Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Exciting, Rewarding Career as a Librarian

If the only first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a librarian is a quiet schoolroom filled with whispering children and rows of atlases and encyclopedias, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that are several different interesting sectors for librarians who are seeking rewarding, fulfilling careers.

The majority of librarians, also widely referred to now as media specialists or information professionals, perform one, or more, of three different aspects of library related work, either administrative, technical, or user based services. Administrative work may entail duties such as overseeing all of the operations of the library, supervise employees, order materials, handle budgeting and funding, write grants, and organize and oversee activities and library events.

The technical duties of a librarian involve preparing, classifying, and cataloging materials and generally handle the "behind the scenes" operations of the library that make it easier for patrons to find what they're looking for. Librarians deal with not only books, magazines, catalogs, and maps, but also audio, video, and computer files and equipment.

The user based duties of a librarian involve dealing directly with patrons, helping them find what they need, recommending material, and basically teaching people how to research, use reference material and find their way around the library. They also will be responsible for checking books in and out, stocking shelves, and keeping the library in order.

Some librarians may also conduct classes or learning groups and frequently are looked upon for recommendations and guidance. The position may also entail reading book reviews, keeping up with announcements from publishers, acquiring all of the latest data and information, and making purchases from publishers, wholesalers, or distributors of books and educational material.

In the smallest of libraries, one single librarian may be responsible for all aspects of running the library, while larger ones will employ several, each of which who may be assigned to a specific section such as reference, or bibliographies or acquisitions.

Here are the main types of librarians employed today:

- Academic librarians who are employed by colleges and universities
- Public and school, who are the most common type of librarian
- Specialist librarians that work in settings such as information centers or corporate libraries

More than eighty percent of all librarians are employed full time, with schedules ranging from normal business hours to some evening and weekend hours, and during the few holidays that libraries are open. And, in terms of career advancement, librarians may go on to pursue higher positions within their field that include administrative duties, or as the head or director of a library.

For most librarian positions, a master's degree in library science (MLS) will be required, however, for jobs in schools, different states have their own licensing requirements with many stating that a librarian must first have a bachelor's degree in education as well as experience in teaching.

Librarian Job Outlook and Salary Information

The four percent expected job growth for librarians over the next decade is quite a bit lower than the average in comparison to all other occupations. However, it's estimated that two out of every three librarian in the U.S. today is over the age of 45, which means that over the next two decades, many of them will be retiring, possibly resulting in a large number of job openings in the field.

Also, experts predict that the need for librarians will increase considerably outside of the usual traditional settings over the next ten to twenty years, such as elementary schools and colleges as more and more businesses, including private corporations and consulting firms, are turning toward the profession for everything from evaluating, analyzing, and organizing to setting up databases. There are also a growing number of entrepreneurial librarians who freelance and start their own consulting or managing business.

A librarian's salary will depend on a number of different variables such as qualifications, the type of duties performed, and also the kind of environment they are employed in as well as its size.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment Projections, librarians most recently received a median yearly salary of $49,060, while fifty percent of librarians earned between $39,250 and $60,800.

The lowest ten percent in the field made less than $30,930 per year and librarians employed by the federal U.S. government were at the other end of the spectrum earning an average of $80,873.

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