How to Become a Librarian in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Public LibraryHawaii Librarian Education System, the only statewide public library system in the United States, operates 51 public library branches across six islands. The State Librarian, who is the chief executive of the Hawaii State Public Library System, is formally evaluated each year, with the results posted online for the public to read.  In actuality, the System falls under the larger umbrella of the State of Hawaii Board of Education. In its vision statement, the System identifies itself as the “educational, informational, and cultural heart of Hawaii’s communities.” The System sponsors 10,000 events each year.

While they play a large part in Hawaii’s communities, public libraries are not the only types of libraries found in Hawaii. Academic libraries are found in Hawaii’s colleges and universities, including the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, Brigham Young University Joseph F. Smith Library, Chaminade University Sullivan Family Library, Hawaii Pacific University Libraries, and Honolulu Academy of Arts Robert Allerton Library. There are also school library media programs and services throughout Hawaii’s K-12 public schools. 

Special libraries may also be found in Hawaii, including the Hawaii State Law Library System, the State Archives, the Mission Houses Museum Library, the Legislative Reference Bureau Library, and the Municipal Reference Center. 

Whatever your professional interests in becoming a librarian, there is a niche in Hawaii for you. If you obtain the necessary education, training and experience, you can work as a librarian in the Aloha State. 

What Does a Hawaii Librarian Do?

Librarians in Hawaii have varying job duties depending upon the type of library in which they work, as well as their level within the library’s hierarchy (as some senior librarians may manage other librarians, library staff, and volunteers). Generally, librarians in Hawaii can expect to perform the following duties:

  • Selection of materials for the library
  • Acquisition of materials for the library 
  • Cataloging and classification of materials for the library 
  • Collection development and maintenance
  • Circulation services, including but not limited to interlibrary loan, reserves, stack maintenance, and other activities
  • Providing library patrons with information and customer service, both in person and via telephone, email and online
  • Providing library patrons with readers’ advisory and reference services
  • Developing and promoting the services of the library
  • Developing and presenting programming for the library
  • Budgeting for library expenditures, including acquisition of materials and operational expenditures
  • Assisting with resource generation through fundraising activities
  • Teaching some library classes and leading programs as required

Librarian Education in Hawaii

Before you can work as a librarian in Hawaii, you must obtain graduate education from a program that has received American Library Association (ALA) accreditation.  You may choose from required degrees including the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or the Master of Library Science (MLS). Hawaii currently offers one accredited program, the Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This is an in-person program that currently offers limited distance education services to students living on the Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii Librarian Certification

Hawaii’s public librarians are not required to be certified. School librarians, however, need a master’s degree, a teaching license, and must pass endorsement tests to qualify as Library Media Specialists.

Where Do Librarians Work in Hawaii?

TheALA’s JobLIST  is one place where you can find positions for Hawaii librarians as they become available. Other sites that advertise jobs for librarians in Hawaii include the State of Hawaii’s Civil Service Job Opportunities listing, and the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Job Opportunities page.

Librarian Salary in Hawaii

Librarians in Hawaii make an hourly mean wage of $34.61 and an annual mean wage of $71,990 as of May 2021, per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those working in the Hawaii/Kauai nonmetropolitan area earn an annual mean wage of $73,580 (hourly mean wage of $35.38), and those who work in the urban Honolulu area earn $72,210 annually and $34.72 hourly.

Job Prospects for Hawaii Librarians 

There are diverse job opportunities for Hawaii’s librarians across the islands that make up the state. Some recent examples of jobs for Hawaii librarians that were advertised include:

  • Librarian IV – State of Hawaii, Waikiki-Kapahulu Public Library, Oahu Island
    • Pay: $4692 to $5712 per month
    • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in library science
    • You must have at least two and a half years of professional librarian experience, with at least one year of experience at or comparable to the Librarian III level
  • University Librarian and Director, Learning Services – University of Hawaii, Hilo
    • Pay: $45,100 to $57,100 per year
    • You must have an MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program
    • You must have fie years of experience in administration and management of an academic library
    • Candidates with a second advanced degree in a closely related subject area are preferred
    • Candidates with teaching experience at a higher education institution are preferred
  • Lower School Librarian – Iolani School, Honolulu
    • Pay: $50,100 to $63,400 per year
    • You must have a MLIS or MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program
    • You must have experience working with children in a library setting
    • You must have teaching experience
    • You must have a teaching license and Library Media Specialist endorsement
  • Librarian III – Corrections- State of Hawaii, Oahu
    • Pay: $4252 to $5178 per month
    • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in library science
    • You must have one and a half years of professional librarian experience
    • An MLS or MLIS degree may be used to substitute for the education and experience requirements above
  • Curator/Archivist –Colorado State University, Schofield Barracks, HI
    • Pay: $60,000 to $77,000 per year
    • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in library information science, museum studies, collections management or a related field
    • You must have at least three years of professional experience in museum or archives collections
    • Candidates with an MLS or MLIS or other advanced degree are preferred
    • Candidates with more than three years of experience are preferred