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Career and Education Opportunities for Librarians in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for librarians in the Chicago, Illinois area. Currently, 7,570 people work as librarians in Illinois. This is expected to grow 7% to about 8,070 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for librarians are expected to grow by about 7.8%. In general, librarians administer libraries and perform related library services.

The income of a librarian is about $26 hourly or $54,400 annually on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 hourly or $52,530 annually on average. Earnings for librarians are better than earnings in the general category of Libraries and Museums in Illinois and better than general Libraries and Museums category earnings nationally. People working as librarians can fill a number of jobs, such as: business and economics librarian, library technician, and branch or department chief librarian.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a librarian. Given that the most common education level for librarians is a Master's degree, it will take about six years to learn to be a librarian if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.


Librarian video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, librarians administer libraries and perform related library services. They also work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers.

Librarians engage in professional development efforts, such as taking continuing education classes and attending or participating in conferences and associations. They also locate unusual or unique data in response to specific requests. Equally important, librarians have to search standard reference materials, including online sources and the Internet, to respond to patrons' reference questions. They are often called upon to analyze patrons' requests to establish needed data, and help in furnishing or locating that data. They are expected to respond to customer complaints, taking action as needed. Finally, librarians evaluate vendor products and performance and place orders.

Every day, librarians are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for librarians to talk with colleagues and community members and organizations to conduct informational programs, make collection decisions, and decide on library services to offer. They are often called upon to furnish input into the architectural planning of library facilities. They also teach library patrons basic computer skills. They are sometimes expected to inspect and evaluate materials, using book reviews and current holdings, to decide on and order print, audiovisual, and electronic resources. Somewhat less frequently, librarians are also expected to formulate and participate in fundraising drives.

Librarians sometimes are asked to design library policies and procedures. They also have to be able to compile records of books and audiovisual materials on particular subjects and perform public relations work for the library. And finally, they sometimes have to manage interlibrary loans of materials not available in a particular library.

Like many other jobs, librarians must believe in cooperation and coordination and believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Archivist. Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.
  • Audio-Visual Director. Prepare, plan, and operate audio-visual teaching aids for use in education. May record, catalogue, and file audio-visual materials.
  • Curator. Administer affairs of museum and conduct research programs. Direct instructional, research, and public service activities of institution.
  • Elementary School Teacher. Teach pupils in public or private schools at the elementary level basic academic, social, and other formative skills.
  • Library Information Technian. Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books; remove or repair damaged books; register patrons; check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who operate bookmobiles or light trucks that pull trailers to specific locations on a predetermined schedule and assist with providing services in mobile libraries.
  • Museum Technician. Prepare specimens, such as fossils, skeletal parts, and textiles, for museum collection and exhibits. May restore documents or install, arrange, and exhibit materials.


Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Library Science/Librarianship.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a master's degree program in Library Science/Librarianship which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.