How to Become a Librarian in Arkansas

Arkansas is home to 34 publicArkansas Librarian Education library systems statewide, a list of which may be found at the Arkansas Library Association website. In addition to public libraries, Arkansas houses school libraries, found within K-12 public schools; academic libraries, located in colleges and universities across the state; and special libraries. Some examples of special libraries in Arkansas include, but are not limited to:

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library
  • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library
  • National Center for Agriculture Law Library 
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Library 
  • Arkansas Supreme Court Library
  • Arkansas State Library 
  • Arkansas Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital Medical Library

The Arkansas Digital Library Consortium was designed to facilitate the access of and usage of digital content in Arkansas public libraries. Patron of member libraries may access digital e-books and audio books online through this system. Arkansas also houses Mockingbird Resource Sharing, the statewide virtual union catalog, allowing libraries in Arkansas to share their catalogs with other participating libraries and patrons.

Being an Arkansas librarian in the 21st century is different than being an Arkansas librarian 50, or even 30, years ago. With technology comes more challenges to Arkansas librarians, as well as a greater array of knowledge and information available to all. Working as an Arkansas librarian may have its share of difficulties in the 21st century, but most librarians in the Natural State will tell you that it also offers its fair share of rewards.

What Does an Arkansas Librarian Do?

Librarians in Arkansas have varying jobs based on the kind of library in which they work as well as the size of the community or entity in which it is located. While it is impossible to find one job description to fit all Arkansas librarians, these duties are typically found among most of them:

  • Resolving library patron disputes and providing professional, courteous services to library patrons at all times
  • Responding to and referring library patron inquiries as appropriate, in person, by phone, by email and by chat (online)
  • Helping to develop and deliver library services and programs
  • Collection building, including adding and weeding out library materials as necessary
  • Instructing and assisting library patrons in the usage of library technology

Arkansas Librarian Education

Librarians in Arkansas should earn a  Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from a school offering such programs that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).  Currently, none of these programs exist in Arkansas. You may pursue an ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS program in any state or online, however.

Librarian Certification in Arkansas

Public librarians in Arkansas are not required to hold any type of certification. School librarians (K-12) need a teaching license and a graduate degree in school library media. They must have two years of teaching experience and pass an endorsement exam before being eligible to work in the state.

Where Do Librarians Work in Arkansas?

Jobs in Arkansas libraries may be found in a variety of places, including but not limited to, the ALA’s  JobLIST, the Arkansas Library Association’s Library Jobs page, University of Arkansas’ Libraries Jobs Page, and the Central Arkansas Library System’s Job Opportunities page. Additionally, library jobs may be found within online classified ad job sites.

Arkansas Librarian Salaries

Librarians in Arkansas make an hourly mean wage of $25.35 and an annual mean wage of $52,730, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (May 2021). Those working in different parts of the state may make salaries that are higher, or lower, than these averages. This is evident in the table below:

Area Hourly Annual
Fayetteville- Springdale – Rogers AR- MO $29.38 $61,100
Hot Springs $27.06 $56,290
Little Rock – North Little Rock- Conway $25.90 $53,870
Fort Smith AR -OK $25.84 $53,750
Jonesboro $25.26 $52,550
West nonmetro area $24.77 $51,520
Pine Bluff $24.37 $50,690
East nonmetro area $23.29 $48,440
South nonmetro area $22.34 $46,460
North nonmetro area $21.83 $45,400

Job Prospects for Arkansas Librarians 

Librarian jobs in Arkansas are located in public, school, academic and special libraries. In March 2023, jobs such as the following were listed as available in Arkansas:

  • Teacher Librarian Summer School Support – Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock, AR
    • Wages: $31.25 hourly 
    • Must be a licensed Arkansas teacher certified in Library Media
  • GIS and Social Sciences Librarian – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
    • Wages: $55,000 annually 
    • Must have an MLS or an MLIS from an ALA-accredited school
    • Must have a background in GIS, geography, or social sciences
    • Must have experience in geospatial software
    • Candidates with experience in public service in an academic, research or special library are preferred
  • Head of Special Collections/University Archivist – University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
    • Wages: $52,900 to $67,000 annually 
    • Must have an MLS or an MLIS from an ALA-accredited school
    • Must have archival experience or have completed coursework in archival management
    • Must have supervisory experience 
    • Must be familiar with technologies and systems developed by the archival community for the management of and access to archives
    • Candidates with a second graduate degree in history are preferred
    • Candidates with a record of relevant publication and scholarship are preferred
    • Candidates with knowledge of Arkansas history are preferred
  • Library Director – Crawford County Library System, Van Buren, AR
    • Wages: not specified
    • Must have an MLS or an MLIS from an ALA-accredited school
    • Must have five years of library administration experience, including three years in supervisory capacity
    • Candidates with experience in a multi-library system are preferred
  • Elementary Librarian/Media Specialist – Centerpoint School District, Amity, AR
    • Wages: $40,100 to $50,700 annually 
    • Must have an Arkansas teaching license with certification as a library media specialist