Career Profile: Library Technicians
Libraries are full of interesting and informative books, DVDs, databases, and other materials. Before anyone can use these materials, someone must organize them so that people can find what they need. Library technicians work with librarians and other staff members to make resources available and to help the patrons in the library find what they need. If you are organized and enjoy working with books and other resources, the job of library technician might be right for you.
People often think of libraries as quiet places where everyone speaks in a whisper if they say anything at all. However, libraries can also have children’s programs, language courses, lectures, and much more. Depending on where they work, library technicians might plan or help other staff with these programs, answer reference questions, work with a particular group of patrons, such as seniors or university students, or compile information on subjects such as computers or historical events.
One of the main tasks that library technicians perform is cataloguing materials. Before each new item goes on the shelf, someone must record information such as the author and title and then give it a number such as 398.2 or PS2858 so that people can find the item quickly and easily. Learning to catalogue is part of a library technician’s training.
Normally, library technicians study for two years at a community college such as Red River College in Winnipeg to get a diploma. Others might get a four-year degree first and then get the diploma or even get a two-year masters degree in librarianship before looking a job as a library technician. Jobs are available in schools, public libraries, businesses, universities, and government departments.
Library work is not very closely regulated, and requirements can vary widely from one workplace to another. Some library technicians can work their way up to high-level jobs, and they might even be able to work in tutoring other students in library programs. Wages range from $13.61 to $39.76 per hour, or from $35,000 to $81,000 per year. Generally, library technicians work indoors, and weather conditions are not a problem. However, people with allergies might want to be careful since libraries can be very dusty.
Working with people can be a large part of some library technicians’ jobs, especially if they run children’s programs or work at a reference desk. However, people who work mainly with cataloguing might never see the patrons at all and just work in a back room with one or two colleagues. In small libraries with few staff members, library technicians might put materials back on the shelves, help count the money from overdue fines, and perform other tasks.
Career prospects for library technicians are moderate in many parts of Canada, but jobs are available for people who are willing to relocate for work. More jobs are likely to be available in cities than in small towns, but even tiny communities have opportunities for work in town offices, schools, or small museums. If you like to work with books and other resources, the job of library technician could be a good choice.
Government of Alberta. ALIS. “Library Technician.” https://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/occupations-in-alberta/occupation-profiles/library-technician.
CFLA-FCAB. “Guidelines for the Education of Library Technicians.” http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/guidelines-and-position-papers/guidelines-for-the-education-of-library-technicians/.
Glassdoor. “Library Technician Salaries in Canada.” https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salaries/library-technician-salary-SRCH_KO0,18.htm.
Job Bank. “Library Technician in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/wages-occupation/8072/ca.
Skilled Immigrant Information Centre. “Working As a Library Technician.” https://www.vpl.ca/siic/guide/employment-guides/librarian-library-technician/working-as-librarian-library-technician.