Is Librarian a Good Career?

is librarian a good career

The role of a librarian is often misunderstood, leading to misconceptions about the career. Libraries offer a variety of different types of librarians, including public librarians, children’s librarians, young adult librarians, and more. Librarian salaries vary, but the average salary for librarians in the United States is $67,428. However, starting salaries can be lower, and librarians often face challenges such as vocational awe, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Contrary to popular belief, librarians’ jobs are not always relaxing, as they often deal with noise, incidents, and stressful situations. And while librarians do have opportunities to read, their work involves many other responsibilities, such as cataloging, research, program planning, and more.

**Key Takeaways**

  • Librarians play a vital role in various types of libraries, including public, academic, school, medical, and law libraries.
  • The average salary for librarians in the United States is $67,428, but starting salaries can be lower.
  • Librarians face challenges such as vocational awe, compassion fatigue, and burnout.
  • The job of a librarian involves more than reading and can include cataloging, research, program planning, and more.
  • Librarians need a diverse skillset, including strong communication, organizational, research, and technological skills.

Types of Librarians

Librarianship encompasses a variety of specialized roles beyond public librarians. Understanding the different types of librarians and their areas of expertise is crucial for aspiring librarians. Here are some common types of librarians:

1. Public Librarians

Public librarians, the most well-known type, serve communities by providing access to a wide range of resources. They assist patrons with reference inquiries, organize programs and events, manage library collections, and promote literacy and lifelong learning.

2. Academic Librarians

Academic librarians work in colleges and universities to support the research and educational needs of students, faculty, and researchers. They curate academic collections, provide research assistance, instruct students in information literacy skills, and collaborate with faculty on course development.

3. School Librarians

School librarians play a vital role in K-12 educational settings. They help students develop information literacy skills, select appropriate reading materials, and foster a love for learning. School librarians collaborate with teachers to integrate information resources into the curriculum.

4. Medical Librarians

Medical librarians work in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and research institutions. They support medical professionals by providing access to up-to-date medical literature, conducting literature reviews, and assisting with evidence-based research.

5. Law Librarians

Law librarians specialize in legal research and work in law firms, courts, government agencies, and law schools. They help lawyers and legal professionals find relevant legal information, navigate databases, and stay updated on changes in legislation and case law.

Each type of librarian plays a crucial role in their respective fields, contributing to the dissemination of knowledge and information access. The table below summarizes the key characteristics of different types of librarians:

Type of Librarian Duties and Responsibilities Work Environment
Public Librarian Reference assistance, program planning, collection management Public libraries, community centers
Academic Librarian Research support, instruction, collection development Colleges, universities
School Librarian Information literacy instruction, collection management K-12 schools
Medical Librarian Medical research support, literature reviews Hospitals, research institutions
Law Librarian Legal research, database management Law firms, courts, government agencies

Becoming familiar with these different types of librarians can help individuals decide which path aligns best with their interests and career goals.

Librarian Salaries

The salary of a librarian is an important consideration for those considering a career in this field. While the average salary for librarians in the United States is $67,428 according to, it is worth noting that salaries can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and job position.

Starting salaries for librarians can be lower compared to the average, with some library director positions paying around $40,000 annually. It is important to take into account the cost of living in different areas when comparing salaries as well.

Additionally, salary ranges may also differ among specific types of librarians. For example, film librarians and law librarians may command different salary levels based on the requirements and specialized knowledge of their respective fields.

It’s worth emphasizing that despite the educational requirements, including the necessity of a master’s degree in library science (MLS or MLIS), librarian salaries may not always reflect the level of education and the challenges librarians face in their roles.

Librarian Salary Comparison by Job Position

Below is a comparison table showcasing the average salaries for different librarian job positions:

Job Position Average Salary
Public Librarian $60,877
Academic Librarian $62,615
School Librarian $60,446
Medical Librarian $72,040
Law Librarian $70,998

librarian salary comparison

It’s important to note that these figures are averages and can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and market demand. It’s advisable for individuals considering a career as a librarian to research salary trends in their specific area and align them with their own career aspirations and financial expectations.

