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Job Descriptions


Librarians are typically employed in libraries located in local public libraries, educational institutions (e.g., schools, colleges, and universities), or museums. If you are a librarian, you will be responsible for the maintenance of a library and will have some clearly defined and repetitive tasks, such as helping patrons find the materials they are looking for and ordering new materials for the library.


This job typically requires a minimum of a master’s degree (e.g., a degree in library science). Some employers may accept a bachelor’s degree in library science if you also have a few years of professional working experience. The job advertisement will usually outline the educational requirements.

Previous Experience

This job may require previous experience as a librarian. However, it is strongly encouraged that you apply if you have the required education and skills!

Job Duties

  • Aid library patrons by helping them find books or other information they are seeking.
  • Conduct searches of materials (reference services) for library patrons seeking help.
  • Check out library books for patrons.
  • Check in returned library books from patrons.
  • Keep up to date on current literature and recommend books or other materials for library acquisition.
  • Maintain and order library catalogues.
  • Supervise library assistants or volunteers.
  • Conduct orientation tours for potential and new library patrons.
  • Develop, provide, and teach specialized classes or programs to patrons regarding literacy, computer usage, material searching techniques, etc.
  • Respond to patron complaints or questions as needed.
  • Develop policies and procedures as needed.
  • Your employer may also ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

This job requires that you are able to work ‘In the Scene’. If you are working as a librarian, you will be working with customers on a regular basis.  You will be speaking with and interacting with library patrons daily and must have relatively strong social skills.  You will also need to interact with co-workers (e.g., other librarians) and supervise others (e.g., library assistants) regularly.

Skills / Abilities

Customer Service Skills - You will need to know how to provide excellent customer service.  This includes being able to determine if the customer is satisfied, and to meet their needs. It requires the ability to accept complaints from customers, and to calmly deal with high stress situations and angry customers. Displaying a pleasant and cooperative attitude is important.

Reading Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to read, and follow written instructions and ideas.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to understand and follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Oral Expression - You will be required to speak clearly and effectively.

Written Expression - You will be required to write and spell correctly.

Computer Knowledge - You will need to have some knowledge of computers as you may need to enter information into a computer program.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to use a computer keyboard to type and search for information.

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Environmental Demands

Location - If you work in a library, you will be indoors in a climate-controlled setting.

Noise Level - The noise level will be quiet in a library.

Lighting Level - Libraries usually use florescent lighting but can also use natural lighting that comes through windows.

Work Hours - This job may have part-time or full-time shifts. You will need to check with your supervisor for the schedule.

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you sit and stand.  You will need to be able to sit, stand, stoop, bend, stretch, and walk for this job. For example, you will be standing at the front desk checking out books for library patrons or sitting at your desk researching new library materials for ordering.

Cleanliness and Odors - This job setting is generally clean. You will also want to make sure you keep your work area and surrounding areas neat and tidy.

Work Attire - Work attire will typically be business casual clothing.

Structure and Predictability - This job will typically have a moderate degree of structure and predictability.  This means that sometimes you will complete the same tasks each day and you may be able to complete these tasks in the same order each day (e.g., checking in returned books, checking out books for library patrons) or you may have different tasks each day.  You will probably know how long each task should take you to complete.  You may work in the same area each day, and you will probably interact with the same co-workers, although you will encounter different customers each day.

What's the Pace?

    • Steady: In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that there will always be library patrons waiting to get their books checked out or needing reference help. There may be 1-2 customers waiting for you to see them.
    • Peak: There might be other times when there are many (5-6) library patrons waiting for to get their books checked out. This may be a more stressful period because customers will be waiting for you to complete your tasks.
    • Slow:  There may also be some "down time," when there are very few library patrons. This may be a more boring period, where you are required to just wait for customers.

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