How to Become a Librarian in Ohio

The State Library of OhioOhio Librarian Education maintains directories of different kinds of libraries throughout the state. When it comes to public libraries, the state houses 251 public library systems, with 481 branch locations, totaling 732 library outlets. 

Ohio also has Regional Library Systems, including Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. These systems are multi-type, including academic, school, public and special libraries in the state. 

There are also what are called Depository Libraries in Ohio, which contain government information under the Federal Depository Library Program. There are currently 50 such libraries across Ohio. They include the State Library of Ohio, The Ohio State University Main Library, the Supreme Court of Ohio Law Library, and Ohio Wesleyan University Library, among others. 

Specialty libraries throughout Ohio include the Ohio County Law Libraries, Ohio History Connection Archives/Library, Ohioana, medical libraries such as Jewish Hospital Health Sciences Library and Resource Center, institution libraries like the Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare library, and special libraries like the Akron Law Library Association library. 

The many types of libraries in Ohio should provide valuable information for those wishing to become Ohio librarians. It is evident from these diverse libraries just how diverse the position of librarian in Ohio can be, depending upon where you work. 

Ohio Librarian Career

With the many types of libraries operating throughout the state of Ohio, it is easy to see how a librarian’s job might differ based upon the type of library in which they work. A general job description for an Ohio librarian, no matter where you work, might include: 

  • Developing and maintaining collections within specified subject areas
  • Creating and presenting training and informational programs for library patrons, community groups and staff
  • Providing reader advisory services and reference services to library patrons
  • Answering questions posed by library patrons, in-person, via email, and over the telephone, using a variety of formats to communicate and directing them to materials such as books, newspapers, periodicals, microfilm, indexes, online catalogs, online resources, and the internet
  • Attending required trainings and conferences to keep up with the latest library/librarianship trends 
  • Giving bibliographic information to library patrons
  • Compiling bibliographies and developing user guides for library patrons
  • Reviewing books and writing annotations as required 
  • Showing a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion when dealing with staff, library patrons and the community
  • Demonstrating a strong knowledge of technology and skills, with the ability to learn new skills and technology quickly

Librarian Education in Ohio

Aspiring librarians in Ohio need to have a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS). This should be earned from an institution holding accreditation through the American Library Association (ALA). Currently, as of 2023, there is one ALA-accredited program in Ohio: the fully online Master of Library and Information Science program at Kent State University in Kent. An optional concentration in Medical Librarianship is available, as is a dual degree program with the Master of Business Administration.

Kent State also offers a School Library/Media Specialist Initial Licensure program. Options are available for prospective school librarians who already have their teaching license and for those without a teaching license.

Ohio Librarian Certification

Public librarian certification in Ohio is optional and voluntary The Ohio Public Library Staff Certification is designed to recognize non-MLIS-holding library staff. In order to qualify, you must have a high school diploma or GED, two years of library experience, and 10 credit hours of continuing education in the past two years. Once certified, you must complete 50 continuing education credit hours every five years to maintain certification.

The Ohio Public Librarian Certification requires that you have a MLIS or MLS degree from an ALA-accredited institution, and two years of library experience. To maintain this certification, you must complete 75 continuing education credit hours every five years. 

Ohio school librarians must have a teacher’s license along with a master’s degree. The examinations that they must pass include the Assessment of Professional Knowledge, Multi Age (PK-12) test of the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) as well as the OAE School Library Media Specialist Content Assessment in order to earn licensure as a school library media specialist.

Librarian Jobs in Ohio

Jobs for librarians in Ohio are advertised on the Ohio Library Council’s JOBLine, and the ALA JobList, as well as other online classified jobs sites. Jobs within the State Library of Ohio system are also posted at

Ohio Librarian Salaries

As of May 2021, librarians in Ohio make an hourly mean wage of $26.16 and a yearly mean wage of $54,420, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Librarians working in various parts of the state may earn more, or less, than these averages, as you can see in the table below: 

Area Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Columbus $29.15 $60,620
Cleveland/Elyria $28.87 $60,060
Cincinnati OH/KY/IN $28.85 $60,000
Toledo $28.73 $59,760
Akron $25.72 $53,490
Southern Ohio nonmetro $25.45 $52,940
Dayton $25.31 $52,640
Springfield $24.20 50,340
Mansfield $23.94 $49,780
Canton/Massillon $23.38 $48,640
Youngstown/Warren/Boardman OH/PA $23.35 $48,560
Eastern Ohio nonmetro $22.72 $47,260
Lima $21.37 $44,450
North Northeastern Ohio nonmetro $20.94 $43,540
West Northwestern Ohio nonmetro $17.78 $36,980

Job Prospects for Ohio Librarians 

Librarian jobs, when available, are posted at the sites listed above. Some examples of open Ohio librarian jobs as of February 2023 include:

  • Librarian- Karl Road Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus
    • Salary: $49,587-77,397/year
    • MLIS or MLS degree needed
  • Lecturer, Librarian – Cuyahoga Community College, Westlake
    • Salary: $45,500-$57,600/year
    • MLIS or MLS degree needed
    • Experience with automated library systems needed
    • Experience in database searching and information retrieval needed
    • Teaching experience needed
  • Librarian, Multimedia Services Coordinator- UnifyWork, Cleveland
    • Salary: $48,860-$80,660/year
    • Bachelor’s degree preferred
    • Two to four years of related library experience needed
  • Lower School Associate Librarian – Columbus Academy, Gahanna
    • Salary: $44,700-$56,600/year
    • MLIS or MLS degree preferred
    • Experience working with children ages 3-6 needed
    • Three years of experience working in a school or public library needed
  • Acquisitions and Collection Development Librarian – The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
    • Salary: $45,000/year
    • MLIS or MLS degree needed
    • Knowledge of art historical literature needed
    • Working knowledge of at least two foreign languages needed (prefer German, French or Italian)
    • Candidates with Master’s or Ph.D. in art history are preferred
    • Candidates with experience working in a research or academic library are preferred