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Library Technician: Job Outlook & Career Information

Mar 29, 2019

Library technicians assist librarians with their duties, which typically include the organization, preparation, and location of various library materials, as well as providing services to patrons. Continue reading to learn about required education and skills, career outlook and salaries for library technicians.

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Career Definition for Library Technicians

Library technicians perform a broad range of tasks, typically under the direction of a librarian. In addition to circulation and some clerical duties, these can include cataloging and maintaining books and periodicals, processing new materials, handling interlibrary loan requests, and enforcing library procedures. Library technicians may also customize electronic databases, maintain the library's website, and assist patrons with computerized resources. Marketing library services and publicizing outreach programs and events, such as book clubs, may also be part of their responsibilities.

Required Education Associate's degree or certificate in library technology or related field
Job Skills Process new materials, handle interlibrary loans, enforce procedure, organizational skills
Median Salary (2017)* $33,690
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 9% (all library technicians and assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most libraries prefer to hire library technicians who have earned a certificate or an associate's degree in library technology or a related field. Smaller libraries may hire library assistants with only a high school diploma. Because of state funding laws, many library technicians employed in public schools must hold an associate's degree or higher and pass a rigorous exam, according to the American Library Association (www.ala.org).

Skills Required

Library technicians must have a passion for books and information, be organized and efficient, and be able to apply new technology to old practices. Library technicians must enjoy assisting others and have patience with patrons, who are often elderly and require additional assistance when using technology.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of library technicians and assistants is expected to increase as fast-as-average, by 9%, between 2016 and 2026. The BLS reported that the median annual salary of a library technician was $33,690 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Librarians

Library technicians who are interested in becoming librarians, and who already hold a bachelor's degree, will need to pursue a Master of Library Science. In addition to training and supervising library assistants and technicians, librarians' responsibilities can include researching and ordering new library equipment and materials, such as books and computers. They might also plan programs, prepare the library's budget, and provide research assistance to patrons. Between 2016 and 2026, employment opportunities for librarians nationwide are anticipated to increase by an average rate of 9%, as reported by the BLS. As of May 2017, librarians earned median annual wages of $58,520, stated the BLS.

Teaching Assistants

While it is possible to qualify for a job as a teacher assistant with a high school diploma, an associate degree or equivalent college experience may be required by some school districts. Job duties usually include supervising students in the classroom, as well as on field trips, in cafeterias, and on the playground. Teacher assistants also help students with their in-class assignments, calculate grades, and take daily attendance. An 8%, or fast as average, increase in teacher assistant jobs nationwide is expected from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. In May 2017, teacher assistants received median annual wages of $26,260.

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