Benefits of Being a Librarian

Despite the lower salaries, librarians often enjoy various benefits that make the career appealing and rewarding. Here are some of the key benefits and perks that come with being a librarian:

Retirement Benefits

Librarians typically have access to retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans and pensions, offered by many libraries. These plans help librarians secure their financial future and provide stability after their active years as librarians are over.

Medical Benefits

Librarians often receive excellent medical benefits, including health insurance coverage. Many government or large employers offer health insurance at a low cost to librarians, ensuring that they have access to quality healthcare and wellness programs to support their well-being.

Vision and Dental Benefits

In addition to medical benefits, librarians commonly receive vision and dental benefits as part of their benefits package. These benefits cover eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental check-ups, and other related expenses, promoting overall health and well-being.

Housing Benefits (Academic Librarians)

Some academic librarians may have access to housing benefits, depending on their institution. These benefits can include housing allowances or on-campus housing options, providing convenient and affordable housing solutions for academic librarians.

Childcare and Maternity/Paternity Leave

Librarians often have access to childcare benefits, which can include subsidies or assistance programs to help them balance their family life and career. Additionally, many libraries and academic institutions provide maternity and paternity leave benefits, ensuring that librarians have the support they need during important family milestones.

Vacation and Sick Leave

Librarians typically receive paid vacation and sick leave, allowing them to take time off for personal reasons or when they need to attend to their health. This flexibility promotes a healthy work-life balance, enabling librarians to recharge and rejuvenate.

In summary, while the salaries for librarians may be lower compared to some other professions, the benefits and perks that come with being a librarian make the career enticing. From retirement plans and medical benefits to vision and dental benefits, librarians are provided with security and support in various aspects of their lives. These benefits contribute to the overall satisfaction and well-being of librarians, making it a fulfilling career choice for many.

Job Satisfaction for Librarians

Job satisfaction plays a crucial role in determining whether a career is a good fit for an individual. When it comes to librarians, job satisfaction can vary based on personal preferences and factors unique to the profession. Let’s explore the job satisfaction factors influencing librarians and why many find fulfillment in their work.

Contributing Factors to Job Satisfaction

For librarians in the United States, job satisfaction often stems from the following factors:

  • Opportunity to Help: Librarians have the privilege of assisting people and making a positive impact on their lives through the provision of information and resources.
  • Community Connection: Building relationships with patrons and being an active member of the community fosters a sense of belonging and purpose.
  • Promoting Access to Information: Librarians play a vital role in ensuring equal access to information for all, which can be incredibly fulfilling.
  • Variety of Tasks: The diverse range of responsibilities, from cataloging and research assistance to program planning and community outreach, keeps the work dynamic and prevents monotony.
  • Continuous Learning: Librarians have the opportunity to learn something new every day, whether it’s exploring emerging technologies, discovering unique books, or diving into research requests.

While these factors contribute to overall job satisfaction, it’s important to note that individual preferences and career goals play a significant role in determining whether librarianship is personally satisfying.

Growth Opportunities for Librarians

Librarians have access to various avenues for career and professional growth, enabling them to advance and expand their opportunities within the field. By pursuing additional certifications or degrees, such as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree, librarians can enhance their knowledge and skills, opening doors to more diverse career options.

Furthermore, librarians can choose to specialize in specific areas of librarianship to broaden their expertise and increase their professional value. Developing specialized skills in areas such as digital librarianship, data management, or technology integration not only allows librarians to adapt to the changing landscape of information services but also positions them for new roles and responsibilities.

Continuing education and professional development opportunities are crucial for librarians to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in the field. By attending conferences, workshops, and training programs, librarians can gain valuable insights, network with industry professionals, and stay at the forefront of their profession.

Moreover, involvement in professional organizations provides librarians with a platform to connect with peers, share experiences, and collaborate on projects. These organizations often offer leadership roles, committee memberships, and volunteering opportunities, allowing librarians to contribute to the profession and expand their professional network.

