Learn How to Become a Librarian

While certification is not required for all librarians, advanced education is often the barrier to entry for all. Here you can learn what is required for your chosen librarianship career path. Get started today.

Learn How to Become a Librarian

While certification is not required for all librarians, advanced education is often the barrier to entry for all. Here you can learn what is required for your chosen librarianship career path. Get started today.

Certification Pathways


Get the Credentials to be Part of a Library Team

America needs talented, qualified information professionals now more than ever. Whether your interest lies in school libraries, public libraries, art, music, law, psychology, medicine, or some other information discipline entirely -- you will find a place in the field of librarianship.

Browse LIS degree concentration guides, research available schools and compare library and information science degree programs to find the best fit for your needs.

Program Accreditation

All schools listed throughout LibrarianCertification.com have either institutional or programmatic accreditation (or both). The American Library Association (ALA) accreditation is an example of programmatic accreditation and is the gold standard for MLIS accreditation.

Program Concentrations

Prepare yourself for a specific information-based career path. All MLIS concentrations provide core library & information science knowledge in addition to concentration subject matter.

**School Library Media programs can be stand alone programs or additions to an MLIS program.

A Guide to Understanding Librarian Licensure

What is Librarian Licensure/Certification?

Librarian licensure represents a patchwork of career requirements for school and public librarians. Licensure in any field can bring with it both good and bad things for a community. Along with gatekeeping processes, comes higher costs for employment. In the case of school and public librarians, costs of employment for school districts, cities and states can be a burden on the whole system. Yet, most would agree the costs do not outweigh the benefits.

  • For librarians: greater job security and better job benefits
  • For the community: assurance that librarians, who often interact with children and sensitive groups, are background checked and a level of education and training that is documented and verified

Why are Libraries Important?

Public Libraries:

  • Literacy Champions: Public libraries run programs like the statewide Vacation Reading Program, fostering a love of reading in children and promoting family bonding.
  • Digital Equity Warriors: They provide free Wi-Fi, computers, and digital resources, ensuring everyone has access to the information age, regardless of income.
  • Lifelong Learning Hubs: Job training workshops, ESL classes, and educational programs empower residents to pursue new skills and knowledge.
  • Community Connectors: Public libraries offer meeting spaces, host events, and serve as welcoming gathering places, strengthening the social fabric of communities.

School Libraries:

  • Academic Support Systems: School librarians collaborate with teachers to create engaging learning experiences and provide students with research resources crucial for academic success.
  • Information Literacy Builders: They equip students with the skills to critically evaluate information, navigate the digital world responsibly, and become lifelong learners.
  • Equity Champions: School libraries ensure all students have access to books and resources, regardless of their background, promoting equal opportunities for learning.

Academic Libraries:

  • Research Powerhouses: University and college libraries offer extensive collections of scholarly materials, databases, and research tools, supporting faculty and students in their academic pursuits.
  • Innovation Incubators: Many academic libraries feature makerspaces with equipment like 3D printers and design software, fostering creativity and innovation.
  • Open Access Advocates: Some academic libraries promote open access initiatives, making research findings freely available to the public, benefiting communities beyond the university walls.

Special Libraries (Medical, Law, etc.):

  • Specialized Expertise: These libraries cater to specific professions, offering curated collections of relevant resources and providing in-depth research assistance to professionals.
  • Community Health Resources: Medical libraries can provide patients and caregivers with access to reliable health information, promoting informed decision-making.
  • Legal Navigation Support: Law libraries offer legal resources to the public, helping them understand their rights and navigate the legal system.

By catering to diverse needs and offering a wealth of resources, libraries play a vital role in enriching communities, promoting lifelong learning, and fostering a vibrant and informed citizenry.

What do Librarians do?

What is a librarian? Fundamentally, a librarian connects people with information for their professional, personal, or research objectives. The explosion of data-driven analytics in the 21st century has opened new employment opportunities for librarians. The skills and training of a modern librarian are now sought in fields spanning medicine, law, government, and academics.

School Librarians

School librarians work in K-12 schools teaching students to access information and resources. They may also assist faculty in the development of lesson plans by sourcing instructional material. Many public schools now call their librarians “media specialists.”

Public Library Librarians

Public librarians serve the patrons of a public library. They locate print and digital media for checkout or research and plan events like book fairs and story time sessions for children.

Academic Librarians

Academic librarians are the unsung heroes of the university world. They act as the information backbone of colleges and universities, providing vital support for research and learning. These research rockstars assist faculty and students in navigating complex research projects. They offer in-depth guidance on finding scholarly materials, databases, and research tools. But their role goes beyond simple resource retrieval. Instructional all-stars, they often teach information literacy courses, equipping students with the skills to critically evaluate sources and become effective researchers themselves.

Academic librarians are also collection curators, carefully selecting and maintaining library collections to ensure they align with the academic programs offered by the institution. And as libraries embrace new technologies, some librarians are becoming innovation instigators, managing makerspaces or offering workshops on data visualization and digital tools. In short, academic librarians are a multifaceted force, empowering students, faculty, and the entire academic community.

Special Librarians (Medical, Law, etc.)

Special librarians are a breed apart. Unlike their academic counterparts, they delve deep into a specific field, becoming subject matter mavens. Whether it’s medicine, law, business, or engineering, these librarians develop expertise in a particular industry. This specialized knowledge allows them to transform into in-depth research guides. Professionals within these fields can rely on special librarians to provide targeted research assistance, ensuring they have the most up-to-date information to tackle complex challenges.

Curators of Specialized Collections is another hat special librarians wear. They meticulously build and maintain collections of resources relevant to their specific domain. This ensures that doctors have access to the latest medical journals, lawyers can find the most recent legal precedents, and businesses can stay informed about industry trends.

In the fast-paced world of business, some special librarians even take on the role of competitive intelligence specialists. They help companies gather valuable intel about their competitors or conduct market research to gain a strategic edge.

Ultimately, special librarians act as knowledge brokers. They bridge the gap between researchers and the information they need. By translating complex knowledge into clear and actionable insights, special librarians empower professionals to make informed decisions and achieve their goals.