How to Become a Librarian in Maine

Some libraries in Maine have aMaine Librarian Education rich history and architectural style. Many of them date back as far as the 1860s. Libraries were created in Maine at that time to make books available to everyone, not just to the rich who, previously, were the only people who could afford them. Public libraries, at the time, were seen as ways that anyone, regardless of their background, could become educated. 

The Maine State Library maintains a Public Library Directory of the more than 250 public libraries statewide. Maine is one of the few states that does not have state- or county-funded libraries. Some of its public libraries are part of a municipal department, while others are run privately or by nonprofit agencies. In addition to public libraries, Maine also houses school libraries within its K-12 institutions, academic libraries in its colleges and universities, medical libraries, law libraries, archives, and other special types of libraries.

The Maine State Library itself oversees libraries within the state. Under Maine law, the Maine State Library falls under the jurisdiction of the State Librarian, who makes rules and regulations pertaining to the safety of the library’s contents as well as the management of the library. The Maine State Library provides advice on establishment, administration and maintenance to all school, institutional, state, and public libraries located in Maine.

Becoming a Maine librarian involves completing undergraduate and graduate studies, and obtaining professional experience through an internship or working in accessible libraries. Maine librarians may find challenging, rewarding work statewide, no matter the type of library in which they wish to work.

What Does a Maine Librarian Do?

Maine libraries are different from each other in type and purpose, and accordingly, Maine librarians also differ, depending upon the library in which they work. In general, however, Maine librarians can expect their job description to contain duties such as:

  • Answering reference questions posed by library patrons
  • Contacting local community organizations to determine their library needs 
  • Promoting library services 
  • Teaching library patrons to effectively use library resources 
  • Giving explanatory talks and classes inside and outside of the library 
  • Assisting library patrons in using computers and technology
  • Supervising Inter-Library Loan operations 
  • Maintaining communication with professional colleagues 
  • Collecting statistics as assigned 
  • Participating in long-range planning for library goals
  • Involvement in collection development 
  • Keeping an up-to-date knowledge of information packaging and delivery systems 
  • Assisting in marketing library services to the community 
  • Assisting in the planning, development, and operation of programs for children, teens and adults 
  • Assisting in the development of the library’s web pages 

Maine Librarian Education

The standard education for Maine librarians is to possess a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from a college or university whose program is accredited by the ALA (American Library Association). Maine does not offer any such programs at this time, but neighboring states do, and online MLS or MLIS programs are also available.

It should be noted that not all professional librarian positions in Maine will call for an MLS or MLIS degree. Depending upon the size and scope of the library, as well as the seniority of the position, some librarian positions may be attainable with a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, school librarians in Maine need to have a bachelor’s degree and pass Praxis endorsement examinations.

Librarian Certification in Maine

As mentioned above, not all libraries in Maine require a graduate degree. Public libraries do not require certification either. School librarians must be certified to teach in Maine and must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They must also pass Praxis endorsement tests relevant to the School Library Media Specialist position.

Where Do Librarians Work in Maine?

Librarian jobs are posted in many spots when they become available. The ALA’s JobList features openings for librarians nationwide. The Maine State Library maintains a list of Maine Library Jobs featuring academic, public, school, and special librarian jobs statewide as well as in neighboring states. These jobs are also classified by whether they require an MLS to apply. 

Maine Librarian Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor reports that as of May 2021, Maine librarians earn an average of $26.71 hourly and $55,550 annually.  Municipalities in Maine in which librarians earn higher than the state average include:

  • Southwest Maine nonmetro area: $27.28/hour $56,750/year
  • Portland/South Portland: $27.16/hour $56,490/year
  • Bangor: $27.00/hour $56,150/year

Job Prospects for Maine Librarians 

Jobs for librarians in Maine are listed at the above-mentioned websites when they become available, as well as on classified job sites. As of March 2021, available positions include:

  • Processing Archivist – Bowdoin College, Brunswick
    • Pay: $55,000 to $65,000 per year
    • An MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program is necessary to apply
    • Formal professional archival training or apprenticeship is necessary to apply
    • Candidates with knowledge of efficient archival processes, standards, and procedures, and archival appraisal, will be preferred
  • Research and Teaching Librarian – University of New England, Biddeford
    • Pay: $49,200 to $62,300 per year
    • An MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program is necessary to apply 
    • Relevant experience in research and teaching is necessary to apply
  • Law Library Director – University of Maine, Portland
    • Pay: $66,900 to $84,700 per year
    • An MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program, or a J.D., is necessary to apply 
    • Administrative experience gained within an academic law library is necessary to apply
    • Experience with faculty and student services is necessary to apply
    • Candidates who have a record of successful student mentoring and teaching are preferred