Library Technician Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Library Technician Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $37,600 Hourly Rate: $18.08

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best College Majors for Library Technicians in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Library Technician:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening
2021203178,20074,900-4%10700

Library Technician Career Path Overview

As a library technician, you play a pivotal role in the functioning of libraries, assisting librarians and patrons with various tasks. This career path offers a wealth of opportunities for those who are passionate about books, information, and community service.

Education and Training Requirements

Typically, the minimum education requirement for a library technician is a high school diploma, but many employers prefer applicants with an associate’s degree or a certificate in library technology. These programs often cover topics such as library operations, cataloging, information resources, and computer technology. Furthermore, having a bachelor's degree in library science or a related field can provide an edge in job competition and open up advancement opportunities.

Certification and Licensing

While not always required, certification can demonstrate a higher level of competence and could lead to more job opportunities. For example, the American Library Association (ALA) offers certification programs for library technicians. Additionally, some states require library technicians working in public schools to have a specific license.

Essential Skills and Qualities

Library technicians must possess strong organizational skills to manage books and other materials. They also need excellent customer service skills to assist patrons. Proficiency in computer systems used in libraries is another essential skill. Library technicians should also have good attention to detail and be able to work independently.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of library technicians is projected to grow at a slower rate than the average for all occupations over the next decade. However, job prospects should be favorable due to the need to replace workers who retire or leave the profession. The median annual wage for library technicians was $35,420 in May 2019. Those working in colleges, universities, and professional schools earned the highest median wage, while those in local government, excluding education and hospitals, earned the lowest.

Advancement Opportunities

With additional education and experience, library technicians can advance to become librarians or library managers. Some might choose to specialize in a particular area, such as technical services or children's services. Others might opt to work in a different type of library, such as a law or corporate library, where they can leverage their specialized knowledge.

Library Technician Career Path Education and Training

As a highly sought-after role in the field of library science, becoming a Library Technician requires specific education and training. This journey often involves acquiring a post-secondary degree, gaining hands-on experience, and sometimes obtaining certification.

Post-Secondary Education

To start your journey as a Library Technician, it is generally recommended to pursue a post-secondary education. Many employers prefer candidates who have an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in library science or a related field. Courses in these programs typically cover areas such as cataloguing, classification, information resources, library management, and library technology.

Hands-On Experience

Practical experience is also a crucial part of becoming a Library Technician. Many degree programs incorporate internships or practicums into their curriculum, which allow students to gain hands-on experience in a library setting. These opportunities can provide exposure to the day-to-day operations of a library, from organizing resources and assisting patrons to using library-specific software and technology.

Certification and Continuing Education

While not always required, some employers may prefer Library Technicians who hold professional certification. For example, in the United States, the American Library Association (ALA) offers a certification program for Library Technicians. Earning this certification can demonstrate your competency and commitment to the profession. In addition to initial education and certification, ongoing professional development is important in this field. As library technologies and systems evolve, it's important for Library Technicians to stay up-to-date through continuing education courses, workshops, webinars, or conferences. In summary, the path to becoming a Library Technician involves acquiring relevant educational qualifications, gaining practical experience through internships or similar opportunities, and potentially obtaining professional certification. Continuing education is also key to stay abreast of emerging trends and technologies in the field.

Library Technician Career Path Progression

The career path for a Library Technician is diverse and exciting, with opportunities to advance and specialize in different areas of librarianship. With the right combination of education, experience, and passion, you can progress from an entry-level position to higher roles within the library system.

Starting Out: Entry-Level Positions

Starting out as a Library Technician often involves working in entry-level positions. These can range from Library Assistant or Associate roles where you'll gain hands-on experience in cataloging, circulation, and assisting patrons. During this phase, you'll acquire essential skills like effective communication, attention to detail, and knowledge of library management systems.

Mid-Career Opportunities

After gaining some years of experience in the field, many Library Technicians progress to mid-level positions such as Senior Library Technician or Library Supervisor roles. These positions involve more responsibility, including overseeing junior staff, managing budgets, planning events, and contributing to policy development. In these roles, you'll need to demonstrate leadership skills, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of library operations.

Specialization

Library Technicians can also choose to specialize in a particular area of librarianship. For instance, you might choose to focus on children's librarianship, academic librarianship, or digital librarianship. Specialization often requires additional training or certification but can lead to roles like Children's Librarian Technician or Digital Services Librarian Technician. These roles allow you to dive deeper into specific areas of interest and offer unique opportunities for professional growth.

Advanced Career Opportunities

With significant experience and potentially further education (such as a Master's degree in Library Science), Library Technicians can advance to top-tier roles like Library Manager or Director. In these positions, you'll have the opportunity to shape the strategic direction of a library, manage a large team, and make impactful decisions that affect your community. These roles require a comprehensive understanding of library operations, strong leadership skills, and a passion for promoting literacy and learning. To sum up, the Library Technician career path offers a variety of opportunities for progression and specialization. Whether you're starting out or looking to advance your career, there's always room to learn and grow in this dynamic field.

Library Technician Career Path Specializations and Subfields

As a field with a wide scope, the career path of a library technician offers various specializations and subfields. These allow you to specialize in areas that interest you the most, providing opportunities for career advancement and personal development.

Academic Library Technician

In the academic sphere, library technicians work in colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning. They assist students and faculty with research, maintain academic databases, and may even help with curriculum development. A deep understanding of specific academic fields can be beneficial in this role.

Public Library Technician

Public library technicians are crucial in making library resources accessible to the community. They organize and manage materials, assist patrons in finding information, and often participate in community outreach programs. Strong interpersonal skills and a passion for public service are key traits for success in this role.

School Library Technician

School library technicians work in elementary, middle, and high schools, promoting literacy and encouraging students' love for reading. They assist in selecting age-appropriate materials, help students with research projects, and often collaborate with teachers to support classroom instruction.

Special Library Technician

Special library technicians work in non-traditional settings such as corporations, law firms, medical facilities, or government agencies. They manage specialized collections and assist users in accessing specific information related to the organization's field. This role often requires knowledge of the specific industry or subject matter.

Technical Services Library Technician

Technical services library technicians focus on the behind-the-scenes tasks that keep a library running smoothly. They catalog and process new materials, maintain databases, and manage digital resources. Attention to detail and strong organizational skills are crucial for this role.

Digital Collections Library Technician

As libraries continue to adapt to the digital age, digital collections library technicians are becoming increasingly important. They manage a library's digital assets, ensuring that e-books, databases, and other digital resources are accessible to patrons. This role requires strong technical skills and a familiarity with digital media formats.

Archival Technician

Archival technicians work in historical libraries, museums, or other institutions that maintain historical documents and artifacts. They help to preserve, catalog, and provide access to these materials. A background in history or a related field can be beneficial in this role. Each of these specializations offers a unique way to serve different communities while utilizing your skills as a library technician. By exploring these subfields, you can find the path that best aligns with your career goals and personal interests.

Library Technician Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market and outlook for library technicians are dynamic, as the role of libraries continues to evolve in response to technological advancements and changing community needs. This section provides an in-depth look into the future prospects of a career as a library technician.

Job Market

The job market for library technicians is influenced by various factors such as technology, budget constraints, and the shifting role of libraries in society. As technology continues to advance, libraries are continually evolving to incorporate these changes, which often requires skilled library technicians who can manage and adapt to these new systems. Moreover, budget constraints in many public institutions have led to increased demand for library technicians. These professionals are typically less expensive to employ than librarians, yet they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to manage essential library operations. In terms of sectors, employment opportunities for library technicians are not confined to traditional libraries alone. Other sectors such as schools, colleges, government agencies, law firms, and corporate offices also employ library technicians to manage their information resources effectively.

Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a steady outlook for library technicians. While the growth rate may not be as high as other professions, opportunities continue to exist especially in settings outside of traditional libraries. Increasingly, library technicians are being recognized for their ability to manage complex databases and digital archives. As more organizations recognize the value of having well-organized and accessible information resources, the demand for skilled library technicians is expected to rise. In addition, the growing emphasis on digitization and electronic resources in libraries also opens up new opportunities for tech-savvy library technicians. These professionals can leverage their expertise in digital information management to secure positions in digital archiving, e-resource management, and other emerging areas within the field. However, it's important for aspiring library technicians to note that the job market can be competitive. Hence, continuous professional development and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in library science is crucial for career advancement. In summary, while the job market for library technicians may be influenced by various factors, there are promising opportunities available, particularly for those who are technologically inclined and adaptable to the evolving nature of libraries.

Library Technician Career Path Salary and Compensation

As a library technician, your salary and compensation can vary widely depending on several factors including your level of education, your experience in the field, and the geographic location of your employment.

Entry-Level Salary

At the entry-level, library technicians can expect to earn a salary that reflects their lack of experience in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for library technicians was $34,560 as of May 2019. However, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,380, which is typically where entry-level technicians fall.

Mid-Career Salary

As library technicians gain experience and enhance their skill set, their earning potential increases. After a few years in the field, library technicians can anticipate a median salary ranging from $35,000 to $45,000 annually. Of course, these figures can vary based on location, size of the library, and other factors.

Experienced Library Technician Salary

For experienced library technicians who have been in the field for several years and who have honed their skills and knowledge, the salary potential is even greater. The top 10 percent of earners in this field made more than $54,550 per year according to BLS. These professionals often hold positions with more responsibilities and may oversee certain areas of library operations.

