No Degree? No Problem! Here’s How to Become a Librarian

No Degree? No Problem! Here’s How to Become a Librarian

Are you passionate about books and helping others find the information they need? Becoming a librarian may have seemed out of reach if you don’t have a degree in library science, but fear not! There are alternative paths to becoming a librarian that don’t require a traditional degree. In this article, we will explore the different ways you can pursue a career in librarianship without a formal education.

Education Requirements for Librarians

Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science or related field

To become a librarian, a bachelor’s degree in Library Science or a related field is typically required. This degree provides the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work in a library setting. Courses in cataloging, reference services, information organization, and library management are often included in the curriculum.

Master’s Degree in Library Science (MLS)

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most librarian positions, a Master’s Degree in Library Science (MLS) is often preferred or required for more advanced or specialized roles. This graduate-level program delves deeper into topics such as library technology, digital archives, and information retrieval. Additionally, a MLS can open up opportunities for leadership positions within the library field.

Alternative Paths to Becoming a Librarian

If you’re passionate about working in a library but don’t have a traditional degree in library science, there are alternative paths you can take to pursue a career as a librarian. Here are some options to consider:

Library Experience

One way to become a librarian without a formal degree is to start gaining experience working in a library. Many libraries offer entry-level positions, such as library assistant or library technician, that can provide valuable hands-on experience in library operations. By working in a library setting, you can learn about cataloging systems, information retrieval, and reader advisory services, all of which are essential skills for librarians.

Specialized Certifications

Another option for aspiring librarians without a degree is to pursue specialized certifications in library science. There are a variety of certification programs available that can help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to work in a library. For example, the American Library Association offers a Certified Public Library Administrator program, which is designed for library professionals who do not have a master’s degree in library science but want to advance their careers in the field.

Volunteer Work

Volunteering at a library is another great way to gain experience and demonstrate your commitment to a career in librarianship. By volunteering, you can learn about library operations, interact with patrons, and assist with various tasks that librarians typically handle. Volunteering can also help you build a network of contacts in the library field, which can be valuable when you’re ready to apply for paid positions.

Overall, while a traditional degree in library science is a common path to becoming a librarian, there are alternative routes available for those who are passionate about working in libraries. By gaining library experience, pursuing specialized certifications, or volunteering, you can still achieve your goal of becoming a librarian even without a formal degree.

Skills and Qualities Needed for Librarians

Organizational skills

Librarians are responsible for managing a vast amount of information and resources, so strong organizational skills are essential. They need to be able to categorize and arrange materials in a way that is easy for patrons to find. Additionally, librarians must keep track of due dates, overdue items, and library events, requiring attention to detail and the ability to multitask effectively.

Customer service skills

Librarians interact with a wide range of patrons on a daily basis, so excellent customer service skills are crucial. They must be patient, helpful, and knowledgeable in order to assist patrons with their information needs. Librarians should also be able to handle difficult situations with grace and professionalism, ensuring that all patrons feel welcome and valued.

Communication skills

Effective communication is key for librarians, as they need to convey information clearly and concisely to patrons and colleagues. Librarians must be able to answer reference questions, provide research assistance, and explain library policies in a way that is easily understood. Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential for successful librarianship.


In conclusion, pursuing a career as a librarian without a degree is definitely possible with the right combination of skills, experience, and dedication. By gaining relevant experience, obtaining certifications, and continuously learning and growing in the field, anyone passionate about libraries and information management can achieve their dream of becoming a librarian. With the increasing demand for information professionals in various settings, there are plenty of opportunities available for those willing to put in the effort to succeed. So, if you have a love for books, research, and helping others, don’t let the lack of a degree hold you back from pursuing a fulfilling career as a librarian.