Children's Librarians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A full academic course load—including history, math, English, speech, foreign languages, and computer science—is your best preparation for a career as a children's librarian. Familiarity with the Dewey Decimal System is important—you should be able to navigate your way around a library. Also, join clubs or find activities that will give you plenty of experience playing and working with children. Some examples include taking high school child development courses, babysitting neighborhood children, or volunteering at a summer camp or after school program for kids.

Postsecondary Training

A master's degree in library science from an accredited school is required for most children's librarian positions in public libraries. Library Management, Youth Services Librarianship, Literature and Resources Children, and History of Children's Literature are just some of the typical courses that students take for this degree. Workshops covering topics such as electronic publishing and library materials and services for very young children are offered to complement more traditional educational programs.

Those employed in a school setting can take a different route to this career. Some schools require their librarians to be licensed teachers before receiving training or certification in library science. Requirements differ by state. You can check your state's requirements at Web sites such as the University of Kentucky College of Education's Web page, https://education.uky.edu/accreditation/certification/states. The site lists education and training requirements for each state, which is especially helpful if you plan on working as a children's librarian in another state during your career.

Other Education or Training

Online classes, webinars, face-to-face institutes, and other continuing education opportunities are available from the American Association of School Librarians, American Library Association, Association for Library Service to Children, and the Young Adult Library Services Association. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Children's librarians in some states may be required to earn teacher's certification and/or a master's degree in addition to preparation as a librarian. Education and certification requirements vary by state, county, and local governments. Contact the school board or public library system in your area to learn about specific requirements.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

In addition to library science training, many children’s librarians gain experience as teachers working with children. They also master the use of computers, especially databases.

Children's librarians should enjoy working with children. They must be good teachers and have the patience to explain library services and technology to children of varying ages and levels of understanding. Children's librarians should also have strong interpersonal skills, the ability to solve problems, and be detail oriented. They must also love information and be committed to pursuing continuing education throughout their careers. Other important traits include the ability to use technology and strong management skills.