How to Become a Librarian in Florida

Florida’s State Board ofFlorida Librarian Education Education approved a rule in early 2023 that requires K-12 school librarians to complete specialized training in the selection of library books, instructional resources, and materials. This is designed to keep materials that many deem harmful to minors out of the school libraries. Under the rule, all books and materials that are chosen for school libraries must be free of pornography and age- and grade-level appropriate. The rule is controversial, as the definition of “pornography” is open to interpretation.

K-12 school libraries, of course, do not make up the totality of libraries in Florida. The state has many other types of libraries. These include public libraries, which the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services operates. A list of all public library homepages in Florida may be found here. In addition, academic libraries may be found within Florida’s universities and colleges. Many are supported by the Florida Virtual Campus Library Services, which offers services to more than 150 libraries at 40 public universities and colleges in the state (listed here). The Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services also lists special libraries statewide here. These include law libraries, braille and talking books libraries, marine lab libraries, museums and archives, and court libraries.

Becoming a Florida librarian is a process of obtaining education and experience. Once obtained, many jobs at varied types of libraries should be available statewide. 

What Does a Florida Librarian Do?

Just as there are many different types of libraries in Florida, the librarians who work within each kind of library differ in their job descriptions and responsibilities. There are some similarities, however. Most Florida librarians are charged with the following responsibilities: 

  • The provision of customer service to library users
  • Helping library users find information and answering their inquiries in a respectful, courteous manner
  • Educating and training library users in library technology, the usage of the library, usage of library equipment, and usage of library resources
  • Presenting programs within the library and outside of the library in outreach to the community
  • Handling communication with staff and library users with patience, tact, and diplomacy
  • Using sound judgment, initiative and discretion in finding solutions to problems
  • Coordinating and executing a variety of services and programs
  • Ensuring prompt and efficient resolution of user inquiries 
  • Providing readers’ advisory services
  • Providing reference services
  • Following legal and policy requirements regarding library users’ privacy and records

Florida Librarian Education

Librarians in Florida need to have a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a Master of Library Science (MLS) (although these degrees may vary a bit in their titles, as you can see below). This degree must be bestowed by a program that is ALA- (American Library Association) accredited. Accredited programs may be found within two Florida schools: 

  • Florida State University, Tallahassee- Master of Science in Information and Master of Arts in Information 
  • University of South Florida, Tampa- Master of Arts in Library and Information Science

Librarian Certification in Florida

No certification is necessary for Florida’s public librarians. School librarians in Florida must have at least a bachelor’s degree in library science or educational media, and a teacher’s license with the necessary endorsement(s).

Where Do Librarians Work in Florida?

The ALA provides a JobLIST  advertising open librarian positions across Florida and the country. You may also find Florida librarian jobs at the Florida Library Jobs page, as well as the Florida Library Association’s Job Board and the Chronicle of Higher Education Librarians & Library Administration Jobs

Florida Librarian Salary

Florida librarians are paid an hourly mean wage of $28.24 and an annual mean wage of $58,740 (circa May 2021, Bureau of Labor Statistics).  Librarians working across Florida may make higher or lower wages than these averages, as is evident in the table below:

Area Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Naples/Immokalee/Marco Island $39.21 $81,550
Cape Coral/Fort Myers $30.84 $64,150
Crestview/Fort Walton Beach/Destin $30.13 $62,680
Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach $29.94 $62,260
Panama City $29.38 $61,100
Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater $29.04 $60,400
Gainesville $28.47 $59,220
Jacksonville $27.61 $57,430
North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton $27.21 $56,600
Tallahassee $26.85 $55,850
Pensacola/Ferry Pass/Brent $26.78 $55,710
Deltona/Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach $26.51 $55,150
Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford $26.41 $54,920
Sebastian/Vero Beach $26.39 $54,880
Lakeland/Winter Haven $26.24 $54,590
North Florida nonmetro $25.28 $52,570
Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville $25.26 $52,550
Port St. Lucie $25.21 $52,440
South Florida nonmetro $24.89 $51,780
Ocala $22.58 $46,970

Job Prospects for Florida Librarians 

Jobs for Florida librarians will be advertised at the above-mentioned websites, as well as at classified job sites, when available. A recent perusal of the job sites found the following examples of available Florida librarian positions:

  • Librarian III, Public Servies – City of Boca Raton, FL
    • Salary: $60,091 to $100,817 annually
    • MLS or MLIS required
    • Five years of public library experience required, four of which must be supervisory
    • Possession of Florida driver’s license required 
  • Teacher, School Librarian – Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, FL
    • Salary: $54,700 to $69,300 annually 
    • Bachelor’s degree required
    • Teaching license with certification in library school media required
  • Law Firm Librarian – Greenspoon Marder LLP, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Salary: $90,000 to $110,000 annually
    • MLS or MLIS preferred
    • Law firm experience required
    • Excellent research skills required
    • Proficiency in Westlaw, ThomsonOne, Bloomberg, Cheetah and PACER preferred
  • Florida Studies Curator and Campus Archivist – University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
    • Salary: $65,000 to $70,000 annually 
    • MLS or MLIS required
    • Two years of librarian or archivist/curatorial experience required
    • Contributions to the field through publication/presentation required
  • Science Librarian – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
    • Salary: $59,332 annually 
    • MLS or MLIS required
    • Eight years of relevant experience required
    • An undergraduate degree or additional advanced degree in science or engineering preferred
    • Experience working in academic library preferred
    • Experience designing and delivering science instruction preferred