How to Become a Librarian in New Mexico

New Mexico Librarian Education

In 2022, the New Mexico State Library received a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant for $1.4 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Along with other recipients including the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, and 1st Mile Initiative, the New Mexico State Library will use this money to offer training courses in public and tribal libraries across New Mexico, targeting those who are inexperienced in technology and the internet. They will also work together to try to bring broadband access to all New Mexico residents. Trainings will be in the following subjects:

  • Computer literacy
  • Introduction to the internet
  • How to be a successful online learner
  • Tech support for small organizations
  • E-commerce essentials
  • Entrepreneurial online marketing
  • Internet-based small business management tools

The grant, which covers three years, will allow the library to create 15 public library training sites during this period. The grant includes a component that allows all public libraries to participate in the activities at the 15 training sites. 

Library officials and government officials consider this to be an exciting time for public libraries and education in New Mexico. Ther are more than 100 libraries, both public and tribal, throughout the state, as well as bookmobiles that go into rural and tribal communities. 

If you want to join in the worthy endeavor of bringing information and education to New Mexico’s communities, consider becoming a New Mexico librarian. We will discuss the process in depth here. 

What Does a New Mexico Librarian Do?

There are many different types of libraries across New Mexico, such as public, school, law, medical, academic, and more. There are also many types of librarian jobs to go along with these diverse libraries. Some job duties that are common to almost all types of New Mexico librarians are:

  • Providing reference service to library patrons in person, by phone, and through email. 
  • Developing reading, reference, and research materials through the selection and purchase of books, materials, and equipment. 
  • Promoting interest in the library as a community resource by visiting and speaking to civic, school, social, and cultural organizations. 
  • Planning and organizing special programs involving the use of library resources. 
  • Interacting with community resources to enhance the library’s collections and patron information opportunities. 
  • Participating in the updating of automated library systems and related technology. 
  • Participating in and sometimes providing training to volunteer staff.
  • Participating in staff conferences regarding library policies, techniques and procedures.
  • Making, reviewing and approving (based upon a librarian’s seniority and status) recommendations by library staff to programs or policies.

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in New Mexico?

Professional librarians in New Mexico should have a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree or a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from a school accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). There are currently no programs that are ALA accredited housed within the state of New Mexico at this time. The good news is, you may choose from any ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS program in any state or online.

If you would like to become a public school librarian in New Mexico, you must first qualify for a teaching license. Most people get a bachelor’s degree and complete a New Mexico teacher preparation program.  Often, prospective school librarians will go on to get a MLS or MLIS. Then, you must become certified as a library media specialist, which is discussed further in the next section.

What Certification is Necessary for New Mexico Librarians?

The 4.5.2 New Mexico Administrative Code states that library directors (also referred to in the law as chief librarians) in communities of populations ranging from 3000 to 15,000+ must be state certified. Library directors in communities under 3000 population do not need to be state certified. Certification levels are noted below:

  • Permanent professional librarian’s certificate – The chief librarian must have this certificate if working in a library that is supported by public funds and serving a population over 15,000
  • Grade I librarian’s certificate – The chief librarian must have this certificate if working in a library supported by public funds and serving a population of at least 3000 but less than 10,000
  • Grade II librarian’s certificate – The chief librarian must have this certificate if working in a library supported by public funds and serving a population between 10,001 and 15,000

The only way to achieve a permanent professional librarian’s certificate is to have an MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited school. If you seek Grade I or II librarian certification, you may either complete library science courses or pass an examination given at the New Mexico State Library in Santa Fe. You must also submit a portfolio, and will be told what type of information to include within the portfolio at the time of application. Visit the New Mexico State Library website for more information and a certification application.

Certification of this type is not required for public school libraries or county law libraries. School library endorsement is given by the New Mexico Public Education Department. You must meet educational standards for an initial teaching license and pass the Praxis Library Media Specialist exam to add the Library Media Specialist endorsement. This requires completion of 24 to 36 hours of library media coursework.

Where Do Librarians Work in New Mexico?

The New Mexico State Library posts available jobs at its website. The ALA Job Board also posts New Mexico librarian positions of all types as there are openings.

What Do Librarians Earn in New Mexico?

The average hourly wage for New Mexico librarians is $25.27, and the average yearly wage $52,570, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (May 2021 statistics). Librarians working in diverse parts of the state make differing wages, as you can see here:

AreaHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Las Cruces$29.25$60,830
Santa Fe$26.81$55,770
Northern nonmetro area$24.09$50,110
Eastern nonmetro area$21.94$45,630

Job Prospects for New Mexico Librarians 

Some examples of jobs for professional New Mexico librarians that were advertised as open in December 2022 are:

  • Adult Services Librarian- Farmington Public Library, Farmington
    • Salary: $42,000-$48,000 annually
    • Must have MLIS or MLS or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Web Services Librarian – Dona Ana Community College, Las Cruces
    • Salary: $42,269-$52,836 annually 
    • Must have MLIS, MLS or master’s degree in related field
    • Must have three years’ professional experience 
  • High School Librarian – Rio Rancho Public Schools, Rio Rancho
    • Salary: $50,700-$64,200 annually 
    • Must have completed a teacher preparation program/educational degree and hold a New Mexico secondary teaching license
    • Must hold an MLIS or MLS from an ALA-accredited program
    • Must have three years’ teaching experience 
  • Librarian – Pueblo of Jemez, Jemez Pueblo
    • Salary: $43,000-$54,500 annually 
    • Must have at least an associate degree; bachelor’s degree in library science preferred
    • Must have four years’ library experience, two of which were in a managerial or supervisory role
  • Weapons Research Librarian – Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos
    • Salary: $72,800-$115,500 annually 
    • Must hold an MLIS or MLS from an ALA-accredited program
    • Must have five years’ experience 
    • Must be able to obtain a DDE Q clearance, Sigma 15 and 20 authorizations