Geographical Variations

Location is another major factor that influences a library technician's salary. For instance, library technicians in major metropolitan areas or in states with higher costs of living typically earn more than their counterparts in rural areas or states with lower living costs.

Other Compensation

Besides their base salary, library technicians may also receive additional compensation in the form of benefits. These can include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and possibly even tuition reimbursement for further education. Some employers may also offer continuing education opportunities, workshops, and training sessions to help library technicians stay updated in their field. Remember, while salary is an important consideration in any career path, it's also essential to consider job satisfaction, work-life balance, and the opportunity for professional growth when choosing a career as a library technician.

Library Technician Career Path Tips for Success

Embarking on a library technician career path can be both rewarding and fulfilling. To succeed, one needs to follow certain strategic steps and continually upgrade their skills. Below are some tips that can help you navigate your career path as a library technician successfully.

Acquire Relevant Education

The first step towards becoming a successful library technician is acquiring the right education. Most employers prefer candidates with an associate degree or certificate in library technology. Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree. These programs offer courses in cataloguing, reference, media, acquisitions, and automated library systems. Having a solid educational background in these areas will give you a competitive edge in the job market.

Gain Practical Experience

In addition to formal education, practical experience is invaluable. Most library technician programs include internships or practicums that provide real-world experience. Volunteer work in libraries can also provide hands-on experience and networking opportunities. The more experience you gain, the better equipped you will be to handle the diverse tasks of a library technician.

Develop Key Skills

A successful library technician needs a specific set of skills. These include strong organizational skills, attention to detail, customer service skills, and technological skills. As libraries increasingly move towards digital platforms, being tech-savvy is crucial. Additionally, good communication skills are essential as you'll often interact with patrons and other library staff.

Join Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations like the American Library Association (ALA) can be beneficial. Such organizations often offer professional development resources, networking opportunities, and job listings. They can help you stay abreast of the latest industry trends and connect with like-minded professionals.

Pursue Continuing Education and Certification

The field of library science is constantly evolving with new technologies and practices. To stay relevant, consider pursuing continuing education opportunities and obtaining professional certifications. This not only enhances your skills but also demonstrates your commitment to the profession.

Seek Opportunities for Advancement

Finally, always be on the lookout for opportunities to advance your career. This could be in the form of more responsibilities in your current position or seeking higher positions. With experience and continued education, library technicians can advance to become library managers or directors. Remember, success as a library technician requires dedication, continuous learning, and a passion for the profession. Follow these tips, and you'll be well on your way to a successful career in this dynamic field.

What is a Library Technician?

A Library Technician is a professional who assists librarians in organizing and managing library resources. These professionals usually work in public, school, or special libraries such as law or corporate libraries. Their responsibilities include cataloging and classifying materials, assisting library users, maintaining databases, and supervising clerical staff. They often work under the supervision of a librarian, but they can also carry out many tasks independently.

What skills are required for a Library Technician?

To be successful in their role, Library Technicians need to have strong organizational skills as they are responsible for cataloging and classifying library materials. They must also possess excellent attention to detail, as they need to ensure that information is accurately recorded and filed. In addition, Library Technicians should have good customer service skills to assist library users. This includes the ability to communicate effectively and patiently with people of all ages and backgrounds. Familiarity with computers and database systems is also essential as many library tasks are now digitized.

What education is needed to become a Library Technician?

Most employers require Library Technicians to have at least an associate's degree in library technology or a related field. Some positions may require a bachelor's degree. The curriculum usually includes courses on library management, cataloging, information resources, and computer applications in libraries. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates who have some experience working in a library. This could be through part-time jobs, internships, or volunteering. This experience allows potential Library Technicians to gain practical skills and understand the daily operations of a library.

What is the job outlook for Library Technicians?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for Library Technicians is projected to grow at an average rate compared to other occupations. The growth rate will largely depend on the government funding for libraries. While there may be a decline in opportunities in traditional libraries due to budget constraints, there will likely be an increase in opportunities in special libraries, such as law or corporate libraries, as these organizations recognize the value of maintaining and organizing their vast amount of information.

What career advancement opportunities are available for Library Technicians?

With experience and further education, Library Technicians have the opportunity to advance in their careers. They can move into supervisory roles or specialize in a particular area of library science, such as cataloging or reference services. Some Library Technicians choose to pursue a master's degree in library science or information studies to become librarians. This allows them to take on more responsibilities and roles within the library, such as collection development, strategic planning, and community outreach. In conclusion, being a Library Technician offers a rewarding career path for those who love books and enjoy helping others find the information they need. With the right skills, education, and experience, Library Technicians can play an essential role in the information age.