Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.
What Job Titles Librarians Might Have
- Library Media Specialist
- Public Services Librarian
- Reference Librarian
What Librarians 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 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 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.