How to Become a Librarian in Nevada

Nevada Librarian Education

Nevada is home to 22 public library districts or systems statewide. These libraries vary in the sizes of the populations they serve, from a low of 969 (Esmeralda County Libraries) to a high of 1,676,343 (Las Vegas-Clark County Library District). Nevada’s libraries also differ in the number of librarians with a Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited program. Because of the way Nevada’s laws regarding public libraries are written (which we will delve into further later in this article), not every library needs to be staffed by a librarian holding an MLS. In fact, out of the 22 public library districts in Nevada, nine do not have a MLS librarian on staff as of 2019. 

Additionally, Nevada has 17 public school districts, four charter schools, and numerous private schools, all of which employ school librarians. Librarians in Nevada may also work in academic libraries, such as those at colleges or universities; law libraries, which may be housed inside a college or university, a courthouse, or a law office; medical or science libraries, which are usually housed in a college or university or medical center; among many other types of libraries. 

If you have ever contemplated becoming a librarian in Nevada, you have a multitude of choices of types and settings of libraries. What you choose to specialize in is up to you. Here, we will describe the process of becoming a librarian in the state of Nevada.  

What Does a Nevada Librarian Do?

Librarians in Nevada work in diverse settings, in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Just as library settings differ, librarian job descriptions are different from each other as well. There are some job responsibilities of a Nevada librarian that may be found among all librarians, regardless of type of library or setting:

  • Perform cataloging and organization of library resources, both physical and digital, using accepted standards
  • Performing database maintenance on library inventory
  • Assist with collection development, identifying needed resources and resources that may be weeded out
  • Answer reference questions from online and in-person library patrons 
  • Provide instruction and assistance to patrons in researching topics, including effecting searching methods and how to evaluate results
  • Help to create and execute library programs
  • Enforce library policies and procedures among staff and patrons

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in Nevada?

Most professional librarian positions in Nevada require you to possess a MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program. As of 2022, Nevada has no ALA-accredited programs. However, you may choose an ALA-accredited program housed within any state or online. School librarians must usually have a master’s degree (although some schools advertise positions available with a bachelor’s degree), along with a teaching license, and have completed a library media education program. According to Every Library Institute, many Nevada school districts do not currently employ certified school librarians. State Senate bill SB 143 has been proposed, which would require all schools in Nevada to have at least one certified school librarian on staff. 

What Certification is Necessary for Nevada Librarians?

Under the Nevada Public Library Certification laws, the population that a library serves determines whether or not that library must have a certified librarian on staff.

  • Libraries serving populations from 1000 to 14,999 must have a state-certified library director only
  • Libraries serving populations from 15,000 to 49,999 must have a certified library director, and any full-time librarians or staff who work in reference and/or children’s services must be certified
  • Libraries serving populations of 50,000 or more must have a library director with an MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited institution. Full-time staff at these libraries who work in reference and/or children’s services musts also be certified. Having an MLS credential will satisfy certification requirements for these positions.

Nevada law requires that librarians become certified by the state library and archives administration. The requirements for state certification are as follows:

  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree with two years of library experience, OR
  • You must hold an associate’s degree with four years of library experience, OR
  • You must hold a high school diploma/GED with 7 years of library experience, AND
  • You must have completed 21 credit hours in the following subjects:
    • Administration and organization of a library
    • Cataloging and classification of materials in a library
    • Reference, bibliography and service
    • Selection of library materials
    • Literature for children and young adults
    • The use and selection of educational media and audio-visual equipment
    • The use of computers in library and library science

In addition to completing the education and experience, prior to certification all public librarians must pass a criminal background check including fingerprinting. The Application for Certification of Public Librarians must be completed and mailed to the Nevada State Library, Archives & Public Records, 100 N. Stewart Street, Carson City, NV 89701.

Once a state librarian certificate is issued, it is valid for three years. In order to renew a certificate, a librarian must complete the following continuing education (CE):

  • Three credits of CE courses approved by the Nevada State Library 
  • Five units of CE as established by a CE division of the University of Nevada, Reno or University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Or any combination of the above two CE choices

Even if it is not required to hold a MLS or MLIS to be a state-certified librarian in your area, if you aim for more responsible positions, such as assistant director or director, in larger cities, getting a MLS or MLIS is still your best option.

To be certified as a School Library Media Specialist in Nevada, you must have a master’s degree and a teaching license. In order to earn the endorsement of School Library Media Specialist, you must have completed 9 additional semester hours in curriculum and instruction, educational technology, or information technology, and have three years of experience in Nevada schools (public or private) as a librarian or school library media specialist.

Where Do Librarians Work in Nevada?

Nevada librarian jobs are advertised in a variety of places:

What Do Librarians Earn in Nevada?

Librarians in Nevada earn an average of $35.24 per hour and $73,300 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021). Librarians employed in the Las Vegas/Henderson/Paradise area make higher wages of $36.39 hourly and $75,700 annually. Those employed in the Reno area earn an hourly wage of $34.28 and yearly wage of $71,290. Librarians in the nonmetropolitan area of Nevada earn $30.18 hourly and $62,770 yearly.

Job Prospects for Nevada Librarians 

All types of jobs are available for librarians in Nevada. Some openings in December 2022 include:

  • Family Services Librarian – City of North Las Vegas
    • Pay: $32.27 hourly
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school required
    • Three years of experience as a children’s librarian or working in youth services required
    • Valid driver’s license required
  • Assistant Library Director – Washoe County, Reno
    • Pay: $92,102 to $119,704 yearly
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school required
    • Five years of professional library experience, including managing a large branch in a multi-branch public library, required
  • Librarian K-12- Cox, Clyde Elementary School, Clark County School District, Las Vegas
    • Pay: $57,800 to $73,200 yearly 
    • Bachelor’s degree required
    • Nevada teaching license required
    • Endorsement in K-12 School Library Media Specialist required
  • Health Sciences Librarian – Touro University, Henderson
    • Pay: $70,000 to $75,000 yearly 
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school required
    • Three years of academic health sciences library experience required
  • Head, Special Collections Technical Services – University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries, Las Vegas
    • Pay: $66,015
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school required
    • Three to five years of experience in special collections required