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Acquisition Librarian Job Description, Career as a Acquisition Librarian, Salary, Employment

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

Education and Training: Master’s degree in library science

Salary Median: $53,623 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Acquisition librarians are primarily concerned with the acquisition, management, and preservation of resources for a library. They review catalogs of publishers and compile a list of purchases to be made. Selecting and ordering books, periodicals, films, and other relevant material are a major part of these library professionals’ job profile. Acquisition librarians need to check regularly on the placement of orders so as to avoid duplication. They also circulate selection lists to library system departments and branches, and acquisition librarians choose book vendors based on their delivery schedules and discount allowances. In addition, acquisition librarians are in charge of compiling purchase statistics, thereby efficiently balancing budgets.

The other important role of an acquisition librarian is preservation. This goes hand in hand with acquisition and involves thoroughly checking materials to ascertain their physical condition. Once new materials, such as books, videos, DVDs, and periodicals, have been purchased, acquisition librarians need to first determine whether the materials are in usable condition before adding them to the library collection. They are also responsible for reviewing the condition of existing materials and sending them for treatment if necessary.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to become an acquisition librarian, it is essential to have at least a master’s degree in library science. Both one-year and two-year graduate programs are available. It is advisable to opt for a course from a school accredited by the American Library Association. Additionally, it is beneficial to opt for elective courses that focus on growing or key areas like Internet search methods, resources for children, and library administration.

Almost all states have specific certification requirements for librarians working in local libraries or public schools. In some states, candidates need to have a master’s degree in library science or other education with specialization in library media. In addition, teacher certifications may be required. In some states it is mandatory for a librarian to pass an additional comprehensive assessment.

Getting the Job

Acquisition librarians usually start out as apprentices under senior librarians. Entry-level openings in local libraries and organizations are often advertised in newspapers and on Internet job sites. One can also begin by working part-time and gradually moving on to full-time positions. Those interested in working for public libraries can directly approach such places and seek out suitable opportunities.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this career is often dependent on academic qualifications. It is necessary to possess a master’s degree in order to find better opportunities. In some cases, it might be a good idea to learn a foreign language or to specialize in a field like law, business, medicine, sciences, or engineering. Those interested in pursuing a career in a college or university library may find it advantageous to study for a doctorate degree. Experience is also mandatory for advancing to senior administrative positions like that of department head, chief information officer, or library director.

Job prospects for acquisition librarians are expected to be favorable in the next decade. This is because a large percentage of job holders are over the age of 45 and close to retirement. Moreover, nontraditional jobs are on the rise and a lot of private companies are recruiting acquisition librarians because of their skills and expertise. The job market for librarians on the whole is predicted to experience a four-percent growth in the next few years.

Working Conditions

Acquisition librarians work in a wide variety of environments. They may be employed in school, college, or university libraries; corporations; museums; public libraries; nonprofit organizations; law firms; government agencies; and health care providers. Acquisition librarians working in school or college libraries have normal 40-hour work weeks, whereas those in fast-paced industries may frequently be required to work longer hours. The job also involves spending extended hours at computer terminals, which can result in headaches and eyestrain.

Where to Go for More Information

Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship (formerly The Acquisitions Librarian journal)
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
325 Chestnut Street, Suite 800
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Special Libraries Association
331 South Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3501

American Library Association
50 E. Huron
Chicago IL 60611

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary of acquisition librarians in the United States is $53,623. However, as in most other professions, the earnings are largely dependent on the candidate’s experience and place of employment. For instance, entry-level positions are likely to have an annual pay package of around $30,000. On the other hand, experienced acquisition librarians working in the federal government or at universities can earn as much as $120,000 per year.

The benefits of this job include paid leaves and vacations as well as health insurance. Those employed by the government are also likely to enjoy retirement benefits and social security.

Additional topics

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