Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Do you enjoy being around books? Do you enjoy helping people to find their literary matches? A career in the library field can be both fulfilling and challenging. What many people are not aware of is that most of the staff working in libraries are not truly “librarians”. A Librarian is a specific job title; however, there are a wide range of other positions available within a system depending upon the library size.
Library pages are the least technical positions available and are usually not located at smaller libraries. Pages are out in the stacks; however, they have very little if any contact with patrons. Their primary responsibility is to shelve the many books and materials utilized by patrons. They may also be assigned special tasks such as putting out new periodicals. Library Page positions often require that an applicant be at least 15-16 years of age and able to work up until 9 p.m.
Library Service Technicians / Library Assistants
Have you ever considered working at a library circulation desk? Library Services Technicians and Library Assistant staff the circulation desks, especially in larger libraries. Library Service Technicians perform a wide range of tasks including; check books in and out, collect overdue fines from patrons and answer phones.
A series of levels exist within the Library Services Technician field, usually from Library Services Technician I through IV. Responsibilities’ increase at the higher position levels. Library Service Technician IV’s are also considered to be Library Circulation Supervisors. Library Service Technician IV’s can hire, train and schedule circulation staff. Library Service Technicians can also work at the Library Information Desks as well, though their responsibilities’ may not be as detailed as a librarian.
The amount of education required for Library Service Technician positions are dependent upon the level of work. Most entry level positions require little more than a high school diploma. Upper level tech positions can require an Associate’s Degree in liberal arts or business administration.
The average salary for a Library Service Technician position is about $14.36 per hour and can go as high as $27.00 per hour according to O’Net’s website.
Most patrons will call everyone who works in a library, a librarian. This is not the case. Librarians do, however, hold a number of jobs within a library system. Librarians staff the information desk in larger libraries; they are also the branch manager or administrator. Librarians can also work behind the scenes in cataloguing or other departments responsible for material selection. Librarians require a master’s degree from an ALA accredited school.
While some may think that working in a library pays small change, think again. Even a library page in a larger market can earn over $10.00 per hour. A librarian can earn over $100K per year depending on the market and their tenure.
As the workforce grows older, the number of “true” librarians is on the decline. Fewer students are pursing their Master’s in Library Sciences (MLS) as a career. What does this mean for the future? Librarians will be in higher demand as are signing up for their MLS. Is it possible to have a career in the library without obtaining a Master’s Degree? Absolutely, many library employees find job satisfaction assisting patrons who share their love of reading.
If you have a love for books and helping patrons enjoy the world of books and literature, consider a career in the library field.