Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals

Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals

Welcome to the world of librarianship! As a young librarian, you are embarking on an exciting and rewarding journey in the academic library field. Below, we will explore some valuable wisdom and advice that will help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Librarians play a crucial role in the academic environment. They are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including cataloging, acquisitions, reference services, and more. Although each library may have its own specific requirements and responsibilities, there’s a common thread that connects all librarians: a passion for connecting people with the resources they need.

In this program, you’ll not only learn how to manage a library and its resources, but you’ll also develop skills in areas such as cataloging, reference, and administration. You’ll become an expert in the science of librarianship and gain a deep understanding of the role libraries play in our society.

One trend that we see in the library profession is the increasing importance of technology. As libraries embrace the digital age, it’s crucial for librarians to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and advancements in information science. This includes knowledge of tools such as MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) and utilizing online resources to enhance cataloging and reference services.

There’s no one-size-fits-all path to becoming a librarian. Some professionals pursue bachelor’s degrees in library science, while others may have degrees in other subjects. In addition to formal education, many librarians also obtain certifications in specialized areas such as cataloging or acquisitions. It’s important to explore the various programs and certifications offered by state and national organizations to find the best fit for your interests and career goals.

In this series of letters, experienced librarians from across the country – from Washington to Iowa, from Michigan to Kentucky – will share their wisdom and advice on a range of topics, from how to excel in a reference environment to what it takes to become a library manager. Each letter will contain valuable insights and practical tips that will help you navigate the complexities of librarianship and find success in your career.

Whether you’re a young library professional just starting out or someone looking to advance in the field, these letters will provide guidance and inspiration to help you thrive. Join us every Thursday as we dive into the contents of these “Letters to a Young Librarian” and discover the wisdom that seasoned professionals have to offer.

Letters to a Young Librarian

If you’re considering a career in library, the book “Letters to a Young Librarian: Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals” is a must-read. Written by a head librarian, Dezelar Tiedman, this book offers valuable insights and guidance for aspiring librarians.

One of the first steps to becoming a librarian is completing a Master’s degree in Library Sciences. This educational background is necessary to gain the knowledge and skills needed to effectively work in this profession. The coursework will cover topics such as cataloging, reference services, collection development, and library administration.

Once you’ve completed your schooling, you’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses and certifications required to work as a librarian. This may vary depending on your local area, so it’s important to research and understand the specific requirements in your region.

Librarians have a wide range of responsibilities and duties. They are not only responsible for managing library collections, but also for providing reference services to patrons. Librarians often assist patrons in locating materials, utilizing online databases, and conducting research. They are the experts when it comes to navigating through the vast array of information available in the digital age.

In addition to these day-to-day responsibilities, librarians also play an important role in promoting literacy and learning within their communities. They organize educational programs for people of all ages, from storytime sessions for children to workshops and lectures for adults. They create an environment that is conducive to learning and provide resources that support intellectual growth.

Libraries are evolving to keep up with the digital age. While physical materials such as books and magazines still play a vital role, librarians are also managing online databases and digital collections. They help people access and utilize these resources, ensuring accurate information and data security.

Advancement prospects in the library field are promising. With the right experience and skills, librarians can move up to higher positions, such as library director or department head. This may require additional training and certifications, but it can lead to greater responsibilities and opportunities for professional growth.

In-person and online learning opportunities are widely available for librarians to continue expanding their knowledge and staying current with industry trends. It’s important to take advantage of these resources to stay at the top of your field.

Overall, a career as a librarian offers the best of both worlds. You get to work with people and help them on a daily basis, while also immersing yourself in the world of knowledge and literature. So if you have a passion for learning and a desire to make a difference in your community, becoming a librarian may just be the perfect career choice for you.

Letters to a Young Librarian is a valuable resource that contains the wisdom and advice necessary for new library professionals. Each letter within the book provides a personal and insightful description of what it is like to be a librarian and offers step-by-step guidance on how to navigate through the profession.

  • Prospects for librarianship
  • Librarians’ responsibilities
  • Training and educational requirements
  • Dezelar Tiedman’s expertise
  • The role of libraries in the digital age
  • Career advancement
  • Online databases and reference materials
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By reading “Letters to a Young Librarian”, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the library profession and gain insights from someone who has been in the field for many years. So if you’re considering a career as a librarian, make sure to add this book to your reading list!

Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals

As a new library professional, there are a few key pieces of wisdom and advice that can help guide your career in the library profession. Here is a list of helpful tips:

  • Start by obtaining the necessary education and certifications. Many library positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree in library science or a related field. Some positions may also require specific certifications, such as the Certified Public Librarian designation.
  • Consider both online and in-person programs for your education and professional development. There are many accredited library science programs available, both through traditional brick-and-mortar schools and online institutions. Choose the program that best fits your needs and career prospects.
  • Understand the essential role of cataloging and catalogers in the library profession. Cataloging is the process of creating and maintaining records of library resources, such as books, CDs, and DVDs. It is an important part of ensuring that library patrons can easily find and access the materials they need.
  • Stay up-to-date with current library standards and practices. The library profession is constantly evolving, so it’s important to continue learning and adapting to new technologies and methods. Subscribe to library newsletters, attend webinars and conferences, and participate in professional development opportunities offered by library associations.
  • Take advantage of mentorship and networking opportunities. Reach out to experienced librarians and ask for guidance and advice. Join professional organizations and attend meetings and events to connect with other library professionals.
  • Consider gaining experience through part-time or volunteer work. Library positions can be competitive, so having practical experience on your resume can help you stand out from other candidates. Look for opportunities in your local community or at your school library.
  • Keep an eye out for job prospects in smaller libraries and public libraries. While larger library systems may seem more attractive, smaller libraries often offer more opportunities for advancement and diverse work experiences.
  • Be prepared to wear multiple hats in your job. In many library positions, you may be responsible for tasks beyond your specific job title. For example, you may be asked to assist with acquisitions, help with library security, or even fill in as the head librarian when needed.
  • Stay organized and detail-oriented. Library work often requires attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines. Develop good organizational habits and use tools like barcode scanners and library catalog software to streamline your work.
  • Finally, remember that being a librarian is more than just a job – it’s a calling. Librarians play a vital role in their communities, providing access to information and resources for people of all ages. Embrace the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others through your work as a librarian.

By following these tips and continually learning and growing in your career, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful and fulfilled library professional.

Best Courses and Training Programs for Librarians

Whether you’re a seasoned librarian looking to enhance your skills or a new professional just starting out, there are a variety of courses and training programs available to help you in your career. Here are some of the best options to consider:

1. Library Science Degree Programs

One of the most common routes for becoming a librarian is through a library science degree program. These programs, available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, provide a comprehensive guide to the field of librarianship. They cover a range of subjects including library management, collection development, and information studies.

2. Online Courses and Webinars

If you’re looking for a more flexible option, online courses and webinars can be a great choice. Many organizations, such as the American Library Association, offer online courses on various topics relevant to librarians. These courses provide the convenience of learning at your own pace and can be particularly helpful for professionals who are working full-time or part-time.

3. Professional Development Programs

Professional development programs are designed to help librarians gain new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the field. These programs can be offered by libraries, library associations, or other organizations. They often focus on specific areas such as cataloging, acquisitions, or digital resources.

When considering courses and training programs, it’s important to think about your career goals and the specific skills you want to gain. Some libraries may require certain certifications or licenses for certain positions, so be sure to check with your local library or state regulations to see if any of these programs are necessary.

Overall, exploring different courses and training programs can help you become a well-rounded librarian. They can provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in your job and contribute to the library profession as a whole.


  • – Library Science Degree Programs
  • – Online Courses and Webinars
  • – Professional Development Programs

November 20, 2022 – Dezelar Tiedman

The Role of Technology in Library Profession

In today’s digital age, technology plays a crucial role in the field of librarianship. From managing library collections to delivering information and services to users, the integration of technology has transformed the way librarians work and interact with their communities.

1. Managing Library Collections

One of the primary functions of a librarian is to maintain and organize library collections. Technology has revolutionized this process, making it more efficient and accurate. Librarians can now use barcode scanners and online cataloging systems, such as MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging), to quickly and accurately input information about library materials. This automation saves time and allows librarians to focus on other essential tasks.

2. Delivering Information and Services

Technology has also expanded the ways in which librarians can deliver information and services to library users. The rise of online databases and digital resources means that librarians can provide access to a vast amount of information on a wide range of subjects. Whether it’s helping users find scholarly articles for research projects or assisting them in locating reliable online sources, librarians are essential guides in navigating the digital landscape.

The role of librarians as technology experts has become more important than ever. Librarians must stay up-to-date with the latest technological trends and tools to provide the most relevant and helpful assistance to library patrons.

3. Enhancing the Library Environment

4. The Future of Librarianship

As technology continues to advance, the role of librarians will continue to evolve. The profession may require librarians to possess a broader set of skills, including expertise in data management, information security, and emerging technologies. Librarians will need to adapt to new technologies and use them effectively to meet the changing needs of their communities.

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Letters to a Young Librarian: Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals by Christine L. Williams provides aspiring librarians with essential insights into the profession. It guides new librarians on how to navigate the changing landscape of libraries and offers advice on career development and job searching.

Whether you’re pursuing a master’s degree in library science or starting your career as an unpaid library volunteer, this book is a valuable resource. It will help you understand the essential role technology plays in the library profession and how you can stay current with the latest trends and standards.

Developing Leadership Skills in the Library Field

Leadership skills are essential for librarians looking to advance in their careers and take on more responsibility within their organizations. Whether you work in a small community library or a large academic institution like Kutztown University, developing these skills can open up new opportunities and help you become a more effective professional.

