Career Development

Librarian Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Librarians perform a variety of tasks in public, academic, and special libraries. They provide materials and services to patrons in an effort to meet their information needs. Librarians may work with a variety of library materials, including books, journals, CDs, DVDs, and online databases.

Librarians perform a variety of tasks in public, academic, and special libraries. They provide materials and services to patrons in an effort to meet their information needs. Librarians may work with a variety of library materials, including books, journals, media, and online databases.

Librarians may be responsible for selecting, ordering, and maintaining library materials. They may develop and update library collections and databases to ensure that the materials they offer meet the needs of the community. They may also be responsible for keeping the library building neat and clean.

Librarians may work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries.

Librarian Job Duties

The duties of a librarian vary depending on the size and type of library, but they generally include:

  • Providing information and research assistance to patrons using a wide range of resources, including online databases, reference texts, and periodicals
  • Marketing the library through community outreach programs, public speaking engagements, and fundraising
  • Organizing book fairs, book sales, author appearances, and other promotional activities that increase awareness of the library’s resources
  • Assisting patrons with research, reference questions, and interlibrary loan requests
  • Assisting patrons with technology or specialized equipment such as computers and AV equipment
  • Performing clerical tasks such as shelving books and checking out materials
  • Participating in meetings and workshops to discuss policy changes and new technologies related to libraries
  • Maintaining library collections by selecting, acquiring, cataloging, and preserving materials

Librarian Salary & Outlook

As of May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for librarians was $60,820. The top-earning 10% of professionals in the field earned more than $97,460 annually.

This is a growing field, and by 2029, the amount of librarian jobs is expected to grow by 5%. This is due to the increased demand for librarians in schools and other educational facilities, as well as the need for librarians to manage and organize the growing amount of information available in electronic form.

Librarian Job Requirements

The requirements for librarians are as follows:

Education: A master’s degree in library and information science is preferred by most employers. Other master’s degrees that are useful in library positions include information systems, history, or political science.

Certification: Although not required, many employers prefer that their librarians be certified through the American Library Association.

Training: Employers often require training in specific software, such as database management. Many employers offer training in library skills, such as cataloging, reference, and collection development.

Librarian Skills

The following skills are required for this job:

Library science knowledge: Librarians must have a solid understanding of the library’s resources and services, as well as how to locate information within those resources.

Ability to work with people: Librarians must be able to interact with patrons and other staff members.

Strong communication skills: Librarians must be able to communicate effectively with patrons, staff members, and colleagues.

Good listening skills: Patrons often come into the library with questions or concerns that they need help addressing. Librarians must be able to listen carefully and respond appropriately.

Research skills: To help patrons find the information they need, librarians must possess strong research skills.

Librarian Work Environment

Librarians work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, schools, private businesses, museums, and universities. They spend most of their time indoors, but they may also visit other locations to conduct research or to deliver lectures.

The work is challenging and fast-paced. They are required to think critically and creatively, and they must be able to work independently.

Librarian Career Advancement

If you’re willing to take on additional responsibilities and work hard, there are many opportunities for advancement available to you as a librarian. For example, if you are eager to take on leadership roles, you may advance to become a library director, or even a library superintendent or a library services manager. If you are interested in pursuing a more research-oriented role, you may become a reference librarian, a special collections librarian, or a cataloger.

If you decide to take a job outside of a library, you can focus on outreach and community organization, or you might work with a non-profit to spread information about literacy.

Librarian Trends

Here are three trends influencing how Librarians work. Librarians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increased Focus on User Experience

Libraries are focusing more attention on user experience in order to attract new patrons and promote the value of libraries to the general public.

For example, some libraries have introduced social media components into their designs so that users can take advantage of networking opportunities while browsing through library materials.

This trend is likely to continue as libraries move towards an increasingly diverse range of patrons who want to take advantage of all the resources available in the library setting.

Public Libraries as a Vital Resource

In addition to lending books, movies, and music, public libraries have become increasingly important as a vital resource for residents in the digital age.

In fact, the American Library Association estimates that between 2001 and 2010, the circulation of electronic materials grew from 8% to 54% among all libraries nationwide—with book circulation decreasing by almost 30%. This trend is likely to continue as more people look to their local library for information on government resources, healthcare options, and educational programs for children.

Increased Interest in E-Books

E-books are quickly becoming more popular, particularly among younger generations who are growing up with e-readers and tablets. This trend is expected to continue as e-books become more affordable and easier to access.

This will impact librarians, who may need to provide guidance on how to find books online or through the library’s website, but also increase demand for research assistance with e-book content.

How to Become a Librarian

1. Planning Your Career Path

If you love books and research, then a career as a librarian may be the perfect fit for you. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with people who share your interests and will be able to choose a path that best fits your interests and strengths.

For example, some librarians choose to specialize in a particular field of study, while others find success in a more general role. In addition, some librarians are more interested in administrative work while others are drawn to technical tasks like cataloging and repairing books. If you aren’t sure which path to pursue, then take some time to decide which strengths you’d like to develop further and which aspects of the job interest you most.

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for librarians are designed to highlight a candidate’s passion for the profession. To do this, you’ll want to discuss the types of books and materials you enjoy reading and how they relate to your job as a librarian. In addition, you may want to highlight your experience with managing a collection, recommending resources, and communicating with patrons.

It’s also important that you include a list of computer skills relevant to the position. These include things like database management, using search engines, and troubleshooting hardware issues.

3. Applying for Jobs

A librarian is an expert in the field of library science, and as such, can have many different career paths. For example, if you want to work in a public library, check out the American Library Association’s website for job listings. If you’re interested in working in a corporate library, you can find jobs on LinkedIn.  Whatever your interests, make sure you know the ins and outs of the job you’re applying for before you apply.

4. Ace the Interview

As a librarian candidate, you will want to be prepared to discuss the kinds of books you like and what kinds of books your community might need. You should also think about the library’s budget and whether or not it would be appropriate for you to suggest certain purchases. It is also important that you are familiar with cataloging and other aspects of library management.

During the interview, make sure you remember that everything in your professional life is part of your personal brand; this means being friendly, warm, professional, and knowledgeable. Your interviewers will be looking for someone who can act as a role model for their community members as well as create new ideas for attracting more readers/customers. Make sure to have questions ready about what kind of training they offer if they ask (the better libraries offer a lot).


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