In order to be a librarian, one must attend a graduate program that has been certified by the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA website will also provide useful information in picking a program and other necessary resources (such as job opportunities and average starting wage). Click on the link to Education and Careers for information on career paths, accredited programs salaries etc.
For those in Ohio, the closest grad program is at NKU. One of the largest and most highly ranked programs in the region is the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Usually the program is two years for the MLS (Master of Library Science), but it can be done in one year.
Within the masters program itself, there are several specializations
- There is the K-12 field which is for those who wish to work in elementary, middle, or high school libraries and often requires a degree in education.
- Record management (this is usually for business and corporations).
- There is cataloguing, metadata, and other forms of information sciences. Recently, this area has gained in popularity and emphasizes the design and making of databases, websites, and other online services.
- Special Collections which is related to Archival Studies. These are the two specializations in which many Classicists end up due to their backgrounds. A specialization in these areas will require one to take classes in things like preservation, archival studies, manuscripts, and rare books.
Most programs now offer online education. GSLIS has students from all over the world taking classes through their LEEP program. Classes are offered online via audio lectures, chat rooms, and message boards. However, these classes do require a once a semester visit to the actual campus. These are usually held on the weekends and are like mini conferences.
The job market for future librarians: For the past ten years it has been announced that the job market was going to crack wide open due to many retiring librarians. However, due to the economy and other issues, most elder employees are hanging onto their positions and not retiring. Most well paying and interesting jobs usually require years of professional experience. Many graduates end up accepting jobs that don't pay as much as they should and are usually referred to as Information Technicians. The starting wage for librarians can be $40,000 to $45,000, but it depends on the type of library (e.g. public, university, art museum etc). Obtaining a Masters of Library Science will drastically change your income potential.
Academic libraries like people with foreign language skills, so pick up as many as you can (ancient and modern).
For more information here are a few websites for employment in this area:
Cincinnati Public Libraries (CPL has been hiring very few people lately, the budget has been cut and instead they hire non MLS so they don't have to pay as much).
SWON- Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries. This is actually the best site to see who is hiring in this area. It covers all of the tri-state area including public (like Boone and Kenton in KY, some of Indiana, and most counties in OH), private, special libraries, and universities.