Example Career: Librarians and Media Collections Specialists
Administer and maintain libraries or collections of information, for public or private access through reference or borrowing. 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 Job Titles Librarians and Media Collections Specialists Might Have
- Library Media Specialist
- Public Services Librarian
- Reference Librarian
What Librarians and Media Collections Specialists Do
- Analyze patrons' requests to determine needed information and assist in furnishing or locating that information.
- Search standard reference materials, including online sources and the Internet, to answer patrons' reference questions.
- Teach library patrons basic computer skills, such as searching computerized databases.
- Plan and teach classes on topics such as information literacy, library instruction, and technology use.
- Review and evaluate materials, using book reviews, catalogs, faculty recommendations, and current holdings to select and order print, audio-visual, and electronic resources.
- Locate unusual or unique information in response to specific requests.
- Explain use of library facilities, resources, equipment, and services and provide information about library policies.
- Plan and deliver client-centered programs and services, such as special services for corporate clients, storytelling for children, newsletters, or programs for special groups.
- Respond to customer complaints, taking action as necessary.
- Develop library policies and procedures.
- Organize collections of books, publications, documents, audio-visual aids, and other reference materials for convenient access.
- Confer with colleagues, faculty, and community members and organizations to conduct informational programs, make collection decisions, and determine library services to offer.
- Develop, maintain, and troubleshoot information access aids, such as databases, annotated bibliographies, web pages, electronic pathfinders, software programs, and online tutorials.
- Evaluate vendor products and performance, negotiate contracts, and place orders.
- 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.
- 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.
- Represent library or institution on internal and external committees.
- Code, classify, and catalog books, publications, films, audio-visual aids, and other library materials based on subject matter or standard library classification systems.
- Develop and maintain databases that provide information for library users.
- Design information storage and retrieval systems and develop procedures for collecting, organizing, interpreting, and classifying information.
- 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.
- Negotiate contracts for library services, materials, and equipment.
- Arrange for interlibrary loans of materials not available in a particular library.
- Check books in and out of the library.
- Collect and organize books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and other materials in specific fields, such as rare books, genealogy, or music.
- Author or publish professional articles, internal documents, and instructional materials.
- Write proposals for research or project grants.
- Compile lists of overdue materials and notify borrowers that their materials are overdue.
- Plan and participate in fundraising drives.
- Assemble and arrange display materials.
- Perform public relations work for the library, such as giving televised book reviews and community talks.
- Provide input into the architectural planning of library facilities.
What Librarians and Media Collections Specialists Should Be Good At
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
What Librarians and Media Collections Specialists Need to Learn
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- 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.
- 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.