Ultimately, by actively pursuing career and professional growth opportunities, librarians can not only advance within their current organization but also explore new horizons, expand their knowledge base, and stay relevant in the ever-evolving field of librarianship.

career growth opportunities for librarians

Skills Needed for Librarian Career

To thrive in a librarian career, certain skills are essential. Librarians are required to have strong communication and customer service skills to interact effectively with patrons on a daily basis. They must possess excellent organizational skills to manage library resources efficiently and assist patrons in finding the information they need. Information literacy and research skills are crucial for librarians to provide valuable support to patrons’ information needs. Given the pivotal role of technology in modern libraries, librarians should also possess good technological proficiency to navigate digital resources and assist patrons with technology-related inquiries.

Adaptability is a valuable trait for librarians, as they often encounter diverse challenges and changes in the library environment. Problem-solving skills are vital for addressing patrons’ questions and resolving any issues that arise. Moreover, a passion for learning is not only beneficial for personal and professional development but also for staying updated with emerging trends and technologies in the library field.

Here is a summary of the essential skills needed for a successful librarian career:

  • Strong communication and customer service skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Information literacy and research skills
  • Technological proficiency
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Passion for learning

Having these skills will not only facilitate the smooth operation of the library but also ensure that librarians can fulfill their role as information professionals effectively.


Becoming a librarian can be a fulfilling career choice for those who enjoy working with people, have a strong passion for learning, and value access to information. Despite facing challenges such as lower salaries and misconceptions about the profession, there are many compelling reasons to consider a librarian career.

Librarians enjoy a unique set of benefits, including retirement plans, comprehensive medical benefits, and vision and dental coverage. These perks contribute to a good work-life balance and provide essential support for librarians. Additionally, job satisfaction can be found in the opportunity to help others, connect with the community, and engage in lifelong learning. The variety of tasks and the chance to acquire new knowledge daily further enhance job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

Furthermore, librarians have opportunities for growth and advancement in their careers. By pursuing additional certifications or degrees and developing specialized skills, librarians can expand their career options and take on new responsibilities. Continuing education and involvement in professional organizations provide avenues for professional growth within the field.

Overall, a librarian career offers a unique blend of serving others, pursuing knowledge, and contributing to the community. By considering personal preferences, goals, and the opportunities available within the field, individuals can determine if a librarian career aligns with their interests and aspirations.


Is librarian a good career?

Yes, being a librarian can be a fulfilling career choice for those who enjoy working with people, have a strong passion for learning, and value access to information.

What are the different types of librarians?

There are various types of librarians, including public librarians, academic librarians, school librarians, medical librarians, and law librarians. Each type has different duties and responsibilities tailored to their specific environment.

How much do librarians earn?

The average salary for librarians in the United States is $67,428. However, starting salaries can be lower, and specific types of librarians may have different salary ranges.

What are the benefits of being a librarian?

Librarians often enjoy benefits such as retirement plans, excellent medical benefits, vision and dental benefits, childcare and maternity/paternity leave benefits, paid vacation and sick leave, ensuring a good work-life balance.

Is job satisfaction high for librarians?

Job satisfaction among librarians can vary, but many find satisfaction in helping people, connecting with their community, and promoting access to information. The variety of tasks and the opportunity to learn something new every day also contribute to job satisfaction.

What growth opportunities are available for librarians?

Librarians can pursue additional certifications or degrees to expand their career options. Developing specialized skills in areas such as digital librarianship, data management, or technology integration can open doors to new roles and responsibilities. Continuing education, professional development, and involvement in professional organizations provide avenues for growth within the field.

What skills are needed for a librarian career?

Strong communication and customer service skills, organizational skills, information literacy and research skills, technological proficiency, adaptability, problem-solving skills, and a passion for learning are essential for a successful librarian career.

In conclusion, is being a librarian a good career choice?

Considering personal preferences, goals, and the opportunities available within the field is crucial when determining if a librarian career is a good fit. While there are challenges such as lower salaries and misconceptions about the profession, the benefits, job satisfaction, growth opportunities, and the diverse skillset required make it a unique and rewarding career path.

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