to do any of those important things and may therefore have a rather low standing among your circle of friends.

Can librarians work remotely?

Librarians are not able to work remotely since they have to be present at the library in person and while many other people who work in office jobs can work from home quite often, you as a librarian will have to spend lots of time and money on commuting purposes.

Is it easy to find a partner as a librarian?

Since librarians can make decent money while they still have enough leisure to go out after work, they also have a relatively easy time finding a partner for a long-term relationship since they are considered decent providers, even though librarians will still have a much harder time than dentists or financial analysts in this regard.

Do librarians have to work on weekends?

Librarians don’t have to work on weekends.

Most libraries are just closed on Saturdays and Sundays and this means that you can make nice weekend trips with your loved ones or just spend time on your favorite hobbies.

Do librarians have to work on holidays?

Librarians also don’t have to work on holidays.

Instead, you can spend those days on the things you like even more than working and can also make nice city trips with your family while many other people like waiters or train drivers still have to work during those days.

Do librarians have to work at nighttime?

Librarians don’t have to work in the late evening or at nighttime.

Instead, you will come home from work relatively early and will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Do you have to travel as a librarian?

There is no need to travel as a librarian since you will not have to do business trips at all and while many other people who work in leading positions in the corporate world will be away from home quite often, you as a librarian can spend your leisure with your family instead.

Are librarian pensions good?

Since librarians can make decent money, also their pensions are decent as well most of the time.

However, you should still not only rely on your pension but should also save and invest money on the side so that you don’t suffer from any financial issues once you quit your active career and retire.

Are librarian salaries going up?

Librarian salaries have been going up moderately over the past years.

However, this trend may be reversed in the near future since an increasing number of people do research online from home and with a decreasing demand for librarian services, the demand for librarians will drop as well and so may wages in this field do.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a librarian?

You will not have a big positive impact on society as a librarian.

While you can help many people out, you will still not have the same positive impact as teachers or doctors who can really influence or save the lives of many people on a regular basis.

How long does it take to become a librarian?

Since you will need to get a bachelor’s degree in any field and a master’s degree in librarian science, you will have to spend 4 to 6 years in college before you are able to work as a librarian.

Is it difficult to become a librarian?

Becoming a librarian is not that difficult.

Even though you will have to spend many years in college, you will still not have to stress your brain as much as for becoming a lawyer or an investment banker since librarian studies are usually not as hard.

Do you need to be smart to work as a librarian?

While you don’t need to be a genius to become a librarian, you should still be willing to spend many years on education.

Otherwise, you may quit somewhere along the way and may have spent lots of money for nothing.

Do librarians have a good work-life balance?

Librarians enjoy pretty decent work-life balance since they don’t have to work on holidays or on weekends and also come home from work relatively early.

Consequently, they will have more than enough time to meet up with their favorite people or to spend on their hobbies.

Do librarians have to work many extra hours?

Librarians don’t have to work much overtime.

Instead, you will have a fixed schedule and once your shift is over, you will just finish your workday and come back to work the next morning.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a librarian?

To maximize your chances of becoming a librarian, you should study hard and also work as a librarian assistant so that you already get some experience in this field and also make some contacts that can help you find a job in this industry.

Can librarians work part-time?

While some librarians work part-time, the vast majority of librarians still work full-time since hourly wages are often not high enough to make a living from a part-time job.

Do librarians work indoors or outdoors?

Bibliothecaries work indoors and don’t have to worry about outdoor weather conditions while many other people who work as garbage collectors or fallers have to work outdoors under extreme climatic conditions on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a librarian look like?

Most librarians work in libraries and are surrounded by many books.

They also work with many different clients in a rather quiet atmosphere in a calm and stress-free manner.

Do you have to look good for working as a librarian?

You don’t have to look good for succeeding in your job as a librarian.

What’s much more important is that you have a real passion for working in this field and that your mission is to help as many people out as possible.

Is a librarian career beneficial for your private life?

