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Job Description of a Library Specialist

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If you are interested in library science, can pay attention to detail and are computer literate, consider a career as a library specialist. A library specialist, also called a library technician, helps keep libraries running smoothly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for library specialists is expected to increase 9 percent from 2008 to 2018.


A library specialist is someone who works under the supervision of librarians to assist library patrons. He assists patrons with tasks such as scanning returned items, stamping due dates on library materials and issuing new library cards to patrons. The specialist performs other tasks unrelated to patrons such as administering library programs, preparing invoices and coding library materials. He may also supervise support staff such as library assistants.


A specialist performs a variety of duties such as answering telephone calls, responding to patrons’ questions and assisting teachers and their students. The library specialist also helps patrons find library resources such as books, reference materials, electronic journals and audiovisual equipment. She maintains periodicals, reference materials and library collections. The specialist uses a pushcart to retrieve, re-shelve or deliver library books. According to O-net Center, a library specialist sorts, catalogs and processes other print and non-print materials according to procedures, and returns them to shelves or designated storage areas.


Employers prefer hiring a library specialist with a certificate or associate degree. Typically, colleges and universities offer postsecondary programs that include classes in library organization, circulate library materials and library automation systems.

Working Conditions

Typically, a library specialist spends a long time sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. He constantly lifts and carries books and bends to shelve books through the work day. The specialist works normal business hours such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but workday schedules may include evenings and weekends.


A library specialist who is interested in working in a Title 1 school, which receives funding because of the number of low-income students, must have additional requirements. Besides an associate degree, a library specialist must pass a state or local examination to work in a Title 1 school. Advancement opportunities for a library specialist include supervisory positions and more responsibilities of the library’s day-to-day operations. With additional education such as a bachelor’s and master’s degree, a specialist can become a librarian. According to the O-net Center, in 2009 the median salary for a library specialist was $29,570 a year.


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Witthaya Prasongsin/Moment/GettyImages