How to Become a Librarian in Alabama

A ghost story centering around an Alabama library went viral on TikTok in 2022. The Homewood Library, a public library in Birmingham, has become famous through the app, as a video creator, Joshua Dairen, posted a video featuring an urban legend that postulates that ghosts roam the aisles of the library. 

The urban legend does have some truth to it, according to the Homewood Library Director, Judith Wright. For years, ghosts in the library have been researched, and accounts of lights flickering, items flying off shelves, and sounds of ladies laughing have been investigated. In 2017, paranormal investigators investigated the library and found some substantiating evidence. 

Whether the ghost stories are true or not, the library has become popular with more than its usual patrons due to this phenomenon. Homewood has even started ghost tours, open to the public, to raise funds for the library.

Most libraries in Alabama are likely not haunted by spirits. They can still be very interesting places in which to work each day, however.

What Does an Alabama Librarian Do?

Alabama librarians may work in public, school, academic or special libraries throughout the state. Librarians in Alabama provide various services, depending upon where they work. In general, an Alabama librarian will have the following duties:

  • To answer reference questions from library users
  • To check library materials in and out
  • To shelve library materials
  • To catalog library materials
  • To provide information literacy instruction to library users
  • To manage the library’s collection and resources.
  • To collaborate with other library staff 
  • To promote the library and its services to the community

Librarian Education in Alabama

The ideal candidate for an Alabama librarian position will have a master’s degree in information and library science from a program that is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). This degree will likely be a

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a Master of Library Science (MLS).  There is currently one program accredited in Alabama – the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. This program is offered both in-person and online. Suggested areas of emphasis include academic librarianship, digital stewardship, information literacy, public librarianship, special librarianship, social justice, and youth services. 

Alabama Librarian Certification

Certification is unnecessary for Alabama’s public librarians. School librarians, however, need a master’s degree and a teacher’s license with a Library Media Specialist endorsement.

Where Do Librarians Work in Alabama?

The ALA’s  JobLIST will advertise open librarian positions across Alabama as they are available. Alabama librarian positions are also listed on the Alabama Library Association’s Career Center, at the University of Alabama Libraries Employment Opportunities page, at the INALJ Alabama page, and on other job sites on the internet.

Alabama Librarian Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that as of May 2021, librarians in Alabama earn an hourly mean wage of $26.54 and an annual mean wage of $55,200. Librarians working in various parts of the state earn the corresponding average wages listed below:

Area Hourly Annual
Decatur $29.12 $60,570
Tuscaloosa $28.52 $59,320
Mobile $28.28 $58,810
Montgomery $27.39 $56,960
Auburn – Opelika $27.32 $56,820
Birmingham – Hoover $27.21 $56,590
Huntsville $27.12 $56,410
Daphne – Fairhope- Foley $26.22 $54,540
Anniston – Oxford – Jacksonville $26.17 $54,430
Southeast nonmetro area $25.91 $53,900
Gadsden $25.65 $53,350
Dothan $25.27 $52,560
Northeast nonmetro area $24.67 $51,300
Southwest nonmetro area $24.58 $51,120
Florence – Muscle Shoals $23.96 $49,830
Northwest nonmetro area $23.62 $49,130

Job Prospects for Alabama Librarians 

Jobs for Alabama librarians will be posted at the above-referenced sites as they become available. Some examples of jobs open as of March 2023 include:

  • Instruction and User Experience Librarian/Assistant Professor – University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL
    • Salary: $80 an hour
    • MLS or MLIS from a program accredited by the ALA required
  • Librarian – State of Alabama Personnel Department, Montgomery, AL
    • Salary: $35,093 to $60,175 a year
    • MLS or MLIS from a program accredited by the ALA required
    • Must pass a state civil service examination
  • Librarian I – Mobile County Personnel Board, Mobile, AL
    • Salary: $43,644 to $69,772 a year
    • MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited program required
    • Must pass a state civil service examination
  • Research and Instructional Services Librarian, Music, Fine Arts and Performing Arts – University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
    • Salary: $52,000 to $65,000 a year
    • MLS or MLIS from a program accredited by the ALA required
    • Undergraduate degree in fine arts, music or performing arts required
    • Ability to provide instruction, reference and collection management to the School of Music, Department of Art and Art History, and the Department of Theatre and Dance required 
  • Curator/Archivist – Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
    • Salary: $41,100 to $52,100 a year
    • MLS or MLIS from a program accredited by the ALA required 
    • Prefer candidates with a second master’s degree in African American or Southern Studies
    • Three years of museum/archives experience required
    • Familiarity with archives and digital asset management systems required 
    • Prefer candidates with academic experience 
    • Prefer candidates with grant writing experience
    • Prefer candidates with budget management experience
  • Assistant Law Librarian, Metadata and Digital Archives Librarian – The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
    • Salary: $36,088 to $52,686 a year
    • MLS or MLIS from a program accredited by the ALA required 
    • One year of experience in a public service library or archive required
    • Prefer candidates with experience or education in metadata and cataloging standards, formats, schema, and related tools and utilities
    • Prefer candidates with experience in digitization and digital archival standards, technologies and structures
    • Prefer candidates with experience in working with institutional repositories and related technologies
    • Must pass a background investigation, including criminal history check