11 Types of Library Jobs (With Skills and Requirements)
Updated May 3, 2023
Although most people only think of a librarian when they think of a library, there are many other types of available jobs. Library jobs are perfect for people who love to be around books and work in a quiet environment while helping patrons enjoy their time in the library. In this article, we look at the 11 most popular types of library jobs available, the responsibilities and average salary of each role, and the skills you need to develop for these jobs.
The most popular types of library jobs
If you are considering working in a library, here are some roles available:
National average salary: $34.71 per hour
Primary duties: Librarians help people access information and research services. Librarians usually work in public libraries where they support their community or in educational establishments to assist students. But librarians can also work in law offices, courthouses, museums, and medical facilities. Each industry requires librarians to have specialized knowledge. For example, a medical librarian needs to have a strong understanding of medical terminology to assist physicians properly.
Librarians manage the library's organization and ensure books and media are easy to access. They take inventory and request new materials to keep the library up-to-date. Librarians may also assist patrons with finding books or media and supervise their use of the library's equipment and facilities.
National average salary: $21.73 per hour
Primary duties: Assistant librarians work under head librarians. The number of assistant librarians depends on the size of the library. Assistant librarians have similar roles to their direct supervisors, but their duties are more administrative and focused on customer support.
Assistant librarians help patrons check materials in and out, answer questions, and collect fees for lost or overdue books. They may also register new patrons and update files for existing visitors. If they have time, they help to shelf materials correctly according to the library's filing system.
National average salary: $33.03 per hour
Primary duties: The library manager is in charge of running the entire library. They typically work in a separate office so patrons don't distract them. This helps them focus on managing the library's budget, creating staff schedules, and ensuring the library is running smoothly. Library managers also organize public relations and community events to draw in more patrons or give back to the community.
National average salary: $23.45 per hour
Primary duties: Archivists catalogue, preserve and manage collections of historical information. Not every library has an archivist, only ones with an older collection of books to protect. They usually work at educational establishments to help answer questions and educate students in particular areas of study. When the historical information they're handling is delicate, such as older books or parchment, archivists supervise patrons viewing the material and then ensure they store it safely.
National average salary: $23.04 per hour
Primary duties: Not to be confused with an assistant librarian, library assistants focus on customer service. They help visitors find the material they need or recommend books or media that may be of interest to the visitor. Library assistants also take incoming calls, answer questions, shelf books and materials, and help keep the library organized.
National average salary: $17.81 per hour
Primary duties: Library clerks are similar to library assistants, but they focus on the library's facility and equipment. Library clerks maintain audio-visual equipment and repair damaged books. If the material or equipment is beyond repair, they need to report it to their supervisor to order a replacement. Library clerks also monitor and maintain patron's records to check for any outstanding loans and send out overdue notices.
National average salary: $25.58 per hour
Primary duties: If a library has computers for patrons to use, they typically have a computer technician on their team. Smaller libraries may not have a permanent computer technician but can call one that works at multiple libraries in their community as needed.
Computer technicians set up the computers, install software or hardware updates, maintain the physical equipment, and solve any problems patrons may have. If a computer breaks down, the computer technician tries to fix it. If they can't with the materials at hand, they order the parts to do so or order a replacement computer.
National average salary: $16.12 per hour
Primary duties: Pages put returned books and other items back in the proper areas and ensure the stocked shelves are in order. They may also retrieve material from restricted areas for patrons.
National average salary: $17.55 per hour
Primary duties: Every library needs a janitor. Janitors keep the inside and outside of the facility clean and safe for patrons. They sweep and mop the floor, wipe down surfaces, clean the bathrooms if there are any, and keep pathways and aisles clear of debris and potential hazards like ice. Janitors may also have to make minor plumbing and electrical repairs. If the repair is beyond their skill set, they will help the librarian or library manager call the appropriate tradesperson.
National average salary: $31.64 per hour
Primary duties: Depending on the size of the library, they may have a public relations manager or specialist. A public relations manager advertises the library and draws people in. They ensure everyone in the community knows about the library's facilities and offerings by issuing press releases, creating promotional material, and organizing community events. They may also go to schools or community meetings to talk about the library.
National average salary: $18.67 per hour
Primary duties: Bigger libraries, especially ones in universities, will have security guards posted at the doors and on each floor. This is meant to keep patrons safe and ensure no one is removing equipment or material from the library. It also ensures visitors are acting appropriately in the library and not disturbing other patrons. In some cases, they may stop visitors at the door to check their IDs and bags for weapons or dangerous substances.
Skills you need to work in a library
The exact skills you need to work in a library vary slightly depending on the role, but here are some skills every library professional can benefit from:
Strong organizational skills
Passion for learning and reading
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to go above and beyond for patrons
Computer and internet literacy
Good research skills
Attention to detail
Educational requirements for these types of library jobs
Many jobs in a library are entry-level, such as a janitor, page, library clerk, and library assistant. For these roles, employers look for candidates with a high school diploma or GED and relevant work or volunteer experience. More technical roles, however, have higher education requirements.
Librarians, library managers, and archivists must have a master's degree in a related field, such as library science, archival studies, or library and information studies. Computer technicians must complete a computer technician program and get a degree or diploma. The exact academic requirements vary depending on the specific role, location and employer, so it's best to check specific job postings thoroughly.
How to get a job in a library
If you're interested in pursuing one of these roles in a library, here are some steps you can follow:
1. Look at local job postings
Look through job postings in your community to find a role that interests you. Every job posting should tell you the skills, education, and experience you need for the role. If you don't meet the requirements, consider furthering your education or taking on an entry-level role to develop the necessary skills.
2. Prepare and submit your resume
Once you know what prospective employers are looking for, highlight your relevant skills on your resume. Consider keywords a lot of the job postings have, such as specific credentials or skills, and include them in your resume. Tailor your resume (and cover letter if they ask for one) for every job you apply to. This ensures you're including exactly what the employer is looking for. This helps you stand out among other candidates and secure an interview.
3. Succeed in the interview
If you're invited to an interview, make sure you prepare beforehand. Research the library and potential questions the library manager may ask you. You can then prepare some answers, allowing you to be more confident and highlight your abilities in the interview. Also remember to arrive early or on time and dressed professionally. An interview is your chance to make a good first impression and convince a potential employer that you're the best candidate for the role.
Related: Interview Preparation Tips
Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.
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