Library Technician: Career Information

Library technician assists a child
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A library technician, usually working under the supervision of a librarian, acquires and organizes material such as books, periodicals and DVDs. He or she helps library patrons locate information. Some library technicians operate bookmobiles which go out into communities to provide services to those who can't get to the public library.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015 library technicians earned a median salary of $32,310 annually or $15.54 per hour.
  • This occupation employed approximately 102,000 people in 2014.
  • Employers include public, school, university, law, medical and corporate libraries.
  • About half of all jobs are part-time positions.
  • Library technicians can expect a good job outlook according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This government agency expects employment to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2024.

Roles and Responsibilities

We looked at job announcements listed on Indeed.com to learn about the job duties of a library technician. Here are some of them:

  • "Provide information service, such as answering questions regarding card catalogs, and assist in the use of bibliographic tools, such as Library of Congress catalog"
  • "Check books and materials in and out at the circulation desk"
  • "Maintain student discipline in the library"
  • "Communicate with a wide variety of patrons by telephone, letter, or electronic means regarding routine and non-routine questions on services to publishers and other specialized library services"
  • "Process print and non-print library materials to prepare them for inclusion in library collections"
  • "Maintain and update databases/inventories of documents"
  • "Remove or repair damaged books or other media"

How to Become a Library Technician

Educational requirements for library technicians range from a high school diploma paired with on-the-job training to a specialized associate degree designed for those entering this field.

An associate degree or post-secondary certificate will make you a more competitive job candidate.

Library technicians need excellent computer skills and must keep up with the continuously changing technology used in libraries. Professional associations offer continuing education workshops to help library technicians keep up with new developments in the field.

What Soft Skills Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

You will acquire the hard skills that will allow you to perform your job in the classroom and through on-the-job training. There are soft skills that are essential to your success in this occupation. You were either born with these personal qualities or can get them through life experiences. They are:

  • Reading Comprehension: The ability to understand documents in order to organize them properly.
  • Active Listening: This skill will allow you to understand patron's needs and coworkers' instructions.
  • Verbal Communication: To answer patrons' questions and instruct them, you will need excellent speaking skills
  • Interpersonal Skills: Strong interpersonal skills will allow you to provide excellent service to patrons and work well with colleagues.

What Will Employers Expect From You?

We again turned to Indeed.com to find out what employers require from job candidates applying for positions in this field.

This is what we found:

  • "Skill in attending to detail"
  • "Ability to follow instructions with exactness and work unsupervised"
  • "Familiarity with Microsoft Office software"
  • "Able to shelve items on top shelves (which could be up to 80" off ground). Step stools are available"
  • "Ability to lift/carry/push/pull up to 25 pounds on a regular basis and up to 50 pounds occasionally"
  • "Able to manage multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment"
  • "Communicate effectively with clients of varied educational levels and backgrounds sufficient to determine and respond to their informational needs"

Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?

Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks

 DescriptionMedian Annual Wage (2014)Minimum Required Education/Training
CuratorAcquires, exhibits and stores collections in a museum

$51,520

Master's Degree
Teacher AssistantProvides extra instruction and attention to students under a teacher's supervision$24,900Associate Degree or 2 Years of College Coursework
Instructional CoordinatorDevelops and coordinates implementation of instructional material in a school$62,270Master's Degree

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 (visited June 6, 2016 ).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online (visited June 6, 2016).

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