Library Technician

As a library technician, you perform many of the same duties as a librarian, spending your days surrounded by books, technology and an abundance of information. Read on to learn more about this paraprofessional position, including employment prospects and the training required to get a job.

Is Becoming a Library Technician for Me?

Job Description

Library paraprofessionals are employed by schools, public libraries, museums, government agencies and law offices. Library technicians conduct research, acquire materials and assist librarians in public and private libraries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), additional duties can include planning library programs, handling loan requests, helping people locate information and supervising other staff members (www.bls.gov). If you work in children's or youth services departments, you may lead story times or programs geared toward teens. Some library technicians perform clerical work or shelve books, but these responsibilities often go to library assistants. According to the BLS, you might start your career as a library technician at the circulation desk. With experience, you can gain additional responsibilities, like budget assessment or departmental management.

Employment Information

In 2012, about 106,200 people worked as library technicians, according to the BLS. The number of employed professionals in this field was expected to increase by eight percent from 2012-2022. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for library technicians was $31,280.

How Can I Become a Library Technician?

Education

Small libraries may only require that you have a high school diploma to start working as a library technician. However, most libraries look for job applicants who have a library technician certificate or associate's degree, according to the BLS. To work in the library of a school that receives special government funding, you may need to have at least two years of training or pass a state exam.

It takes a year or less to complete a library technology certificate program and about two years to complete a library science or library technology associate's degree program. Classes may identify the services libraries offer, the cataloging system and how libraries use reference resources, such as encyclopedias. Additional library technician classes may cover science fiction and fantasy, children's literature, young adult literature and short story collections. If you don't have any typing experience, you may have to take a keyboarding class. Some of these programs require completion of an internship.

Required Skills

Computer skills are a necessity in this field; many libraries have online catalogs and computer-based automation systems. Other requirements include a good eye for detail and the ability to lift and carry books.

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