Library Technician

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Library Technician


It takes a lot of people to run a library. Every library, including government, school, university, rural, and big city libraries, have a lot of staff, including the ever-important library technicians. They work under the supervision of a librarian, and are responsible for a number of aspects of daily library life. They interact with the public, helping them find the items they need to do research, including connecting visitors with computers, finding them articles on microfilm, and locating movies and sound recordings relevant to their topics of study.

Library technicians update databases, entering information into the catalog about the library's new acquisitions. They may oversee checkouts and fines. They also connect with librarians at other locations to arrange for interlibrary loans of certain material. Another important role for the technician is holding information sessions and conducting tours of the library, showing new users all the things the library has to offer. They may demonstrate how to use the Internet, catalog systems, or show where the reference books are kept. They also run children's programs, and create displays for the public.

Library technicians perform all the tasks that are crucial to the running of a library. From renewing magazine subscriptions to maintaining the electronic devices, from helping students find information on essay topics to updating websites, technicians do it all. Without them, libraries wouldn't be as easy and comfortable to use.
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  Interests and Skills  
What skills does it take to become a library technician? They must be excellent communicators, able to interact with both professionals, and the general public. They should be comfortable with computers, enjoy books, and be able to work alone, as well as in a team environment. Library technicians should also enjoy organizing, researching, and presenting information. It is also important that library technicians like helping people on a daily basis.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Help clients access information and materials, using books, newspapers, and online Internet searches
  • Process interlibrary loans
  • Assist with maintenance of databases and web pages
  • Perform library orientations for new users
  • Deliver programs for youth and special groups
  • Remove out-dated, unused materials from the collection
  • Library technicians have hectic days. Usually, they are involved in a number of tasks at once. They may spend some of each day on the library floor, helping visitors locate materials, or performing tours and running programs. They may spend time at a desk in an office, analyzing the library catalog, updating the library website, or entering information into databases. They will search for specific books or items, especially in rare book collections, or law and government libraries, and other libraries where the public is not allowed to venture.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Library technicians work wherever there are libraries. This means they may work in schools, colleges and universities, government libraries, hospital and legal libraries, at newspapers, museums, religious offices, publishing firms, and even bookstores, though the majority of library technicians are employed at public libraries, both large and small, found in cities and rural communities.
  • They usually work in offices, or at desks within the library, surrounded by books and the public. They work in teams with other library technicians, librarians, and volunteers. They can work weekends and evenings if they are employed at public libraries.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Library technicians can become supervisors or managers of smaller libraries or library departments. They can return to school and become librarians, and specialize in reference, youth, or academic libraries. They can work in companies as archivists or catalogers. They can become teachers, writers, researchers, or historians.

  Educational Paths  
Library technicians must complete a two-year diploma program, or have completed at least two years of an undergrad degree in English, English literature, or any other related subject. They should also have some experience with library practices, and computer-based research.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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