Corporate Librarians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A college preparatory course load is needed to prepare for this career—take classes in history, English, speech, as well as business classes such as marketing and finance. Since we are such a global society, it would be beneficial to be fluent in more than one language. Hone your writing skills; they will be important in writing reports or preparing presentations.

Much of the information accessed by corporate librarians is Internet based, so it is imperative to be comfortable working with computers. Know how to navigate the Internet. Get a head start by taking computer classes and fine-tuning your research skills on the Web.

If you plan on working in a particular specialty, then it would be wise to take related classes. For example, if you would like to work as a librarian at the American Medical Association, you should take classes in biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology.

Postsecondary Training

To work as a corporate librarian, you will need a master in library science (MLS) or master of library information science (MLIS). Schools offering this degree can be found throughout the United States, but programs accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) carry the most weight with prospective employers. There are about 60 ALA-accredited programs available in the United States and Canada, each lasting from one to two years. Some programs offer independent and/or distance learning options. Visit http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/accreditedprograms/directory for a list of schools. 

Many specialized librarians also earn a bachelor's degree that is complementary to their field. For example, corporate librarians working for financial institutions may have an undergraduate degree in business administration or finance. Those employed by advertising agencies may have an undergraduate degree in advertising. Medical librarians may have an educational background in science or work experience in the health care industry.

Some large law firms expect their corporate librarians to have a law degree in addition to an MLS/MLIS. In fact, according to the American Association of Law Libraries, nearly 30 percent of all law librarians have a law degree. Some schools now offer a combined MLS and Jurist Doctorate program, lasting about four years.

Other Education or Training

The Special Libraries Association offers conferences, continuing education classes, and a career development series to keep corporate librarians abreast of new technology and advancements in processing information. The American Library Association provides a variety of webinars, workshops, conference seminars, and other continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.  

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Currently, there are no certification or licensing requirements for this specialty. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Corporate librarians may begin gaining experience by working in a library or serving an internship at a library while completing their master's degrees. They should also have excellent organization skills and be highly proficient with computers, the Internet, and related technologies, and be well organized and be good problem solvers.

Corporate librarians need to have a strong background in their particular specialty. For example, an advertising librarian should have knowledge of the advertising industry and be familiar with industry companies, publications, lingo, and trends.