Children's Librarian Career Information

A children's librarian's duties include purchasing books, video, audio and computer software for children's collections in public and school libraries, and these librarians, out of all of the public library jobs, are usually the most knowledgeable about literacy issues and reading development.

Basic Tasks

A children's librarian is responsible for purchasing media material that is appropriate for children to use, and this includes board and picture books, chapter books, graphic novels and non-fiction material for pleasure reading or to help with homework. These librarians will also purchase audio and video material, such as movies and audiobooks, for children and their parents to use and enjoy. Recently, children's librarians have also made purchases of online software and databases for children, as well as collected gaming material, both educational and for leisure. They also answer questions asked by children, parents and teachers about this material, and answer reference questions for these patrons.

Children's librarians also manage programming for children, which could include baby times, storytimes, special literacy events, storytelling and additional programming that is relevant to children, such as author events, like book signings and public readings. They will also work on events that encourage literacy, such as reading games held throughout the summer so children don't fall behind in their reading ability while on holidays, or special annual events. They may also be engaged in local history or science programming that is suitable for children, or can be used in schools.

A typical day could include a shift at the reference desk in the children's section, answering questions and queries from children and adults. It could include hosting or presenting at a storytime or other public event, or managing a reading game or a visiting class from a local school. A children's librarian may also give book talks, a summary of a book to encourage reading, either in a classroom or for inclusion on the library website. The librarian may also work on the children's section of the library website, especially the home work help or new acquisitions section. They will also review and select material for purchase, and deal with queries from the public about the material in the collection.

Librarians can work a part-time or full-time schedule, and they can work evenings and weekends, depending on the needs of the library. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most librarians make twenty-five dollars an hour, on average.

Different Types of Jobs

Children's librarians are usually found in public libraries, though they may also work in school libraries if they possess the required education. Depending on the size of the library, the public library could have a children's librarian and a young adult librarian, though if the library is quite small, they may have one children's librarian for both collections. For some large libraries, a children's librarian could specialize in pre-school material, school age material, literacy development, graphic novel collections, software and audio visual material.

A children's librarian could find a position as a general reference librarian, or in an academic library if they have a collection of children's reading material. A logical promotion for a children's librarian is to become the manager of service for children, or an upper level administrator in a public library.