Library Circulation Manager: Job Description and Education Requirements

Sep 13, 2019

Library materials are frequently on their way in or out of the building, and someone needs to supervise that process to make sure it goes smoothly. That's the job of the library circulation manager, who is usually not a trained librarian. Circulation managers can enter the profession with a bachelor's degree and sometimes even an associate's degree, though a master's of library science brings advancement opportunities within closer reach.

Essential Information

Library circulation managers oversee the checking out and intake of library materials. They may supervise circulation assistants and help patrons locate materials. A library circulation manager is not a librarian, and they generally need just a bachelor's degree in any subject, although some individuals are hired with associate's degrees if they have taken courses relevant to library work.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; associate's degree may be sufficient in some cases
Projected Job Growth (2018 - 2028)* -3% (for library technicians)
Median Wage (2018)* $16.37 per hour (for library technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Library circulation managers fill the role between librarians and circulation assistants. As such, they have a certain amount of authority in the position; they may supervise full-time and part-time staff as well as volunteers. Responsibilities include both attending and managing the circulation desk at a library, collecting and checking out library materials and directing patrons to standard references or librarians for further assistance. Additionally, they handle inter-library loan requests and search databases to answer patron questions; they also issue new library cards and examine returned books for damage.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The specific salary for library circulation managers is not available. Positions for library technicians, who have similar duties and educational requirements, are predicted to decrease by -3% over the 2018-2028 decade, and the median hourly wage was $16.37 in 2018. In comparison, librarians in had a median salary of $59,050 in 2018. According to the BLS, the increased usage of electronic resources will positively affect growth.

Education Requirements

Circulation managers are not always full librarians and aren't necessarily required to have an MLS degree. Library circulation managers generally must have bachelor's degrees and experience working in libraries; the bachelor's degree might be in any subject. Some circulation managers can find work with only associate degrees, especially if they have completed library-related coursework. Earning an MLS may lead to additional career opportunities, allowing the library circulation manager to become a librarian or attain a higher managerial position.

Library circulation managers spend most of their time working with other circulation staff whom they may manage, and with patrons seeking specific library materials. They also handle some administrative work. A bachelor's degree is a fairly standard requirement to enter this profession, but earning an MLS is a good idea if you're hoping to move into a more senior position within the library.

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