Working as a librarian can be beneficial for your private life since you will be able to make decent money while you will still come home from work relatively early and will have more than enough time to spend with your family.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a librarian?

You need a master’s degree in library science (MLS) to be able to work in this field.

Hence, you will have to spend many years and also lots of money on college education and you should therefore make sure that you are willing to work in this field for quite a long time to make it worth the investment.

Do you need to be certified to work as a librarian?

You don’t need to get additional certifications apart from your college degree.

Instead of getting additional formal education, you will learn most things you need on the job anyway.

How much does it cost to become a librarian?

Since you will have to spend many years in college, you will also have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college which can sum up to a six-figure amount.

Hence, you may also have to get money from college loans that you may have to pay back later in your life.

Is being a librarian a good career?

Working as a librarian is considered a decent career by most people since you will be able to make decent money while you will still have lots of leisure and therefore more than enough time to spend on your hobbies or with your loved ones.

Is it easy to start your own business as a librarian?

It is almost impossible to start your own business as a librarian since most libraries are funded by municipalities or the government and making a living off a private library will be almost impossible.

Thus, if your dream is to work self-employed, you should not become a librarian but rather become a digital marketer or another career where it is much easier to start your own business instead.

Can librarians teach themselves?

Librarians are able to teach themselves many skills they need on the job.

However, before you are able to work as a librarian, you still have to get a college degree and teaching yourself will not be enough to get a job in this field.

Do librarians make good money?

While librarians can make decent money, they will still make far less compared to consultants or financial controllers.

Hence, if money is really important to you, you should not become a librarian but rather go for a fancier career instead.

Is it ever too late to become a librarian?

It is never too late to become a librarian since this job is not heavily physically demanding and you can do it for many years or decades.

However, you will still have to invest lots of time and money in education and the earlier you start working in this field, the more value you can get out of your initial investment.

Do librarians have to quit their careers early?

Most librarians don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to stress their bodies in a hard physical manner compared to welders or other people who often have to quit their careers due to physical health problems relatively early.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a librarian?

The most challenging thing about being a librarian is that you will always have to keep order while many of your clients will be quite messy and may place books in the wrong spots.

Can you provide for your family by working as a librarian?

Due to the decent salary you can make as a librarian, you will also be able to provide for your family in most cases unless you live in a really expensive region where rents and living costs are high.

In such a case, you may not be able to provide for your family and your spouse may have to work as well.

Will librarians suffer from old-age poverty?

Most librarians don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they receive decent pensions while they are also able to set enough money for retirement purposes aside during their active careers.

Can librarians retire early?

Even though many librarians are able to make decent money from what they are doing, it will still not be enough for most of them to retire early and most librarians therefore have to work until they reach official retirement age.

Do librarians get a fixed or variable salary?

Librarians get a fixed salary most of the time.

Hence, you will not have huge swings in income compared to salespersons who often get commissions for the volume they sell and often have a much higher variable salary component.

Can you get rich as a librarian?

Even though you can make decent money from your job as a librarian, it will still not be enough to become wealthy or even rich and if making money is your primary objective, you should rather become a doctor instead or investment banker instead.

Do librarians need a second job?

Most librarians don’t need a second job to pay their bills.

However, if you live in really expensive regions, your librarian salary may not be enough to make a living and you may need a second job to cover your expenses.

Do you get continuous training as a librarian?

You don’t get continuous training as a librarian.

Once you work in this field, it will be on you to get better at what you are doing over time.

Do you get sick pay as a librarian?

Many librarians get sick pay.

However, this is not true for all of them and if you are not sure in this regard, you should ask other people who already work in this field to get further information on this topic.

Do librarians have a high level of responsibility?

Librarians don’t have high levels of responsibility.

While their mistakes may lead to bad customer experience, they will still not cause high monetary or even personal damage and you will therefore be able to work in a rather relaxed manner.

Can librarians work abroad?

While librarians are needed all over the world, you will still need decent knowledge of the foreign language to be able to find a job in this field.

