How to Become a Librarian in Missouri

Recently, the Missouri chapter ofMissouri Librarian Education the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with the Missouri Library Association and the Missouri Association of School Librarians filed a lawsuit against the Jackson County Prosecutor, arguing that a law banning sexually explicit material from schools and leading to the removal of hundreds of books from Missouri schools is unconstitutional. The suit notes that books including human anatomy texts, classic novels, and those on Holocaust history, have all been removed, and charges that this amounts to censorship and suppression of the First Amendment right of Missouri students. Librarians or other school employees who currently violate this law are subject to a misdemeanor, a year in jail or a $2000 fine. 

The above-referenced lawsuit provides a prime example of Missouri librarians standing up for what they believe in, which includes freedom of speech and protecting the rights of library users of all ages. Becoming a librarian in Missouri can be a challenging and rewarding occupation, which we will explore further in these pages. 

What Does a Missouri Librarian Do?

Librarians in Missouri all have varying duties depending on where they work and the type of librarian they are. If you work as a librarian in Missouri, you can be fairly confident that your job duties may include:

  • Providing assistance to library customers in person, via email, and on the telephone
  • Helping library patrons to locate items in the catalog or on shelf
  • Developing and maintaining collections
  • Creating and presenting library programs to the public
  • Creating library displays 
  • Making sure library patrons follow library policies and contribute to overall safety of the library environment
  • Managing circulation services
  • Assisting library patrons with database usage
  • Assisting library patrons in looking up information
  • Managing interlibrary loan borrowing requests from library patrons
  • Being up-to-date about current copyright law and policy
  • Updating library patron files in the integrated library system
  • Coordinating library patron requests for holds and missing material

Librarian Education in Missouri?

Missouri librarians need a Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree that is ALA (American Library Association) accredited. Currently, Missouri has one such program, at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The school’s Master of Library and Information Science degree offers specializations in the following:

  • Archival Studies
  • Electronic Learning Information Professional
  • School Library Media Certification
  • Youth Services

Additionally, joint degrees are available with the School of Law (Juris Doctor and MLIS) and the School of Public Affairs (Master of Public Affairs and MLIS). 

What Certification is Necessary for Missouri Librarians?

No certification is required for public librarians in Missouri. School librarians need at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. They must also pass the relevant Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment to obtain school library media specialist certification.

Where Do Librarians Work in Missouri?

The Missouri Library Association’s Jobline posts available librarian positions in the state. Jobs for Missouri librarians may also be found on the ALA’s JobList, as well as on online employment websites.   

Librarian Salary in Missouri?

Missouri librarians make an hourly mean wage of $27.40, and a yearly mean wage of $56,990, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2021. Those working as librarians in various parts of the state may make wages that are greater or lesser than these averages, as you will see in this table:

Area of Missouri Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Kansas City, MO/KS $30.17 $62,760
St. Louis, MO/IL $29.49 $61,340
Columbia $26.52 $55,160
Central nonmetro area $25.99 $54,060
Joplin $25.26 $52,530
Springfield $25.20 $52,420
St. Joseph, MO/KS $25.10 $52,220
Southwest nonmetro area $24.13 $50,190
Cape Girardeau, MO/IL $23.78 $49,450
Southeast nonmetro area $22.71 $47,240
North nonmetro area $22.22 $46,210
Jefferson City $21.89 $45,540

Job Prospects for Missouri Librarians 

Librarian positions for Missourians are advertised at the above-mentioned websites as they are available. For some examples of what librarian jobs are available as of February 2023 in the state, take a look at the following open Missouri librarian positions:

  • Reference Librarian, History & Genealogy – St. Louis County Library, Frontenac, MO
    • Pays $58,068 annually 
    • Possession of an ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS required
  • Elementary Librarian – Dixon R-1 School District, Dixon, MO
    • Pays $32,100 to $40,700 annually
    • Possession of a bachelor’s degree required
    • Possession of Missouri teaching certification required
  • Access Services Librarian – University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO
    • Pays $43,700 to $55,400 annually
    • Possession of an ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS required
    • Candidates who have experience in academic library setting are preferred
    • Candidates who have experience in access services are preferred
    • Candidates who have familiarity with interlibrary loan software are preferred
    • Candidates who have supervisory experience are preferred
    • Candidates who have a background in reference services, instruction or collection development are preferred
    • Candidates who have experience in providing culturally appropriate service to diverse clients are preferred
  • Law Librarian – Spencer Fane LLP, Kansas City, MO
    • Pays $56,800 to $71,900 annually 
    • Possession of a minimum of a bachelor’s degree required
    • Completion of two to four years working in a professional environment is required
    • Candidates with law firm work experience are preferred
  • Acquisition & Access Librarian – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
    • Pays $55,000 to $57,000 annually
    • Possession of an ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS required
    • Completion of at least one year of professional experience in a library environment is required
    • Candidates who have experience in creating Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel, creating LibGuides, and familiarity with SharePoint are preferred
    • Candidates who have experience in managing administration of library databases are preferred
    • Candidates who have familiarity with copyright and related issues are preferred