One area where librarians can develop leadership skills is in cataloging and acquisitions. Librarians who specialize in cataloging are responsible for ensuring that the library’s collections are accurate and easy to access. This requires expertise in cataloging standards and the ability to work with complex databases and software programs. By gaining experience in this area, you can become a valuable resource for other staff members and take on a leadership role in improving the library’s catalog.

Another area where leadership skills are important is in reference and user services. Librarians who work with the public need to be able to assist patrons with their information needs and provide guidance on utilizing the library’s resources. This requires strong communication and customer service skills, as well as the ability to troubleshoot various reference databases and tools. By becoming an expert in reference services, you can take on a leadership role in training and mentoring other librarians.

Leadership skills can also be developed through formal training programs. Many library science programs, such as the one offered at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, offer courses and specializations that focus on leadership and management skills. These programs provide a comprehensive understanding of the trends and best practices in library leadership and give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships and fieldwork.

The Outlook for Library Leadership

The outlook for library leadership positions is generally positive. According to a publication by the American Library Association in 2014, the demand for librarians with leadership skills is expected to increase by 3% over the next 20 years. This is due to a combination of retiring librarians and the need for innovative leaders who can adapt to changing technologies and trends in the field.

The Importance of Continuous Learning for Librarians

As a librarian, it is crucial to recognize the importance of continuous learning in order to thrive in this ever-evolving profession. Libraries are no longer just physical spaces with books; they have become information hubs with access to vast databases and digital collections. To stay relevant and provide efficient services to patrons, librarians must constantly update their skills and knowledge.

One area where continuous learning is essential is in the realm of technology. With advancements happening at an astonishing pace, librarians need to keep up with the latest trends and tools. Understanding how to navigate and manipulate databases, work with MARC records, and ensure the security of digital contents are vital skills for librarians in today’s digital age.

Continuous learning can take many forms, such as attending conferences, workshops, and webinars on relevant topics. Online courses, certifications, and degrees can also help librarians expand their skill sets. Some library professionals may even choose to further their education by pursuing a master’s degree in library science. Although not required for all library positions, a master’s degree can open up more advanced job prospects.

The learning opportunities within the library profession are not limited to technical skills. Librarians should also explore subjects related to collection development, administration, and library management. Understanding how to effectively organize and catalog materials, stay up-to-date with current trends and best practices, and deal with various stakeholders are crucial competencies for librarians.

Continuous learning can be particularly helpful for librarians working in smaller, local libraries. With fewer resources and staff, librarians in these settings often have to wear multiple hats and take on various responsibilities. By continuously learning and honing their skills, librarians in smaller libraries can enhance their ability to serve their community with limited resources.

Whether you are a full-time librarian or a part-time library assistant, make sure to take advantage of the continuous learning opportunities available to you. Explore both in-person and online courses, seek out professional development opportunities within your organization, and stay up-to-date with industry standards, certifications, and best practices.

Continuous learning is not only beneficial for your professional growth, but it also benefits the patrons you serve. By staying informed and knowledgeable, you can provide better assistance and help patrons find the information they need. Embrace the opportunity to learn and adapt, and you’ll excel in your library career.


What advice would you give to a new librarian just starting out in their career?

I would advise a new librarian to be open to new experiences and challenges, to always be willing to learn and grow, and to take advantage of any opportunities for professional development or networking.

What is the work environment like for catalogers in libraries?

The work environment for catalogers in libraries can vary depending on the size and type of library. In larger libraries, catalogers may work in a separate department with other cataloging staff, while in smaller libraries, catalogers may be responsible for the entire cataloging process. The work can be detail-oriented and require a good understanding of bibliographic information.

Are there any specific skills or qualifications that are important for catalogers?

Yes, there are specific skills and qualifications that are important for catalogers. These can include knowledge of cataloging standards and systems, familiarity with bibliographic databases and tools, attention to detail, good organizational skills, and the ability to work independently.

What are some challenges that new librarians may face in their careers?

Some challenges that new librarians may face in their careers include adapting to new technologies and changing landscapes in the library field, dealing with limited budgets and resources, and finding opportunities for career advancement. It’s important for new librarians to be flexible and open to learning and adapting to overcome these challenges.

How can new librarians network and connect with other professionals in the field?

New librarians can network and connect with other professionals in the field by joining professional organizations, attending conferences and workshops, participating in online forums and discussion groups, and reaching out to colleagues for mentorship and collaboration. These opportunities can help new librarians expand their professional network and learn from experienced professionals.

What is the book “Letters to a Young Librarian: Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals” about?

The book “Letters to a Young Librarian: Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals” is a collection of letters written by experienced librarians offering guidance and advice to new library professionals.

What kind of advice can you find in the book “Letters to a Young Librarian: Wisdom and Advice for New Library Professionals”?

The book provides a wide range of advice, including tips on starting a career in librarianship, professional development, handling difficult situations, and maintaining work-life balance. The letters cover various aspects of the librarian profession and offer valuable insights and suggestions.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.