Moreover, working conditions and salaries are often pretty different from what you are used to at home and you should inform yourself to avoid any issues in this regard before you finally decide on moving abroad.

Is it stressful to work as a librarian?

Working as a librarian is not that stressful.

While you may have to deal with difficult customers from time to time, you will be able to spend the majority of your workday in a rather relaxed manner.

Is it boring to work as a librarian?

Working as a librarian may become pretty boring if you are not made for working in a relatively quiet and unexciting environment and if you don’t have a passion for working in this field.

Is being a librarian hard?

Working as a librarian is not hard since you will not have to stress your body or your brain in a heavy manner.

Instead, you will have a rather relaxed time at work and will have lots of energy left when you come back home from work to spend on your hobbies.

Are librarians at risk of burnout?

Librarians are not at great risk of burnout since they will not have to deal with lots of stress at work compared to other people who work in demanding office jobs and have to deal with lots of time pressure.

Is there a dress code for librarians?

There is no fixed dress code for librarians.

While you should wear something conservative, you will be free to dress in the way you feel most comfortable with.

What kind of librarians are paid the most?

The more experience you get in this field and the more responsibility you have, the more money you can make as a librarian.

What percentage of librarians are women?

Over 80% of librarians are women while only 20% are men.

Hence, this industry is dominated by women.

Yet, this doesn’t mean that women have better chances to get jobs in this field.

Instead, it rather means that more women than men want to become librarians.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a librarian?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a librarian.

What’s much more important is that you have a passion for books and for helping out customers.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a librarian?

You will not be personally liable for mistakes you make as a librarian most of the time.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should get advice from a lawyer.

Do librarians have a high life expectancy?

Librarians enjoy decent life expectancy since they are not at great risk of suffering from accidents at work and also have a rather relaxed time at work which makes it less likely to suffer from serious health issues in the long run.

Do librarians suffer from sleeping problems?

Since librarians don’t have to work at nighttime, they can maintain a steady and healthy sleeping pattern compared to train drivers or bartenders who often have to work at nighttime and have to destroy their natural sleeping pattern.

What states are best for working as a librarian?

Since the salary of librarians is relatively constant across states, you should choose a state or region where there is a high demand for librarians while living costs are still low so that you can make a living from what you are doing without having to get a second job.

Who do librarians work with?

Librarians work with many different customers every day.

Consequently, you should be a friendly and trustworthy person so that clients are happy with your support and will come back to the library you work for in the long run.

Is working as a librarian cool?

Working as a librarian is not considered cool by the majority of the general public.

However, you should still not care that much about the opinion of others but rather ask yourself whether you want to work in this field or not.

Can you start a side hustle as a librarian?

Since you will have lots of leisure, you will also be able to start a side hustle as a librarian.

However, you might still have to learn many new skills apart from your librarian skills to provide value to the general public.

Do you have to be creative as a librarian?

You don’t need to be creative as a librarian since you will do the same things over and over again and you should rather know your daily routines by heart instead of relying too much on creativity to keep things in order.

Do librarians suffer from being overweight?

Many librarians also suffer from being overweight since they don’t get sufficient exercise at work and don’t burn enough calories.

Consequently, you may have to go to the gym or do other sports after work to stay fit and vital.

How employable are librarians?

Since an increasing number of people will research information online instead of going to a library, many librarians will no longer be needed and the overall level of employability of librarians is therefore rather low.

Are librarians happy with their jobs?

Most librarians are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living since they can make decent money while they still don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have enough time to spend with their loved ones.

Is working as a librarian exciting?

Being a librarian is not that exciting since you will do many things over and over again and may just get really annoyed by this daily routine in the long run.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a librarian?

You will not have a big positive impact on our environment as a librarian since you will not work in a field where you could really make a difference in this regard.

What are the pros and cons of working as a librarian?

If you are still interested in becoming a librarian, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a librarian career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/374096/leading-industries-in-employment-of-librarians-us/

https://www.statista.com/topics/1469/libraries/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/374081/leading-industries-in-employment-of-librarians-us/

Interviews and own research.

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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