How to Become a Librarian in Michigan

Michigan Librarian Education

According to the Library of Michigan, as of 2021, there are 386 central libraries, 255 branch libraries, and 11 bookmobiles across the state. Within all of these library locations in Michigan, there are 1594 librarians who have a Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited program. 

Michigan’s public libraries are divided into six classes, with Class 1 libraries serving populations of 3999 or less, all the way up to Class 6 libraries, which serve populations of 50,000 or more. Michigan’s certification requirements for library staff are based upon the size of the library, as we will discuss later in this article. The only way in which Michigan’s public libraries can qualify for state aid is to have certified staff, no matter what class size the library is.

School librarians in Michigan must also be certified, as we will explain in this article.  Librarians who work in other types of libraries, such as archives, college or university libraries, corporate libraries, law libraries, and more, may have varying requirements to fulfill, as each library may set its own mandates for librarians.

There are many ways to work as a librarian in Michigan. To find the route to becoming a Michigan librarian that works best for your particular interests, read on.

What Does a Michigan Librarian Do?

Duties of a Michigan librarian change from one setting to another, largely depending upon the type of library and patrons who frequent the library. There are some job responsibilities that are found in most Michigan librarian job descriptions, however, including: 

  • Contributing to the library’s overall effectiveness of providing direct service to patrons
  • Planning, promoting and implementing library programming for various ages and groups
  • Developing collections, evaluating and weeding them, including all types of resources, both print and electronic, audio and visual
  • Instructing library patrons on how to use computers and the internet
  • Preparing displays and exhibits for the library
  • Attending monthly staff meetings
  • Actively promoting the library within the larger community
  • Giving presentations to school and community groups
  • Preparing flyers and brochures for library initiatives and programs
  • Submitting relevant information for the library’s website
  • Ordering supplies for library programs and services as needed
  • Compiling and creating circulation reports
  • Assisting with covering the circulation desk and circulation procedures
  • Assisting library patrons with library equipment, software and techcnology
  • Performing public relations duties 

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in Michigan?

Most librarians in Michigan must have a MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited school. Some pubic libraries, however, do not require librarians to have graduate degrees, based upon the size of the library. Because the vast majority of librarian jobs require a master’s degree, it is recommended to get one from an ALA-accredited program, such as the Master of Science in Information at the University of Michigan, or the Master of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University. 

The MSI program at the University of Michigan offers concentrations in:

  • Data science, data analytics and computational social science
  • Digital archives, library science and preservation
  • User experience research and design, human computer interaction and social computing

The MLIS program at Wayne State University can be completed online and offers specializations in:

  • Library services
  • Information management
  • Archives and digital content management

Michigan school librarians need to possess a master’s degree, complete the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in the area of Library Media, and show competency in areas pertaining to school librarianship.

What Certification is Necessary for Michigan Librarians?

Public librarians in Michigan must be certified at one of four levels, depending upon the class of public library in which they want to work:

  • Level 1 certification requires a MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited school, and four years of library work experience
  • Level 2 certification requires a MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited school
  • Level 3 certification requires a bachelor’s degree and completion of the Beginning Workshop offered by the Library of Michigan
  • Level 4 certification requires a high school diploma or GED, completion of the Beginning Workshop offered by the Library of Michigan, and one year of full-time library work experience 

School librarians in Michigan must have a master’s degree (preferably a MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited school), complete the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in the area of Library Media, and show competency in these areas:

  • Educational/instructional technology
  • Literature for children and young adults
  • School library media center administration and management
  • Collection development
  • Practicum

Other professional librarians in Michigan need not be certified unless the jobs they seek require some type of certification. 

Where Do Librarians Work in Michigan?

Open librarian jobs in Michigan are listed on the Michigan Library Association’s website, within diverse online classified ad websites, and at the JobLIST of the American Library Association (ALA).  

What Do Librarians Earn in Michigan?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that Michigan librarians and media collections specialists earn a mean wage of $26.75 per hour, and a mean wage of $55,640 per year. Cities and metropolitan areas across the state pay wages higher, or lower, than these average wages, as is evident in this table:

Area of Michigan Hourly mean wage Yearly mean wage
Ann Arbor $36.53 $75,990
Lansing/East Lansing $31.22 $64,930
Monroe $27.99 $58,220
Battle Creek $27.64 $57,490
Grand Rapids/Wyoming $27.23 $56,640
Detroit/Warren/Dearborn $27.21 $56,600
Flint $26.16 $54,400
Muskegon $25.80 $53,670
Kalamazoo/Portage $25.79 $53,630
Jackson $25.21 $52,430
Saginaw $23.32 $48,510
Niles/Benton Harbor $22.82 $47,470
Balance of Lower Peninsula nonmetro $20.92 $43,510
NW Lower Peninsula nonmetro $18.45 $38,380
NE Lower Peninsula nonmetro $17.57 $36,540

Job Prospects for Michigan Librarians 

Jobs for Michigan librarians are diverse in types and settings. A few professional librarian positions advertised as available in Michigan circa December 2022 are:

  • Librarian Manager – State of Michigan, Newberry
    • Wages: $200,000/year
    • MLIS or MLS required
    • Three years of professional librarian experience required
    • One year of librarianship equivalent to a P11 required
  • Librarian I/II – Wayne State University, Detroit
    • Wages: $59,600 -$75,400/year
    • MLIS or MLS required
    • 2.5 years of experience working in an academic, public, special, or research library required
    • Direct experience working with diverse user groups required
  • Librarian – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga
    • Wages: $21.33/hour
    • A bachelor’s degree is required, or an associate degree combined with two years’ related experience 
    • One year of supervisory library experience required
  • Processing Archivist – Wayne State University, Detroit
    • Wages: $52,000/year
    • MLIS or MLS required
    • Experience arranging and describing archival collections required
    • Understanding of archival standards required
    • Experience using archival collection management software or digital preservation systems software required
  • School Librarian/Media Technology Specialist, 6-8 – West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland
    • Wages: $50,500 – $64,000/year
    • MLIS or MLS or Master’s in Educational Technology required
    • Possession of valid teaching certificate required
    • Prior teaching experience preferred