How to Become a Librarian in Arkansas - 2024 Guide

by Staff

Updated: April 12th, 2024

Do you have a love for books, information, and igniting a love of learning in others?  If so, a career as a librarian in Arkansas could be your perfect fit!  The state’s library system offers a diverse range of opportunities, from public librarians assisting patrons in their research journeys to school librarians fostering a love of reading in young minds.

Ignite Your Passion for Learning: Becoming a Librarian in Arkansas

Arkansas’ library system pulsates with opportunity for those who crave knowledge and yearn to ignite a love of learning in others.  Do you see yourself as a public library guide, expertly steering patrons through the vast ocean of information? Or perhaps a school librarian (see Arkansas school librarian certification), cultivating young minds and fostering a lifelong love of reading? This guide will illuminate the path for your chosen library career in Arkansas, detailing the qualifications and steps needed to succeed.

Education: The Bedrock of Success

For most librarian positions in Arkansas, an advanced degree is the bedrock upon which your career is built. Employers typically seek candidates with a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS). This rigorous program equips librarians with the essential knowledge and skills to organize information meticulously, assist patrons in their research endeavors, and deliver exceptional library services.

There are, however, a few exceptions. Specialized librarian roles, particularly those focused on specific information domains like law or medicine, may require a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, complemented by relevant library science coursework or certifications.

Gaining Invaluable Experience

Regardless of your chosen library specialty, immersing yourself in hands-on experience is highly recommended. Volunteering, internships, or part-time library jobs offer invaluable opportunities to develop essential skills. These skills encompass the day-to-day operations of a library, managing cataloging systems with efficiency, and providing exceptional customer service to patrons. This practical experience will significantly strengthen your candidacy for full-time librarian positions.

School Librarianship: A Specialized Path

Similar to most states, Arkansas mandates certification for school librarians. This ensures they possess the necessary skills to effectively manage school libraries and seamlessly integrate library services into the curriculum. Here’s a breakdown of the key requirements for becoming a certified school librarian:

  • Teaching License: Before pursuing librarian certification, you’ll need a valid Arkansas teaching license.
  • Master’s Degree and Praxis Exam: A Master’s degree in Library Media Specialist (LMS) is mandatory, along with a passing score on the Praxis II Library Media Content exam.

Building Your Professional Network

Don’t go it alone! Forge strong professional relationships with librarians, educators, and others in the library field.  Networking events, conferences, and online communities can provide valuable opportunities to connect with mentors, discover job leads, and gain insights relevant to your chosen library specialty.

Additional Gems in Arkansas

The Arkansas Library Association (ArLA) serves as a treasure trove of resources for librarians throughout their careers. They offer professional development opportunities and foster connections within the vibrant Arkansas library community.

By following these guidelines and tailoring your qualifications to your chosen library path, you can confidently embark on your rewarding librarian journey in Arkansas’ dynamic library landscape.