How to Become a Librarian in Illinois - 2024 Guide

by Staff

Updated: April 30th, 2024

Illinois Librarians: Cornerstones of Community and Education

Librarians in Illinois play a vital role in fostering a love of learning and ensuring equitable access to information. Whether in bustling public libraries, academic institutions, or even specialized fields like law or medicine, librarians are the backbone of information access and education.

Why Become a Librarian in Illinois?

The reasons to pursue a career in librarianship in Illinois are plentiful. Librarians enjoy:

  • Making a difference: You’ll empower information literacy, cultivate a love of reading, and support research endeavors across all ages.
  • Variety: Every day presents new challenges and opportunities, from program development to information curation.
  • Job security: The demand for qualified librarians remains strong, with the Illinois State Board of Education highlighting the positive impact librarians have on student achievement.

Becoming a Librarian in Illinois

The path to becoming a librarian involves fulfilling specific educational and certification requirements, which vary depending on the library setting:

  • Education: A Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) is the standard qualification for most librarian positions. Coursework emphasizes information retrieval, research methods, library management, and user services.
  • Certification:

    • School Librarians: An MLIS program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) is required, followed by obtaining a Professional Educator License from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) (see Illinois school librarian certification requirements).
    • Public Librarians: An ALA-accredited MLIS is preferred, but some entry-level positions may accept a bachelor’s degree in Library Science.
  • Additional Considerations:

    • Academic Librarians: An MLIS and a subject master’s degree in a relevant field are often required.
    • Special Librarians (Law, Medical, etc.): An MLIS combined with a background in the specific field (law, medicine) is usually necessary.

Taking the Next Step

For aspiring librarians, numerous resources can help navigate the path. The Illinois Library Association (ILA) offers career guidance and information on scholarships and grants. Additionally, library schools in Illinois, such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, provide detailed admissions information and program descriptions.

By becoming a librarian in Illinois, you’ll join a dedicated community that fosters learning and empowers individuals to be lifelong information seekers.