Get to know library workers

librarian standing on books

National Library Week, April 4-10, 2021, celebrates library staff, library users, administrators, and Friends and other stakeholder groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. At CareerOneStop, we’re celebrating the week by sharing details about what library workers do and how you can learn more about these intriguing careers that combine information resources, research, materials management, and customer service.

The world of libraries

Nationwide, there are more than 9,000 public libraries. Public libraries provide their communities with access to books and other media, computer and Internet use, job search help, and family programs.

Besides public libraries, there are libraries housed in schools and universities, government agencies, and corporations. There are also special libraries that focus on a particular subject matter or client group, that might be housed outside a library setting. Examples include law or medical libraries, music libraries, or military libraries.

What are the types of library workers and what do they do?

There are three general categories of library workers:

Library Assistant jobs typically require a high school diploma and brief on-the-job training. In general, their job duties are these:

  • Compile records, and sort, shelve, issue, and receive library materials such as books, electronic media, pictures, cards, slides and microfilm.
  • Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title.
  • Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.

Library Technician jobs typically require an associate’s degree or a certificate that may be earned online or from a community college. Job duties are to:

  • Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference.
  • Compile records; sort and shelve books or other media; remove or repair damaged books or other media; register patrons; and check materials in and out of the circulation process.
  • Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who assist with providing services in mobile libraries.

Librarian and Media Collections Specialist jobs typically require a masters degree. Their job duties include:

  • Administer and maintain libraries or collections of information, for public or private access through reference or borrowing.
  • Work in a variety of settings, such as educational institutions, museums, and corporations, and with various types of informational materials, such as books, periodicals, recordings, films, and databases.
  • Acquire, catalogue, or circulate library materials.
  • Provide user services such as locating and organizing information, providing instruction on how to access information, and setting up and operating a library’s media equipment.

Learn more about library workers and other occupations you want to explore by watching career videos on CareerOneStop.

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