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Digital Librarian Job Description

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A digital librarian is an archivist responsible for the selection, acquisition, organization, accessibility and preservation of a digital library. A digital library exists in many different variations from the online local public library to an extensive collection of genealogy records. These new digital libraries allow the public access to materials and collections otherwise not available with the click of the mouse or the invention of the Internet. The digital librarian oversees all aspects of managing the library or collection website.

Job Responsibilities

The job responsibilities of a digital librarian are quite similar to that of a traditional librarian. She is responsible for cataloguing and maintaining accurate records of the collection she is managing on behalf of an art gallery, public library or other domain. Day-to-day duties include planning and coordinating technical work and managing special projects. She works closely with teammates, ensuring that all information shared with the public over the web is properly licensed, especially pieces donated or that are on loan to the library. The digital librarian also monitors collection budgets and expenditures and is largely responsible for maintaining relationships with all vendors associated with the digital library. Additionally, a digital librarian also acts as a supervisor to junior staff and assists in hiring new personnel.

Job Opportunities

As many libraries and various collections begin to migrate material and make more information available to the public, the need for digital librarians will continue to grow. Candidates can inquire at the local public library, art gallery, museum or any other institute that maintains records and information for the purpose of sharing with the public at large. In addition to traditional libraries, many companies such as banks and financial services firms proactively seek digital librarians to assist in archiving information for historic purposes. Internet job banks may include positions for archivists or digital librarians.

Qualitative Requirements

The Digital Library Research and Development department at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that a digital librarian have the following qualitative requirements: She must thrive with ongoing change, be a constant self-educator, remain open to varying degrees of experimentation, take risks, learn from experience and have a sense of optimism of the potential in technology.

Educational Requirements

A master's of library science (MLS) is required to work in a public or academic library according to the American Library Association. A candidate needs an MLS to work for a national collection or legal library.

Average Compensation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a digital librarian in 2006 was approximately $40,730 per year.


KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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