Library technicians help librarians acquire, prepare, and organize materials and help users to find those materials. Library technicians usually work under the supervision of a librarian, although they sometimes work independently. Technicians in small libraries handle a range of duties; those in large libraries usually specialize. The duties of technicians are expanding and evolving as libraries increasingly use the Internet and other technologies to share information. Depending on where they work, library technicians can have other titles, such as library technical assistant or media aide.
Library technicians direct library users to standard references, organize and maintain periodicals, prepare volumes for binding, handle interlibrary loan requests, prepare invoices, perform routine cataloguing and coding of library materials, retrieve information from computer databases, and supervise support staff.
Technicians also market library services. They participate in and help plan reader advisory programs, used-book sales, and outreach programs. They may also design posters, bulletin boards, or displays to inform patrons of library events and services.
As libraries increasingly use the Internet, digital libraries, and other electronic resources, the duties of library technicians are changing. In fact, new technologies allow some technicians to assume responsibilities which were previously performed only by librarians. Technicians now catalog new acquisitions and oversee the circulation of all library materials. They often maintain, update, and help customize electronic databases. Technicians also may help to maintain the library’s Web site and instruct patrons in how to use the library’s computers.
Some library technicians operate and maintain audiovisual equipment, such as projectors, CD players, and DVD players. They also assist users with microfilm or microfiche readers.
Library technicians in school libraries encourage and teach students to use the library and media center. They also help teachers obtain instructional materials, and they assist students with assignments.
Some technicians work in special libraries maintained by government agencies, corporations, law firms, advertising agencies, museums, professional societies, medical centers, or research laboratories. These technicians conduct literature searches, compile bibliographies, and prepare abstracts, usually on subjects of particular interest to the organization.
Most libraries require Library Techs to have completed a two year college program in Library and Information Technology.
Other duties of Library Technicians:
- Shelve material returned and in order in the correct areas.
- Shelf read to make sure items are in the correct area.
- Sort items and arrange for later use.
- Pull materials from stacks.
- Register new patrons and update patron information when needed.
- Renew patron loans.
- Inspect equipment and materials for damage upon return.
- Route Inter Library Loan materials as needed.
- Make sure item request are properly entered into the circulation system.
- Keep availability of reserve items.
- Prepare overdue notice reports for administration as directed.
- Deliver incoming mail.
- Answer and route all incoming phone calls.
- Maintain photocopy and computer equipment.
- Perform physical maintenance of premises.