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Library Technician career

Career Description

A Library Technician helps librarians acquire, prepare, and organize materials and help users to find those materials. Library technicians usually work under the supervision of a librarian, although they sometimes work independently. Technicians in small libraries handle a range of duties; those in large libraries usually specialize.

Common Work Tasks

  • Direct library users to standard references, organize and maintain periodicals, prepare volumes for binding, handle interlibrary loan requests, prepare invoices, perform routine cataloguing and coding of library materials, retrieve information from computer databases, and supervise support staff
  • Participate in and help plan reader advisory programs, used-book sales, and outreach programs
  • Design posters, bulletin boards, or displays to inform patrons of library events and services
  • Catalog new acquisitions and oversee the circulation of all library materials
  • Maintain, update, and help customize electronic databases
  • Help to maintain the library’s Web site and instruct patrons in how to use the library’s computers
  • Help patrons register for a library card and check out materials
  • Operate and maintain audiovisual equipment, such as projectors, tape and CD players, and DVD and videocassette players
  • Assist users with microfilm or microfiche readers
  • Teach students to use the library and media center, help teachers obtain instructional materials, and assist students with assignments

Other Job Titles

Library Technicians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Library Technical Assistant
  • Media Aide
  • Library Assistant
  • Instructional Coordinators

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Most libraries prefer to hire technicians who have earned a certificate or associate degree, but some smaller libraries may hire individuals with only a high school diploma.

Many library technicians in public schools must meet the same requirements as teacher assistants. Those in Title 1 schools—schools that receive special funding because of the high percentage of poor students enrolled—must hold an associate or higher degree, have a minimum of 2 years of college, or pass a rigorous State or local exam.

Certification and Licensure
  Associate degree and certificate programs for library technicians include courses in liberal arts and subjects related to libraries. Students learn about library organization and operation and how to order, process, catalogue, locate, and circulate library materials and media. They often learn to use library automation systems. Libraries and associations offer continuing education courses to inform technicians of new developments in the field.

Experience
Given the rapid spread of automation in libraries, computer skills are a necessity. Knowledge of databases, library automation systems, online library systems, online public access systems, and circulation systems is particularly valuable. Many bookmobile drivers must have a commercial driver’s license.

Salary

The median annual salary for a Library Technician is $28,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $44,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $16,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of library technicians are:

  • Local Government - $48,650
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $31,280
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $33,480
  • Other Information Services - $34,680
  • Junior Colleges - $34,130

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  8%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 10,000
  • Employment 2006 : 121,000
  • Employment 2016:  132,000
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