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How Do I Become a Library Director?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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To become a library director, you will typically need to earn a degree in library science, have at least ten years of experience working as a librarian, and be able to demonstrate strong management and leadership skills. Specific requirements to become a library director will often depend on the type and size of library that you aspire to lead. For example, if you wish to become the director of a major academic library, you will usually need a long history of employment in academic libraries in addition to your educational credentials. Library director jobs are typically advertised in trade publications, library job boards, as well as on the websites of the libraries themselves. Professional conferences for librarians are also good venues for networking and finding out about new jobs and library director vacancies.

The basic educational qualifications to become a professional librarian vary by country. In the United States, librarians are typically expected to hold a master's degree in library science. In the United Kingdom, librarians may hold either a bachelor's or master's degree in library science. Australian librarians have even more options, including earning a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or postgraduate diploma in library science. Academic librarians may be required to hold an additional postgraduate degree in a subject other than librarianship, and librarians at primary and secondary schools may need to hold a teaching certificate.

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At minimum, you will need to hold the standard educational credentials for librarians in your jurisdiction if you plan to become a library director, though many library boards or academic institutions may want you to hold an additional degree or degrees before promoting you to higher levels of management. For example, some large libraries may want you hold a doctoral degree in library science or an additional degree in business administration or nonprofit management. If you don't want to earn another degree, you should regularly complete continuing education courses to develop your information science skills as well as your leadership, administration, and management abilities. These courses are often available through online programs, schools of library science, and at industry conventions and conferences.

As you progress in your library career, seek positions with greater responsibility that eventually allow you to supervise other employees. You should also participate in committee work and other leadership activities both within your library and professional organizations. Be aware of the career opportunities in your field and continue to seek out more challenging positions, which can help you succeed in your quest to become a library director. It can also be helpful if you can relocate, particularly if you live in an area with few libraries. Finally, work to maintain and grow your professional network so as to increase your chances of being approached about library directorship positions.

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