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Schools for Aspiring Library Technicians: How to Choose

Library technicians aid librarians with acquisitions, cataloging and providing customer service to the public. Community colleges offer library technician certificate programs and associate degree programs across the U.S.

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Those interested in working as a library assistant can find education at the associate degree level or certificate level at a number of institutions. The program you select will largely depend on your existing qualifications as well as your future plans.

Schools with Library Technician Programs

Library technician programs are offered at both colleges and universities in disciplines like library science or library technology.

College/University Location Institution Type Certificates/Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Santa Ana College Santa Ana, CA 2-year, Public Less than one year Certificate, Associate $1,142 (in-state), $6,902 (out-of-state)
University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate, Bachelor's $7,448 (in-state), $16,688 (out-of-state)
Spokane Falls Community College Spokane, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,388 (in-state), $8,726 (out-of-state)
Illinois Central College East Peoria, IL 2-year, Public Less than one year Certificate, Associate $4,050 (in-district), $8,700 (in-state), $10,050 (out-of-state)
Minneapolis Community and Technical College Minneapolis, MN 2-year, Public Less than one year Certificate, Associate $5,366
Long Beach City College Long Beach, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,182 (in-state), $7,398 (out-of-state)
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Less than one year certificate $3,766 (in-state), $8,374 (out-of-state)
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2-year, Public Less than one year Certificate, Associate $1,598 (in-state), $7,554 (out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics and school websites

School Selection Criteria

In a library technician program, students will learn a variety of skills, including how to help with library acquisitions, catalog materials and assist library patrons. Things to consider when choosing a school include:

  • Students should look for programs that are aligned with the American Library Association guidelines.
  • When deciding between a certificate and degree program, students should consider endorsement opportunities; associate degree programs may offer endorsements in K-12 libraries or media application.
  • Most librarians are required to have at least a master's degree, so a bachelor's degree program may be the best option for students wishing to go that route.
  • Internships may give aspiring library technicians the opportunity to network with library directors, which could lead to job opportunities after graduation, but they may also be required to graduate.

Certificate Programs

Library technician certificate programs usually require between 18-21 credit hours and can be completed in one year. Many programs do not have internships built into the curriculum.

Associate Degree Programs

A library technician associate degree program will require students to take general education courses, which may include math and business, in addition to library specific courses. Students may also be required to complete an internship.

Whether you choose a library technician certificate or associate degree program, you should consider how the program fits with your career plans as well as whether or not the program provides opportunities for internships and/or endorsement opportunities.

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