How to Become a Librarian in Oregon

Oregon Librarian Education

Oregon is home to over 250 public libraries (including headquarters and branches), and those aren’t the only libraries found within the state. School, academic, and special libraries are also housed in Oregon. A 2019 study by WordsRated found that Oregon has the lowest physical collection use in the country, at 2.11 per capita. However, the state also has a high collection usage – 14.51 per capita, the fourth highest in the country. These numbers were gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon’s largest library system is the Multnomah County Library System. The smallest is Agness Library in Curry County.

In addition, the State Library of Oregon connects Oregonians with libraries and online resources statewide through the Libraries of Oregon service. All Oregon residents have access to these resources. The program is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act. This service became even more valuable to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical visits to public libraries were not possible.

Academic libraries are found within Oregon’s universities and colleges. They include libraries such as the Albert Solheim Library at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the Branford Price Miller Library at Portland State University, and the Clark Library at the University of Portland. Other types of libraries in Oregon include the State of Oregon Law Library, and the Oregon Historical Society.

Becoming a librarian in Oregon is an ambition that draws people who have a keen interest in information, its organization, technology, and media of all types. Working as an Oregon librarian can be a rewarding and varied profession.

What Does an Oregon Librarian Do?

If you are thinking of becoming a librarian in Oregon, you are probably wondering, what, exactly, does an Oregon librarian do? As jobs for librarians are diverse in the state, so are job descriptions for Oregon librarians. Some job duties that are usually found among all Oregon librarians, despite the type of library in which they work, include:

  • Providing customer service to library patrons
  • Answering reference questions from library patrons
  • Developing and implementing library instruction programs, both online and residential 
  • Developing library instructional materials and research guides in written and electronic formats
  • Training other staff in the use of library resources
  • Helping to develop library collections. Selecting and de-selecting appropriate library materials for collections, based on library patrons’ preferences and information needs
  • Collaborating with other staff in development and support of new curricular areas, as appropriate
  • Representing the library to the community, business, public agencies, and other organizations in a professional manner
  • Participating in continuing professional development activities

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in Oregon?

Prospective librarians in Oregon need to earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, obtained from an institution that has been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Oregon does not have any ALA-accredited MLIS or MLS programs at this time. However, you can earn your degree from any such accredited program in any state or online.

Prospective school librarians in Oregon need a teaching license, or a master’s degree that includes 29 credit hours in library science and 16 credit hours in educational media.

What Certification is Necessary for Oregon Librarians?

There are no certification requirements for public librarians in Oregon. School librarians in Oregon must have a teaching license or a master’s degree as stated above. They need not pass any tests to earn the Library Media endorsement.

Where Do Librarians Work in Oregon?

The ALA JobList is a good place to start when looking for Oregon librarian jobs. Other good resources are the State Library of Oregon Jobline, the Pacific Northwest Library Association Jobs Page, and general online classified job sites.

What Do Librarians Earn in Oregon?

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that as of May 2021, librarians in Oregon collect an hourly mean wage of $30.39 and an annual mean wage of $63,200. Librarians working in various parts of Oregon may garner higher or lower wages than these averages, as you can see below:

Area of OregonHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro OR-WA$34.48$71,720
Central nonmetro area$22.23$46,230
Coast nonmetro area$21.76$45,250
Eastern nonmetro area$20.03$41,660

Job Prospects for Oregon Librarians 

To get an idea of the types of jobs typically available for Oregon librarians, here are a few that were posted as of January 2023:

  • Electronic Resource Librarian – Willamette University, Salem
    • Salary: $63,500 per year
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS or be working towards one
    • Must have two or more years’ library experience 
    • Must have experience with electronic resource management, proxy servers, and link resolvers
  • Library Manager – Tillamook County, Tillamook
    • Salary: $5242 to $7179 per month
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS
    • Must have five years’ professional library experience
    • Must have supervisory or project management experience or education
    • Must have a valid Oregon driver’s license
    • Must pass a background and criminal history check
  • Maker Librarian – City of Beaverton, Beaverton
    • Salary: $27.36 to $36.66 per hour
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS
    • Must have one year of professional library experience 
    • Currently enrolled MLIS students graduating this year are invited to apply
  • Librarian/Archivist – Portland Art Museum, Portland
    • Salary: $51,324 per year
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS
    • Candidates with an undergraduate degree in art history preferred
    • Candidates with two years of experience in an academic, research, visual resources setting preferred
  • Library Manager III – Evergreen Elementary School, Three Rivers/Josephine County School District, Cave Junction
    • Salary: $35,600 to $45,000 per year
    • Must have associate degree or equivalent, or related experience , education or training
    • Must have knowledge of Dewey Decimal System
    • Must have experience with Follett library software
    • Must have computer skills