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Library Technicians Job Description, Career as a Library Technicians, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median— $26,560 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Library technicians work under librarians to prepare, acquire, and organize materials in libraries. They help users with the standard references, carry out routine coding and cataloguing of library materials, maintain periodicals, retrieve information from computer databases, prepare invoices, and take care of interlibrary loan requests. Library technicians may also have to supervise the support staff. They often have other occupational titles like media aides and library technical assistants.

In general, library technicians handle various additional tasks related to the marketing of library services. These include planning advisory programs for readers, outreach programs, designing posters to advertise the events and services of the library, and also conducting used-books sales. Also, with the increasing use of computers in libraries, library technicians have to be well versed with usages of the Internet, electronic sources, and virtual libraries. They may be responsible for maintaining, customizing, and updating electronic databases as well as the library’s website.

Job roles of library technicians vary in accordance with the kind of library they work in. Those in small libraries tend to have more responsibilities than those in larger ones. Similarly, those working in school libraries have responsibilities that are different from those in corporate libraries. For instance, library technicians in schools help teachers with instruction materials and also encourage students to use the media center. In contrast, those in corporate libraries, medical center libraries, or research laboratory libraries, are responsible for conducting literary searches, preparing abstracts, and compiling bibliographies.

Education and Training Requirements

Library technicians are usually required to possess at least a high school diploma. However, the requirements for academic qualifications vary from one employer to the other. Libraries tend to prefer candidates having an associate’s degree or a certificate. On the other hand, Title 1 schools recruit either library technicians with a college degree, or those who have cleared a state or local examination.

Library technicians can opt for degree programs in liberal arts or library-related subjects. These courses teach students the methods of ordering, processing, locating, cataloguing, and circulating library materials, as well as library operation and organization. One can also opt for specialized programs that teach the use of library automation systems.

Getting the Job

Candidates interested in entering the profession can approach the state library agencies for information on job openings. The requirements and job opportunities in this field are also available at the state departments of education. Besides, one can search on the Internet, or enroll in a job portal where private organizations, educational institutes, as well as government agencies advertise job openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Library technicians in entry level positions are mostly assigned circulation desk duties. They are responsible for checking books in and out, stocking shelves, and answering the queries of the public. With experience, library technicians can take on more responsibilities like verifying and storing information, acquiring new library materials, and making decisions related to budgets. Some library technicians go on to become supervisors and may even have the charge of the day-to-day operation of an entire library. Having a bachelor’s or master’s degree in library science can prove to be of great help for those wishing to become librarians.

Continuing education is an important aspect of this profession. Those wishing to find better opportunities should keep themselves updated about the latest technologies and computer softwares that are used in libraries. Basic computer skills and knowledge of online library systems, databases, online public access systems, library automation systems, and circulation systems is necessary. Library technicians can attend these continuing education courses in libraries and other associations.

Working Conditions

Library technicians spend most of their work hours at desks and in front of computers. Those employed in school media centers or libraries generally work only during the school hours. However, those in public or university libraries, or in corporate libraries, may have to work during evenings and also on weekends and holidays. Also, long hours in computer terminals can result in eyestrain and headaches.

Library technicians may also be working in bookmobiles. Their job profile includes travelling extensively, and also helping out the elderly patrons or handicapped customers. Their work timings depend largely on their respective service areas.

Where to Go for More Information

American Library Association, Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Council on Library/ Media Technology
P.O. Box 42048
Mesa, AZ 85274-2048

Human Resources Office, Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE.
Washington, DC 20540-2231

Council on Library and Information Resources
1752 N Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

Earnings and Benefits

The median yearly salary of library technicians, as per data published in May 2006, was $26,560. Local government employed the maximum number of library technicians, and the median annual salary for these technicians was $25,610. Those employed in information services reported median annual wages of $23,420, while those in colleges, professional schools, and universities earned about $29,950 every year.

Library technicians enjoy excellent benefit programs including paid leaves and holidays, generous retirement plans, flexible work schedules, and health and life insurance.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training