How to Become a Music Librarian

How to Become a Music Librarian

Are you passionate about music and library science? Do you have a keen eye for detail and a love for organizing information? If so, a career as a music librarian may be the perfect fit for you. In this article, we will explore the steps you can take to become a music librarian, including the education and skills needed to succeed in this rewarding field. Whether you are a music enthusiast looking to combine your interests or a library science professional seeking a specialized career path, this guide will provide you with the information you need to pursue your dreams of becoming a music librarian.

Education and Training

When pursuing a career as a music librarian, it is important to have the appropriate education and training to excel in this field. There are a few different paths you can take to become a music librarian:

Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science or Music

One option is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Library Science or Music. A degree in Library Science will provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work in a library setting, while a degree in Music will give you a deeper understanding of music theory and history. Both degrees can be beneficial for a career as a music librarian.

Master’s Degree in Library Science with Music Specialization

Another option is to pursue a Master’s degree in Library Science with a specialization in Music. This advanced degree will allow you to delve deeper into the specific skills and knowledge needed to work as a music librarian. It will also give you the opportunity to conduct research and gain practical experience in the field.

Internship Opportunities

Internship opportunities can also be invaluable for aspiring music librarians. By completing an internship at a library or music organization, you can gain hands-on experience and make valuable connections in the industry. Many libraries and music institutions offer internships to students and recent graduates, providing them with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and gain insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a music librarian.

Skills and Qualifications

Becoming a music librarian requires a unique set of skills and qualifications that are essential for success in this specialized field. Here are some of the key skills and qualifications needed to excel as a music librarian:

Strong Knowledge of Music Theory and History

One of the most important skills for a music librarian is a strong knowledge of music theory and history. Music librarians are responsible for cataloging and organizing a wide range of musical materials, including scores, recordings, and reference materials. A deep understanding of music theory and history is essential for accurately categorizing and classifying these materials, as well as for assisting patrons with their research needs.

Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are also crucial for music librarians, as they are responsible for maintaining and managing large collections of music-related materials. Music librarians must be able to create and maintain detailed cataloging systems, as well as keep track of the various items in their collections. Strong organizational skills are essential for ensuring that materials are easily accessible to patrons and for preventing loss or damage to valuable items.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is another key skill for music librarians, as they must be able to accurately catalog and classify a wide range of music-related materials. Music librarians must pay close attention to detail when creating cataloging records, as well as when organizing and maintaining their collections. A high level of attention to detail is essential for ensuring that materials are properly labeled and shelved, as well as for providing accurate information to patrons who may be conducting research or looking for specific items.

Overall, a combination of strong knowledge of music theory and history, organizational skills, and attention to detail are essential for becoming a successful music librarian. By developing these skills and qualifications, aspiring music librarians can pursue a rewarding career in this specialized field.

Job Responsibilities

Working as a music librarian involves a variety of responsibilities to ensure the efficient management and accessibility of a music collection.

Cataloging and Organizing Music Collection

One of the primary duties of a music librarian is to catalog and organize the music collection. This involves creating detailed records of each piece of music, including information such as composer, title, instrumentation, and genre. Organizing the collection in a logical and user-friendly manner helps patrons easily locate the music they are looking for.

Assisting Patrons with Music Research

Music librarians also play a crucial role in assisting patrons with their music research needs. This may involve helping patrons find specific pieces of music, providing information on composers and musical styles, and guiding patrons on how to use library resources effectively. By being knowledgeable and approachable, music librarians can help patrons make the most of the library’s music collection.

Collaborating with Music Department

Collaboration with the music department is another important aspect of a music librarian’s job. This may involve working closely with music faculty to support their teaching and research needs, participating in music-related events and programs, and contributing to the development of the library’s music collection. By building strong relationships with the music department, music librarians can ensure that the library’s resources meet the needs of the academic community.

Career Growth and Opportunities

Becoming a music librarian can open up a world of opportunities for career growth. As you gain experience in the field, you may have the chance to advance to senior music librarian positions, teach in library science programs, or curate special music collections.

Senior Music Librarian Positions

Senior music librarian positions offer the opportunity to lead and manage music collections at prestigious institutions. These roles may involve overseeing cataloging, acquisitions, and preservation of music materials, as well as collaborating with researchers, faculty, and students on music-related projects.

Teaching in Library Science Programs

Many music librarians also have the opportunity to teach in library science programs. By sharing your expertise and knowledge with aspiring librarians, you can help shape the next generation of information professionals and contribute to the advancement of the field.

Curating Special Music Collections

Curating special music collections allows music librarians to showcase unique and rare materials, such as rare manuscripts, scores, recordings, and memorabilia. This role involves selecting, organizing, and promoting these collections to provide valuable resources for researchers, performers, and music enthusiasts.


Becoming a music librarian requires a unique blend of music knowledge, organizational skills, and a passion for helping others. By following the steps outlined in this article, aspiring music librarians can take the necessary steps to pursue a career in this specialized field. From obtaining the required education and experience to developing a strong understanding of music cataloging systems, there are many opportunities for growth and advancement in this rewarding profession. With dedication and perseverance, anyone with a love for music and a desire to serve their community can find success as a music librarian.