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Career profile Librarian

Also known as Audio Visual Specialist, Audio Visual Technician, Catalog Librarian, Instructional Technology Specialist, Librarian, Library Media Specialist, Media Technician, Multimedia Services Coordinator, Reference Librarian, Technical Services Librarian

Librarian

Also known as Audio Visual Specialist, Audio Visual Technician, Catalog Librarian

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Social
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$34,810 - $97,460 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Train faculty and media staff on the use of software and audio-visual equipment.
  • Maintain hardware and software, including computers, media equipment, scanners, color copiers, and color laser printers.
  • Check books in and out of the library.
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What does a Librarian do?

Librarians administer and maintain libraries or collections of information, for public or private access through reference or borrowing.

In addition, Librarians

  • work in a variety of settings, such as educational institutions, museums, and corporations, and with various types of informational materials, such as books, periodicals, recordings, films, and databases,
  • tasks may include acquiring, cataloging, and circulating library materials, and user services such as locating and organizing information, providing instruction on how to access information, and setting up and operating a library's media equipment.

What kind of tasks does a Librarian perform regularly?

Librarians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Check books in and out of the library.
  • Teach library patrons basic computer skills, such as searching computerized databases.
  • Review and evaluate materials, using book reviews, catalogs, faculty recommendations, and current holdings to select and order print, audio-visual, and electronic resources.
  • Search standard reference materials, including online sources and the Internet, to answer patrons' reference questions.
  • Keep up-to-date records of circulation and materials, maintain inventory, and correct cataloging errors.
  • Supervise daily library operations, budgeting, planning, and personnel activities, such as hiring, training, scheduling, and performance evaluations.
  • Analyze patrons' requests to determine needed information and assist in furnishing or locating that information.
  • Plan and teach classes on topics such as information literacy, library instruction, and technology use.
  • Confer with colleagues, faculty, and community members and organizations to conduct informational programs, make collection decisions, and determine library services to offer.
  • Plan and deliver client-centered programs and services, such as special services for corporate clients, storytelling for children, newsletters, or programs for special groups.
  • Code, classify, and catalog books, publications, films, audio-visual aids, and other library materials based on subject matter or standard library classification systems.
  • Respond to customer complaints, taking action as necessary.
  • Explain use of library facilities, resources, equipment, and services and provide information about library policies.
  • Locate unusual or unique information in response to specific requests.
  • Troubleshoot problems with audio-visual equipment.
  • Develop library policies and procedures.
  • Direct and train library staff in duties, such as receiving, shelving, researching, cataloging, and equipment use.
  • Evaluate materials to determine outdated or unused items to be discarded.
  • Develop, maintain, and troubleshoot information access aids, such as databases, annotated bibliographies, web pages, electronic pathfinders, software programs, and online tutorials.
  • Confer with teachers to select course materials and to determine which training aids are best suited to particular grade levels.
  • Engage in professional development activities, such as taking continuing education classes and attending or participating in conferences, workshops, professional meetings, and associations.
  • Compile lists of books, periodicals, articles, and audio-visual materials on particular subjects.
  • Evaluate vendor products and performance, negotiate contracts, and place orders.
  • Arrange for interlibrary loans of materials not available in a particular library.
  • Represent library or institution on internal and external committees.
  • Set up, adjust, and operate audio-visual equipment, such as cameras, film and slide projectors, and recording equipment, for meetings, events, classes, seminars, and video conferences.
  • Assemble and arrange display materials.

The above responsibilities are specific to Librarians. More generally, Librarians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is a Librarian salary?

The median salary for a Librarian is $60,820, and the average salary is $63,560. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Librarian salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Librarians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Librarians earn less than $34,810 per year, 25% earn less than $47,090, 75% earn less than $77,680, and 90% earn less than $97,460.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Librarians is expected to change by 9.1%, and there should be roughly 15,200 open positions for Librarians every year.

Median annual salary
$60,820
Typical salary range
$34,810 - $97,460
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
9.1%

What personality traits are common among Librarians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Librarian are usually higher in their Conventional and Social interests.

Librarians typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Librarians typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Librarian tend to value Relationships, Working Conditions, and Independence.

Most importantly, Librarians very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Librarians strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Librarians strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Librarians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, cooperation, and adaptability/flexibility.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Librarians, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Librarians need?

Many Librarians have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Librarians may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Librarians

  • 0.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 2.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 7.5% completed some college coursework
  • 4.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 23.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 57.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 5.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Librarians

Librarians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, computers and electronics, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Librarians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Librarians

Librarians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Librarians need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Librarians, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Librarians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Librarians frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Librarians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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