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Help please want to become a Librarian?

Hi! I am Yvetta a 56-year-old female of color looking to become a librarian where should I start with my education?

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Yvetta !

Library Science is such a fabulous career choice and I would be happy to provide some advice for you.

You would begin by enrolling in college for a degree in Library Science and continue on to a Masters Level. California doesn't require public Librarians to be certified but most have a Masters and sometimes you can be hired with a Bachelors Degree while working on your Masters Degree. School librarians do need certification in California, however. This will be expensive, so start researching colleges now, compare and decide if 6 years of college is the route you'd like to go.

If you decide that you don't want to go for a Masters Degree, you can still work in a library. Some of the careers you can have would be as a Page, Library Assistant or an Associate Technician. Do start looking into these positions too, just in case, after being well-informed, you decide not to take the college route. You can also consider working in Publishing.

Keep in mind that when you apply for jobs in Library Science and Publishing, other applicants will have college degrees, so it's very important to think about the competitive element when it comes time to look for a position. I think the academic route would be the best way for you to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to be a professional Librarian.

You can consider some scholarships that are out there for older students. Do a search for this on line and I have left a link for you below to give you an idea of some of the scholarship programs that are out there for older students. Research all types of scholarships in all categories.

If you do decide to go the college route, go to the website of each college to see their admissions requirements. Most times, scores from an SAT or ACT exam will be needed so you can look further into how and when to take that exam or if a score would need to be updated from when you've last taken one of these exams. The colleges themselves can give you accurate information about that. If you've already been to college, your college GPA score most likely will be needed.

Best wishes to you on this fabulous journey !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

2024 COLLEGES IN CA WITH A LIBRARY SCIENCE MAJOR https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-with-library-science/s/california/
EXAMPLES OF SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/scholarships/older-students/
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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Yvetta,

Great question! I was a children's librarian at a public library for 10 years before moving the the education technology field. Most public libraries require full-time librarians have a Master's degree in Library Science. Most school libraries also require an education certification of some kind as well. I went to Dominican University in Illinois, but there are other programs all around the country and some offer remote courses if you are not near the campus.

I will note that almost all libraries hire part-time staff to work in every department that do not have a Library Science degree. These staff members typically work the afternoon to evening and weekend hours. If you don't want to pursue a degree this can be a great option. In addition if you want to pursue a degree I would highly encourage you to apply for a part-time role in a library as well. This gives you a competitive advantage once you are finished with your degree to get hired as a full time librarian.

Almost everyone I went to school with had never worked in a library before and I was the only one that worked at a library throughout my degree. By the time we graduated I had 2 years experience and got a full-time role within 6 months.

Best of luck to you! It is a great career to have!
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Atul’s Answer

While I might not be a specialist, you'll typically need a Master's Degree in Library Science to become a fully qualified Librarian. You can find more helpful details on this website: www.ala.org. It's user-friendly and full of useful information!
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Jerome’s Answer

https://www.ala.org/ Is a great resource. You can use the organization to connect with those in the field and ask about their journey. I believe this one of those fields where most have a passion for what they are doing. I am almost certain you will find encouragement and support from those who are in roles similar to what you are seeking.
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Greg’s Answer

Hi Yvetta!

I absolutely concur with the others about joining the ALA. They offer a special student rate and it's an association you'll likely be part of throughout your professional journey.

A Master's in Library Science (MLS) is a must-have. Start by pursuing a Bachelor's degree in a field you truly love and find useful. My own journey took me through Library School, where I found my peers came from a diverse range of undergraduate majors. During my studies, I worked at the university's law library - securing a library job as an MLS student isn't too difficult.

Eventually, I returned to my passion - photography - which is where I am now.

The library profession has evolved significantly since my time. The internet boom has led to the creation of numerous hybrid roles in the field. Traditional library positions are less common now, as Library Science has integrated with the information, data, and analytics industries. So, keep this in mind as you plan your career.
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