According to those who work at the South Dakota State Library, as of 2021, 89 percent of South Dakota residents are served by a local public library. Just 45 percent of residents, however, have a library card. South Dakota is home to 143 public library outlets: 108 central libraries, 30 branch libraries, and five bookmobiles. South Dakota public libraries employ 590 people.
When it comes to school libraries in South Dakota, as of 2022, 86 percent of public school districts/systems have a school library, and 97 percent of South Dakota’s students have access to a school library. There is a total of 395 school libraries statewide, and in 2022, 8600 students visited their school libraries independently each day. The majority of those who work at South Dakota school libraries are paraprofessionals (64 percent), with just 21 percent being librarians.
There are many other types of libraries throughout South Dakota, such as university and college libraries, medical and science libraries, archives, and law libraries. If you want to become a South Dakota librarian, you have many options available in your choices of study and for eventual employment.
What Does a South Dakota Librarian Do?
South Dakota librarians have varied job duties depending upon their place of employment. There are some similarities among librarian job duties. Here are some expected job responsibilities for any South Dakota librarian:
- Acting in a customer service role as a point of contact for library patrons
- Learning, using, promoting and troubleshooting library technologies and services
- Teaching the usage of library technology and services to library patrons in a hands-on manner
- Analyzing library patron inquiries to provide accurate information and resources
- Assisting library patrons in using the card catalog and other information resources
- Acting as a readers’ advisor, including setting up library displays for books and other materials and writing reviews of library materials
- Developing and maintaining collections in assigned areas
- Using an integrated library system to effectively manage library materials
- Performing acquisitions, processing and cataloging of materials using library software and databases
- Performing interlibrary loan activities
What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in South Dakota?
Librarians in South Dakota should pursue a Master of Library and Information Science/Studies (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, obtained at a college or university program that is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Unfortunately, there are no such ALA-accredited master’s degree programs in South Dakota. However, you may study at any ALA-accredited college or university that is hosted online or within any state.
School librarians in South Dakota must have a teaching license and pass the Praxis II Library Media Content test. In order to get a teaching license, you must have a bachelor’s degree and completed an approved teacher preparation program. Alternatively, if you are not already a teacher but have an MLS or MLIS degree, you can pursue endorsement at a school librarian straightaway by obtaining an educator permit in South Dakota.
What Certification is Necessary for South Dakota Librarians?
South Dakota has a voluntary certification available for public library directors, librarians and staff. Certification requirements are different for library directors and staff, and are based upon the size of the population the library serves. Grade I certification applies to libraries that serve populations of 10,000 or more; Grade II is for libraries serving 3500-9999, and Grade III is for libraries serving populations of 1 to 3499.
Library director certification levels are as follows:
- Grade I: You must have an MLS or MLIS from an ALA-accredited program
- Grade II: You must have a bachelor’s degree with at least 18 credit hours in library coursework, or you must have a bachelor’s degree and complete training through the South Dakota Library Training Institute
- Grade III: You must have a high school diploma/GED and three years of library experience, and complete training through the South Dakota Library Training Institute, or you must have a high school diploma/GED and an associate degree in library studies or at least 18 credit hours in library coursework
Library staff certification levels are as follows:
- Grade I: You must have a MLS/MLIS or master’s degree in any field, or a bachelor’s degree and completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute, or a bachelor’s degree and completion of 18 credit hours in library coursework
- Grade II: You must have an associate’s degree and complete the South Dakota Library Training Institute, or an associate degree in library studies or with at least 18 hours of library coursework
- Grade III: You must have a high school diploma or GED and complete the South Dakota Library Training Institute
Once issued, certificates are valid for three years, and must be maintained by completing continuing education. You can renew a library certificate by proving you have completed at least 30 contact hours of continuing education in those three years.
As mentioned above, South Dakota school librarians must also be certified. This is accomplished through earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification, or a MLS/MLIS and an educator permit. You must also pass certification tests in library science.
Where Do Librarians Work in South Dakota?
South Dakota librarian positions, when available, are advertised on the ALA’s JobList, at the SD Library Association Career Center, at the Mountain Plains Library Association Jobline, and within classified job sites online.
What Do Librarians Earn in South Dakota?
Librarians in South Dakota earn an hourly mean wage of $22.68 and annual mean wage of $47,170 as of May 2021, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Librarians working in the Sioux Falls metropolitan area earn the highest wages, at $24.92 hourly and $51,830 annually. East South Dakota nonmetropolitan area librarians earn the next highest wages, at $23.10 hourly and $48,050 per year. Librarians in the Rapid City area earn $23.06 per hour and $47,950 yearly. West South Dakota nonmetropolitan area librarians earn $20.47 hourly and $42,580 annually.
Job Prospects for South Dakota Librarians
South Dakota librarian jobs are scattered across the state, with heavier concentrations in metropolitan areas. To give you an idea of the types of jobs usually available, as of January 2023, these positions were advertised:
- Assistant Librarian – City of Watertown, Watertown
- Wages: $62,421-$70,283 per year
- Must have an MLS/MLIS degree
- Must have five years of library experience
- Prefer candidates with writing experience
- Digital Resource Librarian – South Dakota Board of Regents, Madison
- Salary: $50,000 – $55,000 per year
- Must have an MLS/MLIS degree
- Must have experience using web design software
- Youth Services Librarian – Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library, Vermillion
- Salary: not specified
- Must have a bachelor’s degree in library science or education
- MLS/MLIS preferred
- Must have three years of experience in youth services
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Supervisory experience is preferred
- Youth Services Coordinator – City of Pierre, Pierre
- Salary: $24.60 per hour
- Must have a bachelor’s degree
- Must have five years of progressively responsible library experience, including one year in a lead capacity in youth services
- Instructional Designer – Northern State University, Aberdeen
- Salary: $50,000 per year
- Must have an MLS/MLIS degree or a master’s degree in education
- Must have one to two years of experience