What Do Librarians Do?
Librarians are needed in a number of institutions to help run the day-to-day tasks to keep the library open. You may be working in a stand-alone library, or you could also be employed by a university, museum or government agency. No matter where exactly you work, you can expect to classify, catalogue and maintain all materials within the building. You should be familiar with your employer’s classification system so that you can help anyone find what they need. You can expect to perform a ton of research and be familiar with the library’s database.The need for high-quality librarians is only going to increase as time goes on, and an increase of 7% annually is expected to occur. That means there are going to be around 4,440 job openings a year. There will be plenty of places to get a position, so it is a worthy occupation to get into.
Librarians Skills and Abilities
You will be interacting with the public a lot, so you should possess exceptional customer service skills that would allow you to help everyone in an efficient and friendly manner. You will be using computers quite often, so you need to be familiar with a variety of desktop and laptop computers and know how to troubleshoot issues. This job entails a ton of clerical work, so you should be familiar with your work’s administrative protocols. Excellent communication skills are essential because you will be directing people where they want to go, so you need to convey that information clearly. The ability to order and arrange things according to a pattern should also come naturally to you.
Regardless where you work, you will need to use the internet and your company’s reference system to direct people to the appropriate location. You may also be responsible for teaching people how to use your library’s computer system, so they can find what they need on their own. Additional teaching responsibilities can include leading a class on library literacy. If someone wants to check out a piece of equipment, you should be capable of adequately explaining how to use that technology. Patrons may have questions or complaints, and you should be able to resolve any issue amicably. Some of tasks that are typical include:
- Ordering equipment and materials.
- Writing proposals for grants.
- Writing articles on your area of expertise.
- Recommending materials and books to patrons.
- Planning activities and programs for the library.
- Creating exhibits.
Librarians Tools and Technology
A comprehensive knowledge of computer systems and various types of software is essential for doing this job correctly. However, you should also be familiar with how to use a microfilm viewer and a cash register. Some libraries have a bookmobile, so you may need to learn how to drive that kind of vehicle if need be.
Education and Training for Librarians
Most librarians possess a Master’s degree, and although some individuals are able to get a job with less than that, you will be much better prepared for the tasks expected of you if you go through a Master’s program. You should take instructional programs related to what exactly you want to get into, and those can include youth library services, information science and library science.
Some of the highest paid librarians make $87,100 annually. Again, that is the high end of the scale, and the median salary tends to be closer to $56,200 a year.
Librarians Jobs by Geography
Every state has a need for experienced librarians, but the states with the highest employment levels for this job are New York, Texas and California. Elementary school, local governments and universities have a great need for librarians, so pursue the education you need in order to obtain a position in this industry.