How to Become a Librarian in Louisiana

The President of the LouisianaLouisiana Librarian Education Association of School Librarians, who is also a middle school librarian, is fighting back against those who wish to censor library books in the state. Amanda Jones made national news in August 2022 when she spoke out against censorship. According to an analysis by the Louisiana Illuminator, the majority of challenged library books in Louisiana have been those with LGBTQ themes targeted at children and young adults. The most challenges have occurred in St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb, where over 150 books have been challenged. 

Becoming a librarian in Louisiana is about more than just checking books in and out of the library. The Louisiana Library Association has made clear its statement on censorship, stating, “It is the position of the Louisiana Library Association that all materials should be shelved in libraries according to their intended audience….materials that are sexually explicit are not, by definition, pornographic nor are they harmful.” In its position, the Association goes on to add, “The Louisiana Library Association supports the right of parents to make choices about their own family’s reading while affirming the right of the entire community to access the reading of their own choosing as well.”

If you would like to learn how to become a Louisiana librarian, read on.

What Does a Louisiana Librarian Do?

Librarians in Louisiana may work in school, public, and special libraries of varying kinds. Their job duties will diverge depending upon where they work. The basic duties of any Louisiana librarian will include:

  • Serving a diverse community of library users
  • Assisting library users in finding relevant information to their inquiries, both physically in the library and electronically via databases and the Internet
  • Maintaining current knowledge of library policies and procedures and making sure library users understand and follow them
  • Assisting with ongoing collection development, selecting, or recommending titles of resources to add or delete
  • Reviewing new technologies relevant to the library
  • Selecting new and relevant resources
  • Contributing strategic plan ideas for the library’s operation and administration
  • Working with community members to provide programs and services
  • Assisting in planning and executing library programs for all ages
  • Proctoring tests for students as needed
  • Supervising and/or participating in special projects such as collections inventory and renovations

Librarian Education in Louisiana

Louisiana librarians should hold a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited program.  Louisiana has one of these programs, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. This MLIS program is offered completely online in an asynchronous format. Optional focus areas that are available to students include:

  • Youth services librarianship
  • School librarianship
  • Records and information management
  • Public librarianship
  • Knowledge management
  • Digital content management
  • Cultural heritage resource management
  • Archival studies
  • Adult services in public libraries
  • Academic librarianship

Louisiana Librarians Certification

Certification is not required for public librarians in Louisiana. If you work as a library director, the rule is that you must have an MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program and three years of executive experience. Louisiana school librarians need a master’s degree and a teacher’s certificate. School librarians, in addition, must pass endorsement examinations for library media and principles of learning and teaching to be certified in School Library Science. 

Where Do Librarians Work in Louisiana?

The ALA maintains a JobList that advertises open librarian positions across the country. The State Library of Louisiana also posts a list of Library Jobs that are available in the state. 

What Do Librarians Earn in Louisiana?

Librarians in Louisiana earn an hourly mean wage of $27.14 and an annual mean wage of $56,460, as of May 2021, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Librarians working in various metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas of Louisiana make the following wages:

Area Hourly Annual
Shreveport/Bossier City $28.66 $59,600
Baton Rouge $28.06 $58,350
Houma/Thibodaux $27.84 $57,900
New Orleans/Metairie $27.44 $57,080
Lake Charles $26.72 $55,570
Monroe $26.67 $55,470
Alexandria $26.18 $54,450
Lafayette $25.84 $53,740
Central nonmetro area $24.35 $50,660
Southwest nonmetro area $23.98 $49,880
Northeast nonmetro area $22.83 $47,480

Louisiana Librarians Job Prospects  

There is typically a wide variety of jobs available for Louisiana librarians, posted at the sites mentioned above. Some examples of open positions in the state as of March 2023 include:

  • Elementary Librarian – Caddo Parish Public Schools, Caddo Parish
    • Salary: $42,000 to $53,200/year
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree
    • Must have a teaching certificate with certification in School Library Science
    • Prefer candidates with three years of teaching experience
    • Prefer candidates who have an MLS or MLIS degree 
  • Librarian Branch Manager – Tangipahoa Parish Library, Ponchatoula
    • Salary: $43,200 to $54,800/year
    • Must have an MLS or MLIS degree
    • Must have administrative and managerial experience
    • Prefer candidates who have two years of management experience, preferably in a public library setting 
  • Special Collections, Head of Public and Research Services- Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
    • Salary: $57,300 to $72,500/year
    • Must have an MLS or MLIS degree
    • Must have three years of experience working in special collections or an academic library
    • Must have subject knowledge in one of the special collections areas
  • FranU Technical Services Librarian – Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Baton Rouge
    • Salary: $39,400 to $49,900/year
    • Must have an MLS or MLIS degree
    • Must have cataloging experience
    • Must have experience working with integrated library systems
    • Must have knowledge of OCLC
    • Must be familiar with LC and NLM classification systems
  • Processing Archivist for Library Archives and Special Collections – Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans
    • Salary: $46,500 to $58,900/year
    • Must have an MLS or MLIS degree with a concentration in archival studies or management or work experience in this area
    • Must have two years of experience in arranging and describing archival collections
    • Must have experience in creating EAD finding aids