Career Development

What Does a Librarian Do?

Find out what a librarian does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a librarian.

Librarians are responsible for managing the information resources of their institution. They work to ensure that all of the materials in their library are properly organized and easily accessible. This includes books, periodicals, electronic databases, videos, etc.

Librarians also play an important role in helping patrons find the information they’re looking for. They commonly provide reference services, either in person or over the phone. Librarians may also be tasked with developing new programs and initiatives to help their library better serve its community.

Librarian Job Duties

Librarians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Establishing policies and procedures for the library to ensure that it runs smoothly
  • Recruiting and hiring new staff members to meet the needs of the library
  • Recommending materials for purchase based on their suitability for the library’s collection
  • Conducting computer workshops or classes on using online databases
  • Resolving patron inquiries via phone or email, often in conjunction with the library director or another staff member
  • Developing and implementing programming to promote literacy and encourage community involvement
  • Providing reference services to patrons by answering questions about library resources and materials
  • Communicating with publishers regarding new titles that may be added to the collection
  • Coordinating the selection process for new materials with other staff members, including librarians, library trustees, and community members who serve on selection committees

Librarian Salary & Outlook

Librarian salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of library they work in. They may also earn additional compensation through bonuses or overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $102,000 ($49.04/hour)

The employment of librarians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for librarians will stem from an increasing demand for information and a growing interest in digital collections and electronic resources. Librarians will be needed to help patrons navigate the large amount of information available online and in digital formats. In addition, as more people do research online, librarians will be needed to teach patrons how to evaluate the quality of information found on the Internet.

Librarian Job Requirements

There are several requirements for obtaining a position as a librarian, including:

Education: Librarians need at least a bachelor’s degree to work in this field. However, most employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in library science.

Many aspiring librarians choose to earn a degree in a related field, such as English, history or computer science. Courses in these programs can help prepare students for the challenges of a master’s program in library science.

Training & Experience: Librarians receive most of their training through formal education, but they may also receive on-the-job training in the form of an orientation period with a new employer. During this period, they learn the organization’s policies and procedures and become familiar with the library’s resources and services.

Certifications & Licenses: Some states or institutions may have certification or licensure requirements, so you should research the typical requirements in your desired area of employment.

Librarian Skills

Librarians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Information literacy: Information literacy is the ability to find and interpret information. Librarians need to have strong information literacy skills to help patrons find the right resources for their research needs. Librarians also use information literacy to teach patrons how to find and interpret information on their own.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable manner. As an information technology (IT) support staff member, you may be required to communicate with patrons over the phone or in person. As a reference librarian, you may be required to communicate with patrons through email.

Organization: Organization is another skill that can help LIS professionals succeed in their careers. Librarians often have many tasks to complete in a day, so it’s important for them to be able to prioritize and organize their work. This can help them to meet their professional goals and maintain a clean and efficient work environment.

Technology: Librarians often use technology to help patrons find information, navigate library resources and use library technology. Knowing how to use technology and the various types of technology available can help librarians be successful in their careers.

Teaching: As a library technician, you may be required to teach patrons how to use library resources. As an information technology (IT) librarian, you may be required to teach patrons how to use new technology. As a school librarian, you may be required to teach students how to use the library and how to find information.

Librarian Work Environment

Librarians typically work in well-lit, comfortable offices or public areas in libraries. They may work for long periods sitting at a desk or computer, or they may be on their feet for long periods while shelving books or other materials. They may work full time or part time, and their hours may vary depending on the needs of the library. Librarians typically work during the day, but they may also work evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of library patrons. Librarians who work in public libraries may be required to work some evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of library patrons. Librarians who work in school libraries typically have the same hours as the school day, but they may also be required to work some evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of library patrons.

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.

The Role of Libraries in the Community is Changing

The role of libraries in the community is changing as more and more people are using them for more than just reading.

Libraries are now being used as a place to get work done, meet with friends, and even host events. This means that librarians need to be prepared to provide services beyond just lending books. They need to be able to help patrons find information, set up meetings, and manage events.

More Focus on Outreach and Collaboration

As libraries continue to evolve, they are placing a greater focus on outreach and collaboration. This trend is driven by the increasing demand for digital resources, which can only be provided through partnerships with other institutions.

Librarians who are able to collaborate with others will be in high demand, as they will be able to create networks that allow for the sharing of resources and ideas. In addition, librarians who are able to develop strong relationships with their communities will be better positioned to receive funding for projects that benefit everyone involved.

Data Science Becomes More Important

As data science becomes more important, librarians will need to learn how to use this technology to their advantage.

Librarians have always been responsible for organizing and managing information, but in today’s world, they also need to be able to analyze and understand the data that they are working with. By learning data science, librarians can become more efficient and effective at their jobs.

How to Become a Librarian

A career as a librarian can be incredibly rewarding. It offers the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, and to help them find the information they need to succeed. As a librarian, you will have the chance to work with a variety of materials, including books, journals, videos, and digital resources. You will also have the opportunity to develop new services and programs that meet the needs of your community.

To become a librarian, you will need a degree in library science. There are many different ways to get this degree, so you should research your options carefully before making a decision. Once you have your degree, you can continue your education by taking courses in specialized areas of librarianship.

Related: How to Write a Librarian Resume

Advancement Prospects

Librarians advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility, either by assuming additional duties or by being promoted to a position with more authority. Many librarians start out as assistants, working under the supervision of a more experienced librarian. With time and experience, they may be promoted to positions such as head librarian, department head, or library director.

Librarians with advanced degrees may also find opportunities to move into related fields, such as information science or archives management. Some librarians may also choose to become involved in library administration, such as working in a library system office or as a consultant.

Librarian Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe in the power of knowledge. Our librarians are responsible for organizing and managing our vast collection of books, magazines, newspapers, and other materials, as well as providing expert research assistance to our patrons. We’re looking for an experienced librarian to join our team and help us continue to provide excellent service to our community. The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree in library science, as well as experience working with a variety of library software programs. He or she will be passionate about books and reading, and will have a strong commitment to public service.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain the library’s collection of books, magazines, newspapers, and other materials
  • Keep track of new additions to the collection and remove outdated or damaged items
  • Help patrons find the information they need by providing reference services and orientations to the library’s resources
  • Select and order new materials for the library based on patron requests and suggestions
  • Develop and maintain the library’s website and social media presence
  • Create and manage digital content, including e-books, databases, and online research tools
  • Plan and implement programs and events for all ages, such as story times, book clubs, and author talks
  • Work with school teachers and administrators to support the curriculum and promote reading
  • Advocate for the library in the community, seeking funding from local businesses and government agencies
  • Manage the library’s budget and prepare reports on its activities
  • Supervise a staff of library assistants and volunteers
  • Stay up-to-date on developments in the library field by attending conferences and workshops and reading professional journals

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited institution
  • 3+ years professional experience working in a library
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Commitment to lifelong learning

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 5+ years professional experience working in a library
  • Experience with collection development
  • Experience developing and presenting programs for adults and/or children
  • Knowledge of foreign languages
  • Grant writing experience

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