Many book lovers may be wondering how they can become a school librarian. It seems like an ideal occupation for anyone who has a passion for both books and working with youth. The following is what interested parties should do if this is a career path you want to pursue.
You Need A Master’s Degree
Librarians must have a Master’s in Library Science. Prior to obtaining this, you will need a bachelor’s degree and, by extension, a high school diploma or GED. Undergraduate degree subjects that might be beneficial to study include English or education. To work as a school librarian specifically, you will likely need a teaching certificate or some other formal training in education. Getting into a master’s program will require applying for admission and likely getting a good score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Each school will have its own individual requirements for getting in so it’s important you review all instructions before applying.
You Need Certain Skills
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, traits librarians need include strong tech skills, communications skills, reading skills and initiative, among others. They must also be excellent organizers and adhere to standard library organizational systems, such as the Dewey Decimal System. Research and reading ability are paramount, because school librarians must research what books should be added or removed from the collection. They must read a lot to understand the age-appropriateness of certain books as well as have the ability to choose books for lesson plans and recommend books to their students. Strong public speaking skills are also required, because you may be required to teach library classes to students, especially if you work in a library in a grade school.
Experience Is Helpful
As with all occupations, previous experience is helpful for landing a job. For school librarians, this can include volunteering in a school library or a public library. You can also have previous employment experience in either of those settings, which may have inspired you to pursue this career path in the first place. Internships are particularly important, especially student teaching in a library, if that is a possibility. Fortunately, most education degrees require hands-on experience in the form of student teaching. This means you will already have professional contacts you can use as references, as well as experience you can draw upon to sell yourself in a job interview. You can gain experience on your own by having a passion for reading children’s and young adult literature as well as pursuing volunteer activities.
Networking Is Essential
Networking is critical for all professions, and school librarians are no different. To become a school librarian, you should speak to librarians currently working in schools to learn more about the profession and gather some professional contacts. Connecting with other professionals makes it more likely you will land a job upon graduation and you could learn some very important information. These professional contacts can also help you once you become a school librarian by acting as mentor figures, offering advice and more that will help you succeed in your chosen career. The power of networking should not be underestimated.
Related Resource: Top 20 Best Master’s in Reading and Literacy Online 2018
Becoming a school librarian may be an excellent career choice for you. If it is of interest to you, research the requirements and begin pursuing the education you will need. You can become a school librarian by obtaining the right degree and experience.