If you are interested in working in a school library, you may be wondering what degree you need to become a school librarian. School districts require librarians to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in education with a concentration in school library media. Many colleges with teaching programs offer this concentration and can prepare you to work as a school librarian at the elementary or secondary level.
School librarians don't just manage the school's collection of books, although that is a time-consuming part of the job. They also are charged with teaching students how the library works and how to conduct research using books and Internet resources. Librarians also develop lists of proposed additions to the library, based on the needs of the faculty and students.
Librarians are needed at the elementary and secondary levels. Elementary school librarians are required to do more teaching about the role of the library, while secondary school librarians may spend more time instructing students in research methods for class projects and papers.
Depending on the particular school, you may be called the librarian, library teacher, media specialist or information technologist.
Working as a school librarian requires a bachelor's degree in education with a concentration in school library media. Some schools require a master's degree. Current teachers wishing to become school librarians need only to take the library science classes needed to be licensed as a school librarian. Librarians who hold a degree in library science must obtain a teaching certificate in most cases in order to become eligible to be a school librarian.
Before you choose a college or university, make sure it offers a school library media concentration as part of its education major. Some school districts require that potential librarians complete a practicum in a school library as part of their degree, while others find the degree itself sufficient. Find out what the schools in your state require before choosing a program.
Some states do not require that school librarians take the PRAXIS examination or other examination required for licensing. Check with districts in your area to determine if you will need to take an examination.
While being a school librarian may seem less hectic than being a classroom teacher, librarians are being given more and more responsibility as technology advances. Librarians must keep up to date on the latest research techniques and computer equipment, work with other teachers regarding their class needs, develop library policies, arrange book fairs and may even prepare an annual budget.
School librarians work the same schedule as teachers and receive time off during major holidays and during the summer. Librarians usually participate in statewide teacher retirement programs and are represented by the teachers' union.