Library Technicians Overview
Job prospects for library technicians will be good, especially for those who have completed a certificate or an associate’s degree from a library assistant/technician program. Computer skills and improvements in technology help library technician perform certain skills and tasks.
Nature of the Work for Library Technicians
Working under the supervision of a librarian or independently, most library technicians help by acquiring, preparing, and organizing materials for the library as well as assisting others. Due to technological advancements, a library technician’s duties will constantly evolve and change. Other titles for a library technician can include media aide, library media assistant, circulation assistant, or library technical assistant.
Library technicians can be responsible for working with library programs, acquiring new materials, and overseeing a lower level staff. They can also interact with users by directing them to standard references and periodicals as well as prepare invoices or loan requests.
Library technicians working at a circulation desk may help loan and collect books as well as other materials such as videotapes and periodicals. They may also sort through returned books and periodicals and replace them where they belong. Library technicians can also check for damages and repairs. Computer work may also be necessary to communicate with other libraries and performing computer searches.
Library technicians tend to perform less clerical work thanks to the automation of recordkeeping. Libraries that offer self-service registration areas allow library technicians to spend less time recording and inputting records.
Some library technicians will help those with vision problems to locate books and other materials. They can also help set up and plan reader advisory programs, used-book sales, and other forms of outreach.
Some library technicians will be responsible for maintaining audiovisual equipment, like projectors and CD players, while some can assist with microfilm and microfiche readers.
Library technicians working in school libraries may encourage students to use the library or media center and help students with assignments. Some library technicians work for libraries maintained by law firms, museums, government agencies or medical centers. The work could include compiling biographies or conducting literature searches.
Bookmobiles, often run by library technicians, help bring books to places anywhere from apartment complexes or shopping centers. Library technicians may be responsible for answering questions, calculating mileage or running the entire bookmobile.
Sitting for long periods, lifting, carrying books or climbing ladders to reach high stacks can all be apart of the jobs for a library technician. Library technicians working in bookmobiles may have to work with elderly patrons or handicapped patrons as well.
Library technicians working in schools usually work regular hours while those working in public or college/university libraries may have to work holidays, nights or weekends. Around 61 percent of library technicians work part time for those looking to create a flexible schedule, such as students or retirees.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Library Technicians
Most of the training for a library technician is learned on the job since no formal education is required. Most employers prefer to hire library technicians who have obtained an associate’s degree or certificate while smaller libraries only require a high school diploma.
Students obtaining an associate’s degree or certificate usually take courses in liberal arts and will learn basics such as library organization, processing, and library materials. Library technicians will often learn about library automation systems and how to use them.
Knowledge of databases, library automation systems, public access systems and computer skills are essential for library technicians.
Advancements for library technicians usually involve taking on more responsibilities. Library technicians can advance to supervisory positions be in charge of their specific department. Library technicians who receive a graduate degree in library sciences are qualified to become librarians.
Top 10 Most Popular Librarian Assistant/Technician Schools
1. College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)
2. Central Carolina Community College (Sanford, North Carolina)
3. Pasadena City College (Pasadena, California)
4. Palomar College (San Marcos, California)
5. Mesa Community College (Mesa, Arizona)
6. Northampton Community College, Bethlehem (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
7. Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, California)
8. City College of San Francisco, San Francisco (San Francisco, California)
9. San Bernardino Valley College (San Bernardino, California)
10. Joliet Junior College (Joliet, Illinois)
Employment and Job Outlook for Library Technicians
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).
Out of the 111,390 jobs held by library technicians, nearly half were employed by local governments. Library technicians with postsecondary training will have better job opportunities
The demand for library technicians is due to the increased use of library automation and the simplification of tasks due to electronic information systems usually performed by librarians. Budget pressures and slow enrollment growth can also affect jobs for library technicians working in educational institutions. It may also have the reverse effect due to the fact that library technicians are paid less than librarians, hence the need to hire library technicians over librarians.
Earnings and Salary for Library Technicians
Median hourly wages of library technicians are $14.22. The middle 50 percent earn between $10.91 and $18.21. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $8.44, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $22.47.
Salaries of library technicians in the Federal Government average $45,480.
Annual Salary for Library Technicians
On average, Library Technicians earn $29,570 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook