How To Become a Librarian in Texas

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Updated on May 9, 2024
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Texas is the second largest state in acreage, after Alaska, and the second largest state in population, after California. They offer plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting, hiking, camping, swimming, biking, and more, throughout the state and within their 14 national parks and a multitude of state parks. Additionally, Texas offers a rich history they treasure throughout the state, with countless historical sites and buildings. They also offer healthcare services statewide to residents and have some of the best hospitals and healthcare research facilities in the nation.

Texas offers plenty of employment opportunities and education programs for librarians, but there are high standards for becoming a librarian in Texas. The majority of positions call for a master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program and previous library work experience. The amount of experience necessary will depend on the level of the position. Texas also offers library assistant jobs and other library jobs that do not require a master’s degree. 

This article covers three areas of librarianship. It delves into what is required to become a librarian in a university library, a school library, or a public library. The article also dives into the qualifications for the multiple kinds of librarian positions in universities and public libraries. If you are interested in learning more about the areas of librarianship in Texas and how to become one, keep reading. 

Academic Librarian Qualifications

An academic librarian works within a university. Large universities will have a system of libraries with various types of librarians. There are no state standards for academic librarians, but many universities in Texas require librarians to have a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from an ALA-accredited program. For library director positions, administrative skills and management experience are required. For library assistants and technicians, a master’s degree is unnecessary.  This section will cover what the current qualifications are for different areas of librarianship at a Texas university. 

Becoming a Copyright Librarian in Texas

A copyright librarian is someone who helps other library staff, researchers, faculty, and students with copyright information and provides expert guidance on issues with copyright and scholarly writings and presentations. To become a copyright librarian for an academic library, applicants need an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and around three years of experience with copyright or working in open access, publishing, or scholarly communication. They must also have excellent written and spoken communication skills, including public speaking. A copyright librarian also must be innovative and continue to learn about the changes in copyright law and technology. 

How To Become a Librarian Instructor in Texas

A librarian instructor needs to be an expert in their specified field as well as in librarianship. For this position, the applicant must have an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and either a master’s or doctorate in the area of study they will be asked to teach. In most cases, a doctorate is required, but some small colleges may accept a master’s degree. Preferred qualifications will include experience teaching, scholarly publications completed within the field, and experience working in the library. 

Law Librarian Requirements in Texas

A law librarian is a librarian with knowledge and expertise in law and the judicial system. They will work with and assist law students and faculty in extensive research and study. A law librarian must have either an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program or a Doctorate of Jurisprudence with experience and thorough knowledge of librarianship. It is preferred and often required that a law librarian have both a law degree and an MLIS degree. Law library directors must have a doctorate in either law or librarianship. 

Becoming a Resource Librarian in Texas

A resource librarian has expertise in cataloging across multiple formats, including e-books, print books, archive materials, and artists’ books. A resource librarian may also create new cataloged records for the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF). Therefore, resource librarians must have an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and have three or more years of cataloging experience, including familiarity with Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC), Library of Congress Classification (LCC), Resource Description and Access (RDA), Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), and various integrated library systems (ILS). Some resource librarians may need to use data transformation tools, so familiarity with MarcEdit or OpenRefine may be a preference. 

Texas Library Archivist Requirements

Archivists for a university will organize and maintain historical materials relevant to the university. Some of their duties will include scanning documents, photographs, and newspaper articles and creating an online presence for them. Many universities like to have the history of the university searchable and ready to research for student and faculty use, as well as for alumni to utilize, and for anyone else’s curiosity and research. Most library archivists are librarians and need to have an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program. Preferably, applicants will have a degree with archiving as their concentration or have experience working with archiving. 

How To Become a School Librarian in Texas

Texas has state requirements for school librarians just like they do for school teachers. They must hold a School Librarian Certification issued by the State Department of Education. To earn certification, applicants need two years of teaching experience as an early childhood teacher or a k-12th grade teacher. This requires a teacher’s certification issued by the State Department of Education. School librarians also need a master’s degree (in any area), the completion of a state-approved program in librarianship, and a passing score on the TExEs School Librarian Exam. Universities, including the University of North Texas, offer library science programs with a certificate in school librarianship. 

Public Librarian Qualifications in Texas

There are no state requirements for public librarians, but most professional librarians need an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program. Library branch managers and administrators will need experience in supervising, budgeting, and other library administrative tasks depending on the number of staff the position requires. Library assistants and technicians do not need the same education and experience as professional librarians. This section covers two standard librarian positions and their qualifications for public libraries in the state of Texas.

Youth and Children’s Librarian in Texas

A children’s librarian at a public library is over the children’s department and the services for parents, teachers, and children. A children’s librarian will need knowledge of books appropriate for various ages and developmental stages, the ability to engage children in learning and reading, and the ability to communicate with teachers and parents about the learning development of children. Additionally, children librarians also work as supervisors, aid in library management, and help with circulation and reference questions. These librarians are often entry-level professional librarians unless the position is for a department head of a large children’s department. Typically, a children’s librarian will need an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and some experience working in a library setting. 

Reference Librarian

A reference librarian for a public library is often a level two librarian. They will have a year or two working as a full-time professional librarian. Their primary job is to direct library users to the correct information and resources the library provides, as well as other community resources. Typical requirements for a reference librarian include an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and more than a full year of professional library experience. 

Branch or Department Head Librarian

A branch head librarian will manage a library that is part of a system of libraries. A department head librarian will be over a department within a large library. Typically, a department head is over two or more staff specific to the department, whereas a branch head will cover all library staff in a library and ensure other staff, including cleaning, maintenance, and IT are completing their hired work. Both typically need an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program and two or more years in a supervisory role. Experience working with scheduling and budgeting is preferable. 

Assistant Director of Libraries

An assistant director is an administrator who oversees all staffing for a library system, works with the budget, deals with complaints, solves complex issues, and aids the library director. This position requires an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program, education or training in administration, and over two years of experience in library management. The level of preferred or required experience in management and administration will depend on the number of staff within the library system. 

Director of Libraries Reequirements in Texas

This is the highest level of librarianship within public library systems or academic library systems. Their primary job is to advocate for the library and its funding with the city or county government. In an academic library, the director will communicate with the university administration. They must have an MLIS degree or higher from an ALA-accredited program, administrative training, and extensive knowledge of library budgeting, grant funding, and city politics. Depending on the size of the library or library system, they will need experience as either a regional branch manager, a branch manager, or department head over multiple librarians and library staff, or as an assistant director. 

Additional Resources

For current careers and qualifications Texas employers are seeking for librarians, visit these websites: