How to Become a Librarian in North Carolina

The State Library of NorthNorth Carolina Librarian Education Carolina was established in 1812, and today is a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. It is responsible for the administration of the more than 530 public libraries statewide. The State Library has also created some unique guidebooks, including Literary Trails and Story Trails. Literary Trails are guidebooks that are organized geographically and direct readers to sites across the state’s Eastern, Mountain and Piedmont regions. Story Trails of North Carolina highlight StoryWalk programs statewide, with a story being displayed along trails or walking paths. These encourage early literacy development and being outdoors simultaneously. 

The North Carolina Library Association, a voluntary membership organization, represents and promotes all types of libraries and information services across the state. Sections on business librarianship, STEM librarianship, youth librarianship and special collections are just a few of the many genres of librarianship that are promoted through the Association.

The Association highlights that there is more than one way to work as a librarian in North Carolina. No matter the type of librarian you wish to become, there are many careers available statewide for librarians in North Carolina.

North Carolina Librarian Career Role

Whether your goal is to become a public librarian, school librarian, academic and research librarian, music librarian, law librarian — whatever your desire, you can do so in North Carolina. Of course, the duties of these various types of librarians differ but there are some similarities among their job descriptions:

  • Providing customer service to library patrons
  • Providing library patrons with proactive reference services 
  • Answering patrons’ questions about information and technology resources, both in-person and online
  • Performing troubleshooting of library equipment as necessary
  • Training the public on the usage of library equipment and resources, both off-line and online
  • Providing readers’ advisory services
  • Creating, marketing and presenting programing for library users, as well as for the larger community
  • Marketing and publicizing library resource and events
  • Training staff members as necessary

Librarian Education in North Carolina

Regardless of the kind of North Carolian librarian you wish to become, you need the proper education. This entails earning a master’s degree in Library Science or Library and Information Science from a school that holds American Library Association (ALA) accreditation. North Carolina is home to four such programs:

  • East Carolina University, Greenville – This school offers a fully online MLS (Master of Library Science) program offering three concentrations:
    • Academic Library
    • Public Library
    • School Library Media
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- This school’s MSLS (Master of Science in Library Science) offers specializations in:
    • Academic Libraries
    • Archives and Records Management
    • Data Science/Data Analytics/Databases
    • Digital Libraries/Digital Humanities
    • Environmental Informatics
    • Information and Society
    • Information Organization/Information Systems
    • Information Retrieval/Text Mining
    • Instructional Leadership
    • Public Libraries-Adult Services
    • Public Libraries – Youth Services
    • School Library Media
    • Special Libraries and Knowledge Management
    • User Experience/Human-Computer Interaction 
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro- This school offers a MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree with the options of School Library Licensure or Instructional Technology Licensure, in both in-person and online formats 
  • North Carolina Central University, Durham – This school offers a Master of Library Science, in in-person and online formats, with specialties in:
    • School Media
    • Digital Libraries
    • Special Libraries
    • Law Libraries
    • Academic Libraries
    • Archives and Records Management
    • Public Libraries 

North Carolina Librarian Certification

The North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission offers an optional, voluntary certification for public librarians. It is available to librarians who have MLS or MLIS degrees from ALA-accredited programs, and have worked at least two of the past five years in a public library. 

North Carolina school librarians must also be licensed in order to teach. They must have a MLS or MLIS, and pass the Praxis II Library Media Content test.

Where Do Librarians Work in North Carolina?

North Carolina librarian positions are announced at the State Library of North Carolina’s website, the ALA JobList, and other sites that advertise available jobs. 

What are Librarian Salaries in North Carolina?

The hourly mean wage for North Carolina librarians, as of May 2021, is $28.66, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The annual mean wage is $59,620. Those employed around the state make the following wages:

Area of North Carolina Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Durham/Chapel Hill $33.30 $69,250
Raleigh $30.77 $63,990
Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia NC/SC $29.35 $61,060
Winston-Salem $28.50 $59,270
Burlington $28.42 $59,110
Wilmington $27.42 $57,030
Southeast Coastal nonmetro $27.00 $56,170
Northeast Coastal nonmetro $26.91 $55,980
New Bern $26.51 $55,140
Jacksonville $26.43 $54,970
Greensboro/High Point $26.41 $54,940
Greenville $26.29 $54,690
Asheville $26.13 $54,360
Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton $25.80 $53,660
Fayetteville $25.62 $53,280
Piedmont nonmetro area $25.56 $53,160
Mountain nonmetro area $25.52 $53,080
Goldsboro $25.02 $52,030
Rocky Mount $23.73 $49,360

North Carolina Librarian Job Prospects

Prospective North Carolina librarians can peruse the websites mentioned above for available positions. As of February 2023, the following jobs for NC librarians had been posted:

  • Reference Librarian – Charles W. Chestnutt Library, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville
    • Pay: $50,000 to $52,000 per year
    • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS required
    • Ability to work well with diverse populations required
  • Director of Library Services – Braswell Memorial Public Library, Nash County Public Library System, Rocky Mount
    • Pay: $76,000 to $106,000 per year
    • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS required
    • Two to five years of experience in library leadership required
    • Must be eligible for NC Public Librarian Certification
  • Assistant State Librarian – Library Administration, State Library of North Carolina, Raleigh
    • Pay: $61,209 to $100,000 per year
    • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS required
    • Five years of professional librarian experience required
  • Data Visualization Analyst – Duke University Library, Duke University, Durham
    • Pay: $80,000 to $90,000 per year
    • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS required
    • Demonstrated teaching experience required
    • Demonstrated experience in data visualization/portfolio required 
  • Head of the Music Library – East Carolina University, Greenville
    • Pay: $60,000 per year
    • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS required
    • Three years of library experience, including public service duties, required
    • Knowledge of music library operations, resources and services required