How to Become a Librarian in North Dakota

North Dakota Librarian Education

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is currently being built in Medora, North Dakota. Although Roosevelt was a native New Yorker, he spent much time on a ranch in Western North Dakota and once said that he never would have been president without his experiences in North Dakota. Although as of 2023, 13 official presidential libraries exist, there is not one for Roosevelt, as the National Archives did not begin the presidential library system until Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

In addition to this presidential library, North Dakota is home to more than 80 public libraries statewide. In 2022, the North Dakota State Library reports, one in three North Dakota citizens had a library card, and the number of visits to North Dakota libraries in 2021 was higher than the attendance at all Minnesota Vikings games that same year. 

There are also school libraries across North Dakota, housed within public and private school systems. In 2018-19, there were 187 school librarians employed in North Dakota. There are also 23 school/public combination libraries in North Dakota.

Libraries are also found within North Dakota’s universities, colleges, medical centers, courts and law offices, as well as within many businesses, non-profit organizations, and more. Working as a librarian in North Dakota can be a challenging, intriguing profession for those with the interest and training.

What Does a North Dakota Librarian Do?

Because there are so many different types of libraries in North Dakota, librarian jobs and descriptions also vary from one to another. Some job duties are fairly consistent among North Dakota librarians, such as:

  • Performing circulation desk duties. 
  • Interacting with people of different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Assisting library patrons in using technology and information resources.
  • Troubleshooting computer hardware and software problems.
  • Providing readers advisory services.
  • Assisting with collection maintenance
  • Assisting with maintenance of records in the integrated library system.
  • Assisting in maintaining the orderliness of the facility.
  • Keeping statistics and reports in a designated area
  • Cataloging and classifying library resources.
  • Coordinating and implementing interlibrary loan activities.
  • Operating Bookmobiles and related programs.
  • Coordinating collection development.
  • Performing and coordinating community outreach activities.
  • Providing library programs.
  • Promoting and marketing library services.
  • Creating library publications.
  • Designing and maintaining the library’s website. 

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in North Dakota?

The Master of Library Science (MLS) and Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degrees are considered to be the gold standard for North Dakota librarians. These degrees must come from a university or college whose program is American Library Association (ALA)-accredited. Currently, there are no ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS programs housed in North Dakota. However, prospective librarians may earn their ALA-accredited MLS or MLIS in any state or online.

Those who want to become North Dakota school librarians can either pursue an MLS, a state-approved Library Media and Information Science (LMIS) degree, or an education degree. Certification for school librarians is also necessary, and will be discussed in the next section.

What Certification is Necessary for North Dakota Librarians?

Public librarians in North Dakota do not have a certification requirement.

School librarians in North Dakota need a Library Media Credential, issued by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. There are three levels of credentials:

  • LM01- Library Media Director Credential – This credential requires completion of a state-approved Library Media and Information Science (LMIS) program, a MLS/MLIS degree, or a masters degree in an education field along with 24 credits in a LMIS program.
  • LM02- Library Media Specialist Credential- This credential requires 24 credits to be completed in a state-approved LMIS program
  • LM03- Librarian Credential – This credential requires 15 credits to be completed in a state-approved LMIS program

Prospective school librarians in North Dakota need not pass any Praxis examinations.

Where Do Librarians Work in North Dakota?

Jobs for North Dakota librarians are posted at the ALA’s JobList when available, as well as within online classified sites. They are also advertised at the North Dakota Library Association’s Job Listings site. 

What Do Librarians Earn in North Dakota?

The hourly mean wage for North Dakota librarians as of May 2021 is $27.71, and their yearly mean wage is $57,640, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those working in various parts of the state earn higher or lower wages than these averages, as you can see in the table below:

Area of North DakotaHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Grand Forks$27.83$57,880
West nonmetropolitan area$27.33$56,850
East nonmetropolitan area$24.25$50,430

Job Prospects for North Dakota Librarians 

Jobs for North Dakota librarians are posted on the above-mentioned websites when available. As an example of prospective North Dakota librarian positions, these jobs were posted in January 2023:

  • Librarian – City of Dickinson, Dickinson
    • Pay rate: $22.18 to $25.99 hourly
    • Bachelor in library science, liberal arts, education, humanities or related field necessary
    • MLS, MLIS, or ND Library Media Certification LM03 preferred
    • Valid driver’s license necessary
    • One to three years of technical or circulation experience in a public library necessary
  • Assistant Library Director – Lake Region Public Library, Devils Lake
    • Pay rate: $40,000 to $42,000 yearly
    • Bachelor in library science or related field necessary
    • MLIS or MLS preferred
    • Professional public library experience preferred, especially with technical or electronic services
    • Management or supervisory experience preferred
    • Valid driver’s license necessary 
  • NW Clinical Campus Librarian – University of North Dakota, Minot
    • Pay rate: $52,000 yearly
    • MLIS or MLS necessary
    • Experience using mobile devices, social networking and other technology forms to deliver information services necessary
    • Must pass criminal background check
    • Medical reference experience preferred
    • Experience in teaching information literacy skills preferred
    • One year of supervisory experience preferred
  • Collection Management Librarian – Minot State University, Minot
    • Pay rate: $44,472 to $56,000 yearly
    • MLS or MLIS necessary
    • Prefer candidates with experience working in an academic library
    • Prefer candidates with experience managing a collection development program
  • Cataloging and Metadata Librarian – Minot State University, Minot
    • Pay rate: $44,400 to $56,200 yearly
    • MLIS or MLS necessary
    • Experience working in academic library preferred
    • Experience cataloging academic materials preferred