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Academic Librarian

"I know exactly where to find the information you require. I select, develop, catalogue and classify library resources in a way that ensures ease and efficiency. I answer questions, direct library users and manage the data they are looking for. I always have an answer at hand."

Salary Range:

$49,000 - $78,000

The Tip

Be different and do one thing every year that causes people to ask, “So, why did you do that?”

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Formulate research questions

  • Critically analyze literature in a variety of subject areas within psychology or the broader social sciences

  • Develop and execute qualitative research

Contextual Knowledge
  • Able to relate to a wide range of individuals

  • Understanding of context and values of audiences

  • Understanding of topics and themes as they relate to an audience


Additional Skills
  • Strong organizational skills

Excel in defined core transferable skills with a focus on transdisciplinary systems thinking, adaptive thinking, communication, organizational and interpersonal skills

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Sensitivity to how communication is shaped by circumstances, authorship and intended audience

  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Write for a specific audience


Inter-personal Skills
  • Work with diverse populations

  • Support individuals to discuss difficult topics for their classes or research

  • Empathetic

Intra-personal Skills
  • Manage stress both personally and of others

  • Calm during a crisis—especially helpful with the stress students find themselves under at the end of term

Self-aware, able to manage biases

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

  • Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS)

  • Ongoing professional development


I’ve always loved working with children and teaching. I decided to pursue a psychology degree to develop my core research and written communication skills and to provide myself options for graduate school as I was uncertain whether I wanted to do a Master of Arts in Psychology or a Master of Library & Information Science. In my final year of my psychology degree, I decided to become a professional librarian.

Employment Experiences:
  • I worked at a public library as a volunteer for teen fiction purchases while I was in high school

  • Teacher’s assistant (TA) in the U.K. for 12 months

  • I was a virtual reference intern with the Virtual Librarian Service

  • I was a camp counsellor for two summers in university. In my second summer I was a coordinator with a staff of eight counsellors.

  • I worked at the university library I attended as an undergraduate. I worked my way up from shelving books at night to working part time at the circulation desk for my last two years as a psychology major.


Being a full-time librarian is rare, as many positions are part time. I knew I needed to differentiate myself from my peers who had identical educational backgrounds. My combination of volunteering, plus my work with children as a camp counsellor and TA differentiated me from my competitors.


Community Experiences:
  • Volunteered at the local public library from age 12. I was hired part time when I was 15.

  • On the board of a literacy nonprofit


Volunteering in the library system created great opportunities for me to build relationships in the industry and diversify my contextual experiences.


Contextual Experiences:
  • I took a year off from university to become a teacher’s assistant in an elementary school for kids with special needs in the U.K.

  • I’ve traveled to 14 countries


My parents thought I was crazy to take a year off school and move to the U.K. for work. I worked for basically minimum wage and lived in a dorm room, but the experience was invaluable. My goal was to test-drive if I wanted to become a psychologist working with children or a librarian. Though I loved it, it confirmed my desire to pursue a career as a librarian.

  • I had senior professional mentors in the library from a young age


My professional mentors have made a huge impact on my career. My guides were the librarians I worked alongside from age 12 and they supported my key decisions later on. They were the ones that recommended psychology as a major and recommended taking a year off to work as a TA overseas. They also were my references to get into graduate school and ultimately I was hired full time by one of my mentors following graduation with my master’s degree.

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