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What does a Reference Librarian do?

Learn all about Reference Librarian duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Reference Librarian.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A reference librarian is a professional who helps people find information. They work in libraries and are experts at using library resources. They also know how to find information on the Internet.

Reference Librarian job duties include:

  • Maintain reference and information services and resources.
  • Plan, develop, and implement new services, resources, and programs.
  • Train and supervise staff members and volunteers.
  • Select and acquire library materials.
  • Develop and maintain electronic resources and services.
  • Manage budgets and financial reports.
  • Develop marketing and public relations plans.
  • Advocate for the library within the community.
  • Serve on committees and boards as needed.

Reference Librarian Job Requirements

A reference librarian typically needs a master's degree in library science from an accredited institution. Many library science programs are offered online, although some jobs may require certification from the American Library Association. Some employers may also require experience working in a library. Reference librarians typically work in public, academic, or special libraries, and their duties include helping patrons find information, providing reference services, and teaching library users how to find information on their own.

Reference Librarian Skills

  • Reference
  • Librarian
  • Library
  • Research
  • Cataloging
  • Classification
  • Bibliographic instruction
  • Collection development
  • Reader's advisory
  • Reference interview
  • Technology skills

Related: Top Reference Librarian Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Reference Librarian

There are a few steps to becoming a reference librarian. Firstly, one must obtain a degree in library science from an accredited university. Secondly, one must pass the required exams to become certified. Finally, one must find a job at a library that is hiring reference librarians.

The first step to becoming a reference librarian is to obtain a degree in library science from an accredited university. A degree in library science will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to work as a reference librarian. Many library science programs offer coursework in information retrieval, Reference Services, and research methods.

The second step to becoming a reference librarian is to pass the required exams to become certified. In order to become certified, you must pass the American Library Association's (ALA) examination for professional competence. The ALA's examination is designed to test your knowledge of library science and your ability to apply it in a real-world setting.

The third and final step to becoming a reference librarian is to find a job at a library that is hiring reference librarians. Many libraries across the country are always in need of qualified reference librarians. To find a job, you can search online job boards or contact your local library directly.

Related: Reference Librarian Resume Example

Related: Reference Librarian Interview Questions (With Example Answers)