The image of a starchy older woman who’s always shushing library patrons couldn’t be farther from the truth. These days, librarians are community organizers and resource shepherds, as well as researchers and fonts of literary recommendations.
As a librarian, you know how to find information so you know you’re in the right place for job-hunting advice. Resume.io offers resume guides and resume examples for 350+ professions, and an easy-to-use resume builder that incorporates AI suggestions along with the sample librarian resume below.
This resume guide will take you through the following topics:
- What does a librarian do?
- How to write a librarian resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a librarian resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints
What does a librarian do?
The core of a librarian’s job is buying, cataloging, and recommending books, but that is only the beginning. Head librarians oversee the operations of the library, including managing budgets and staff. They may also be responsible for the audiovisual and computer offerings of the library including videos, audiobooks, DVDs, software, and applications.
Many libraries have broadened their mandates and function as community centers with classes, performances, and programs for different age groups. Librarians choose which options will best serve their communities and oversee the organization of programming.
Aside from municipal libraries, librarians can also be found in museums, hospitals, businesses, and schools. In short, anywhere information is stored and handled.
Librarian job market and outlook
The job market for librarians is expected to grow at an average rate (6%) over the next decade, but some specialties will fare better, American Libraries magazine predicts.
Here is their list of five up-and-coming librarian job titles:
- Sustainability librarian
- User-experience librarian
- Director of equity, diversity, and inclusion
- Open educational resources librarian
- Data visualization librarian
What do librarians earn?
The median annual salary for a librarian is $61,190, U.S. Labor Bureau statistics show, but salaries vary widely. Librarians working for the federal government averaged $109,397.47 in 2021, while school librarians average $54,995 a year.
School librarians in California earn $103,958, while those in Idaho make a mere $19,000, but most state salaries fall in the $50,000 range.
How to write a librarian resume
When Dewey created the decimal system, he freed librarians from the tedious task of organizing thousands of books. Librarian resumes, too, have a simple structure that frees you to get creative with your phrasing and save time.
The following sections give you the framework for developing an excellent librarian resume:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
Choosing the best resume format for a librarian
Overall, the best format for any resume is the one that recruiters prefer and your librarian resume is no different. Default to reverse chronological order unless you have extenuating career circumstances. Those may be:
- A career change
- A gap in employment
- An extensive work history
- Entering the job market for the first time.
A hybrid format may suit your talents if you have a broad range of skills that you want to highlight over your formal work experience since it offers more space to expand your skills section.
Resume summary example
Drafting your librarian resume may be frustrating for a word-lover like yourself. This structured document offers little opportunity to craft brilliant sentences, except for the summary. This 3-4 sentence section gives you a chance to explain why you’re the right librarian for the job.
Summary is a bit of a misnomer. This is not a synopsis, it’s more of a greatest hits/sales pitch for your employment. What have you done in your most recent position that you are most proud of and that you will be able to replicate or improve at the library you are targeting? The hiring manager is most interested in what you can do for the library, so tell them in your summary.
Experienced, highly detail-driven library management professional with 13 years of library experience. Impeccable organizational and record-keeping skills. Accomplished team leader and efficient library operations manager. Exemplary communication, customer service and presentation skills.
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Employment history sample
Unless you’re entering the job market for the first time, the employment history section will consume the bulk of space on your librarian resume. That’s because you want to show your prospective employer that you have already done most or all of what your new job will require.
Include your most impressive achievements. To save space, feel free to leave out obvious tasks such as “responsible for shelving books.” While we’re examining that phrase, also leave out “responsible for” in favor of strong action words.
Gear your bulleted items to the job you seek. If your target library focuses on community activities, describe your organizational skills and a successful event that you spearheaded. Show off your prowess with numbers by detailing the size of the budget you managed and how prioritized where to spend and how to save.
Head Librarian, Campbell County Public Library, Gillette, WY
September 2015 - Present
- Oversee all aspects of library operations, including staff hiring and management and decision-making pertaining to selection of library materials and resources.
- Implement measures to increase patron engagement, including research and procurement of new materials that resulted in a 15% increase in usage.
- Maintain relations with American Library Association (ALA) and local government and community organizations.
Assistant Librarian, University of Wyoming Library, Laramie, WY
June 2012 - September 2015
- Provided support to patrons in locating and accessing materials and resources.
- Conducted library orientation sessions to familiarize new users with library resources and services.
- Created new library-wide program to promote reading and literacy and build research skills among students.
Lead Materials Handler, Albany County Public Library, Laramie, WY
February 2010 - June 2012
- Maintained accuracy and attention to detail in shelving library materials.
- Placed materials into sorter machine in preparations for shelving.
- Cleaned shelves and re-shelved materials left behind by patrons.
CV skills example
The skills section of your librarian resume gets right to the point by listing the abilities you believe are most important for the job and that match those listed in the job ad. ( Customization will also help you pass by the algorithm embedded in the Applicant Tracking System).
This is a simple list, without elaboration; however, some resume styles give you the option of ranking the skills you list.
Here are some skills to consider adding to your resume: community building, budgeting, development of programming, management, collection curation, communication, presentation, and computer knowledge.
- Library Operations
- Team Leadership
- Library Database Systems
- Organizational Skills
- Informational Research
- Inventory/Materials Handling
- Physical Shelving Organization
- Scheduling / Agenda Management
- Relationship Management
If you rank your skills…
… stay away from calling yourself a novice unless you have also explained that you have just begun a class to learn something completely new. Stick with proficient or expert, unless you are listing language fluency. On the other hand, don’t overplay your proficiency. Misrepresenting your abilities may lead to a problem later on.
Librarian resume education example
Librarians are drawn to information and education, so it’s not surprising that a master’s degree in library science (MLS) is a requirement for almost every job. Within your librarian resume, you will list all your academic achievements and awards in the education section.
The only exception to the MLS rule might be if you want to work in a school, but in that case, you will need to meet the state’s teaching requirements.
Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) | Online, University of Denver, Denver, CO
September 2013 - May 2015
- Graduated with honors
Bachelor of English in Writing, Minor in Literature, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
September 2009 - May 2013
Resume layout and design
Your layout should be as neat and clean as the library itself. Your design is your visual opportunity to project an air of professionalism. Great books with unwelcoming, tiny fonts and dense type are less likely to be read. The same is true of your librarian resume.
If you are aiming to work in an elementary school or children’s library, you may have a bit more leeway with color and design, but otherwise, keep it simple. Maintain margins of one inch all around, use a legible font in at least 10 points, and create a header that draws attention to your contact information (name, title, best ways to reach you).
Consider using one of our expertly-designed resume templates as a starting point.
Key takeaways for a librarian resume
- Librarians are much more than book buyers and sources of information, so you develop a resume that reflects your broad talents.
- Several fields of specialization for librarians have bright futures so think beyond libraries as a workplace.
- Use your summary to target each specific employer with achievements that relate directly to the position they have open.
- Show off your greatest accomplishments, in detail, in your employment history section.
- Take advantage of the resources at Resume.io to craft an impressive application package and earn an interview for your next job.