Requirements to Become a Librarian By-State

Requirements to become a librarian or library worker in a public library vary by state. Learn how to become a librarians and find out all the up-to-date information you need to get started here.

Requirements to become a librarian or library worker in a public library vary by state. Find out all the up-to-date information you need to get started here. 

In some states, only certain roles and responsibilities require certification. In some instances, you may need a Master’s degree in Library Science. Other states allow librarians to obtain a certificate or licensure to incorporate them into the library. For starters, it is recommended that you focus on programs that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Not only do they generally meet the licensure requirements for a variety of librarian positions, but it also makes it easier to recertify if you are moving across different states. 

Below is a list of requirements for each state:

Alabama

  • Library directors need 4 CE meetings a year at minimum.

Alaska

  • Library directors need a minimum of 1 CE program approved by a state librarian.

Arizona

Colorado

  • H.S. Diploma/GED + 2000 hours of paid or unpaid library work within 5 years + 240 contact hours in specific competencies.
  • Renewal: 45 additional contact hours every 3 years.

Connecticut

  • Library directors require MLS.

Georgia

  • Accredited MLIS.
  • Renewal: 10 hours of CE during a two year period preceding bi-annual renewal.
  • Georgia State Board for Certification of Librarians 

Idaho

  • No state certification is required for public librarians.

Indiana

  • Graduation from accredited university + Accredited MLIS + 10 years of library experience that includes 3 years of staff supervision after completing degree.

Iowa

  • Accredited MLIS and additional requirements depending on the level.
  • Renewal: 45 contact hours during certification.

 

Kansas

  • Level 1: high school diploma + 5 years library experience.
  • Level 2: 24 semester hours of college or 200 contact hours.
  • Level 3: undergraduate degree or 400 contact hours.
  • Level 4 requires MLS.
  • Renewal: 45 contact hours every 3 years.

Kentucky

  • ALA Accredited MLIS. 
  • Renewal: 100 contact hours for professional and paraprofessional certificate holders. 50 contact hours for individuals with library experience.
  • Kentucky State Board for the Certification of Librarians 

Maine

  • MLS or Bachelor’s degree for smaller towns.

Maryland

  • Accredited MLIS.
  • Renewal: 6 semester hours in accredited institutions or an in-service program.
  • Maryland State Department of Education Division of Certification and Accreditation

 

Massachusetts

Michigan

  • Regionally accredited BA/BS or ALA-Accredited MLIS or 4 years experience in librarianship.
  • Certification Office Library of Michigan 

Minnesota

  • 60 contact hours.

Montana

  • Minimum 60 credits: 20 in Library Administration, 10 credits in each of the other CE categories.
  • Renewal: Minimum 60 credits: 20 in Library Administration, 10 credits in each of the other CE categories.

Nebraska

  • MLS + 45 CE credits or Basic Skills coursework + 20 additional CE hours.
  • Renewal: 45 credits in 3 years.

Nevada

  • 21 semester hours of credit from accredited college or university including 3 semester hours of instruction in each of the subjects: 
  • Administration of a Library
  • Bibliography and Reference
  • Cataloging and Classification of Materials
  • Technology in the Library
  • Literature for Children and Young Adults
  • Selection of Library Materials
  • A course in the History and Organization of Libraries

New Jersey

  • Accredited MLIS.
  • No expiration.
  •  New Jersey State Professional Librarian Certificate Office of the Registrar 

New Mexico

  • Graduate of ALA endorsed program, MLS.

New York

  • ALA Accredited MLIS, or 6 graduate credits from ALA Accredited MLIS and Conditional NY Public Librarian Certificate.
  • Renewal: 60 hours of professional development every 5 years.

North Carolina

  • Accredited MLIS.
  • No expiration. 

Ohio

  • ALA Accredited MLIS + 2 years post-masters library experience.
  • Renewal: 100 CE contact hours completed during 5 year period preceding renewal.

 

Oklahoma

  • Accredited MLS/MLIS.
  • Renewal: 4 Continuing Education Units (CEU) or 3 hours of approved college coursework or Completion of the eight advanced classes in the Institute in Public Librarianship.
  • Certification Specialist Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Pennsylvania

  • ALA Accredited MLIS.
  • Library directors are required to complete 8 hours of CE annually.
  • Staff who work at least 20 hours a week required to complete 6 hours of CE annually.

 

Rhode Island

  • MLS required.
  • Renewal: 1 CE event per year.

South Carolina

  • Accredited MLIS + 3 continuous years current or past professional full-time public library employment. 
  • Permanent as long as you are employed at a public library in the state, CE encouraged.
  •  Division of Statewide Library Services.

South Dakota

  • MLS required for higher levels. South Dakota Library Training Institute can be substituted at some levels.
  • Renewal: 20 hours of CE every 4 years.

Tennessee

  • MLS.
  • Library directors are required to attend 4 CE programs per year.
  • Library staff required to attend 1 CE program per year.

Utah

  • MLS or completion of UPLIFT Program.

Vermont

  • 150 credits completed within 5 years.
  • No expiration.

Virginia

  • MLS required for those serving a population over 13,000.

Washington

  • Accredited MLIS or Equivalent non-accredited.
  • Washington State Library, Librarian Certification Program.

West Virginia

  • Library directors are required to complete a minimum of 8 hours of CE per year.
  • Library staff are required to complete a minimum 3 hours of CE per year.

Wisconsin

  • BA/BS + Accredited MLIS.
  • Renewal: 100 contact hours of CE.

 

Librarians help patrons with a variety of tasks including problem-solving, literacy, jobs skills, and technologies. Beyond knowledge about many topics, exceptional research skills, and good customer service, many locations require that librarians complete a degree and become certified in order to work as a librarian in any public library. There are a wide range of institutions and educational programs available to look into. Here are some resources to visit to begin your search: