How to Become a Librarian in Texas

Texas Librarian Education

A public library in Huntsville, Texas will soon be managed by a private library operations company, Library Systems and Services. This move has come after concerns arose when Huntsville’s city council told librarians to remove LGBTQ book displays, and they refused to do so. The private company is stepping in, at the city council’s request, at the end of January 2023 to run the library, and everyone currently employed at that library will likely lose their jobs at that time, according to a writer for Book Riot. The employees will likely be allowed to re-apply and re-interview for their jobs if they wish to keep them.

This is an extreme case that has resulted from censorship within public libraries, and has not been seen elsewhere in the country until now. Librarians in Texas currently do not need to be certified, as in 2007, the governor of Texas at the time, Rick Perry, signed a law establishing the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. This commission eliminated the certification requirement for county public librarians.

It is not known if certification will return for public librarians in Texas, or if that would help their standing in cases such as the one in Huntsville. Librarians in Texas have many choices of where to work, however, other than public libraries. There are school libraries, archives, medical and legal libraries, academic libraries, and other specialized libraries in which librarians can work. Reading this will help you to understand how you can become a Texas librarian. 

What Does a Texas Librarian Do?

Texas librarians may work in a variety of settings, which means that their job duties will differ from one library to another. Generally, however, Texas librarians are usually called upon to perform job responsibilities such as:

  • Coordinate and present programming and services for library patrons
  • Explain policies and procedures to staff and library patrons
  • Explain state and federal library laws and rules to citizen advocacy groups and governing bodies
  • Investigate and resolve complaints involving staff and patrons
  • Contribute to preparation and monitoring of the library budget
  • Create bibliographies, reference guides and research assistance for library patrons
  • Process new and incoming books and maintain collections
  • Provide reference services for library patrons
  • Conduct meetings, training sessions and public programs
  • Participate in library outreach and promotion programs and services

What Education is Necessary to Become a Librarian in Texas?

Texas requires librarians to have a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from a school that has received American Library Association (ALA) accreditation. There are currently four such programs in Texas:

  • Master of Science in Library Science or Information Science – University of North Texas (online program, hybrid also available with courses in Denton)
  • Master of Science in Information Studies – University of Texas at Austin (many specializations available)
  • Master of Library Science and Master of Arts in Library Science – Texas Woman’s University (school certification specialization also available)

What Certification is Necessary for Texas Librarians?

As mentioned earlier, public librarian certification was abolished in Texas in 2007. However, public librarians need an MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited school. School librarians must be certified to teach and have an endorsement in school librarianship. This means they must complete school librarianship degree programs, which are also typically at the master’s level.

Where Do Librarians Work in Texas?

The ALA’s JobList posts openings for librarians in Texas as they become available. Jobs for Texas librarians are also advertised on the Texas Library Association’s Jobline.  

What Do Librarians Earn in Texas?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2021, Texas has the second-highest employment level of librarians and media collections specialists, at 9760. These librarians make an hourly mean wage of $29.49 and annual mean wage of $61,330. To see what librarians in specific Texas metropolitan areas make, consult this table:

Area of TexasHourly mean wageYearly mean wage
Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land$31.27$65,040
Dallas/Ft. Worth/Arlington$30.87$64,220
Austin/Round Rock$30.81$64,080
San Antonio/New Braunfels$29.00$60,320
Beaumont/Port Arthur$28.99$60,300
El Paso$28.78$59,860
Corpus Christi$27.57$57,340
College Station/Bryan$27.20$56,570
San Angelo $26.22$54,540
Border region nonmetro area$25.83$53,730
Coastal Plains nonmetro area$25.32$52,670
Wichita Falls$25.26$52,550
Big Thicket region nonmetro area$25.17$52,350
North Texas nonmetro area$24.57$51,110
Texarkana TX/AR$23.90$49,700
Hill Country nonmetro area$23.16$48,180
West Texas nonmetro area$22.76$47,330

Job Prospects for Texas Librarians 

Texas is a large state which is usually filled with many librarian jobs. Some examples of jobs posted as of January 2023 include:

  • Middle School Librarian – Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Austin Independent School District, Austin
    • Wages: $43,000 – $54,400/year
    • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred
    • Valid Texas Teaching Certificate required
  • Librarian III – Austin Public Library, Austin
    • Wages: $23.44 – $29.80/hour
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school required
    • Three years of experience as a professional librarian required, one in a supervisory capacity
  • Health Services Librarian – University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington
    • Wages: $44,100 – $55,900/year
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school, or Master’s degree in nursing, or Master’s degree in social work, required
    • Prior health-related library experience preferred
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library Director – US National Archives and Records Administration, Dallas
    • Wages: $135,468 – $203,700/year
    • One year of specialized experience in directing a historical institution, cultivating and maintaining public or private collections, and planning an archive or library necessary
    • Experience in working with public and private organizations and developing relationships necessary
    • Experience in providing leadership, policy development, budget formulation necessary
    • No specific educational requirement exists for this position
  • Librarian – Willacy County State Jail, Raymondville
    • Wages: not specified
    • MLS or MLIS from ALA-accredited school, and State Board for Educator Certification Librarian or Learning Resources Specialist certificate, or bachelor’s degree and certificate, required
    • Valid driver’s license required