Library Technologist Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
A library technologist's average salary is slightly over $33,000. Is the job worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a library technologist is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of a Career as a Library Technologist

Sometimes known as library technicians, library technologists perform some of the same tasks as librarians. You should be aware of the pros and cons of working as a library technologist before you invest your time and effort in training for this career.

PROS of a Library Technologist Career
Flexible hours with many part-time opportunities*
Smaller libraries may not require postsecondary education*
Technologists are increasingly hired in place of librarians*
Employment at public and government libraries should be strong (54% of all technologists worked for local government as of 2012)*

CONS of a Library Technologist Career
Slow expected job growth (eight percent from 2012-2022)*
Heavy lifting, standing and stooping are often required*
May require additional education to advance in this career*
Low pay (mean yearly wage was about $33,000 as of May 2014)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Info

Job Duties

Library technologists usually perform clerical tasks in a library, while librarians perform administrative and managerial tasks, such as hiring staff, purchasing materials and developing library programs. However, in many areas, such as helping patrons, conducting research and classifying library materials, the duties of library techs and librarians overlap. Typically, technologist job duties include shelving books, retrieving library items and checking patron materials in and out of the library's content management system. You also might perform some work on a computer system, such as cataloging books, creating bibliographic records or locating books in other library systems.

Assisting patrons is often a vital part of this job; you might help them find books or sign up for library cards or show them how to perform Internet research or use audio/visual equipment. The work may be physically demanding at times; for example, you might be required to carry books up ladders, walk long distances, move stacks of books or bend down to shelve materials. Although this is usually an indoor occupation, some light traveling may be required if the library operates a bookmobile or book delivery system.

Salary Info

Salaries in this career typically depend on the library system that you're employed at; local libraries often depend on public funding, and school libraries can suffer from budget cuts, so federal government and scientific research libraries typically offer higher pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean salary for library technologists at federal libraries as of May 2014 was almost $49,000, while library techs at scientific research libraries earned approximately $55,000 (www.bls.gov). Elementary and secondary school library technicians made a lower yearly average of $31,000 per year, while technicians at libraries operated by local governments earned about $32,000.

Career Outlook

Overall, job growth in this field was expected to be below average, increasing only eight percent from 2012-2022. Some libraries may be adversely affected by budget cuts, according to the BLS. If you have postsecondary training in an IT area, such as Web technology or computer library systems, you probably have a better chance at landing a job, since most libraries are becoming increasingly computerized, according to the most recent data available from the BLS.

Career Requirements

Educational requirements can vary, but many employers require library technologists to have some postsecondary training. According to the BLS, most employers prefer a certificate or associate's degree in library technology. You can find these programs at a number of community colleges. If you plan on working at a school library, you may be required to obtain the same state licensing or certification as a teacher assistant.

Useful Skills

Education programs in this field are typically computer-heavy, with classes in database management, business applications, Web technologies and Internet research. According to the American Library Association (ALA), retail and office skills can also come in handy when working at a library (www.ala.org). Other helpful skills can include:

  • Customer service experience
  • Communication skills
  • Familiarity with various office machines
  • Money-handling experience

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers of library technologists can include public libraries, universities, medical libraries, law libraries and K-12 schools. Many employers look for candidates with past job experience and people skills. Below are some more specific requirements from job ads posted in February 2012.

  • A university in Florida was looking for a library technician with data entry and word processing skills, excellent interpersonal abilities and knowledge of a foreign language. Applicants also needed three years of experience or postsecondary education.
  • A federal agency in Washington, D.C., sought library technologists with experience working directly with the public. This employer gave preference to applicants with a bachelor's degree and requested prior work experience in library services.
  • An academic library in Pennsylvania was seeking a technologist with great communication skills and knowledge of audio/visual equipment. Candidates needed at least a high school education, and past academic library experience was preferred.

How to Stand Out

Obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree in library technology can help you stand out from the crowd in this profession. Previous experience working in a library, even as a student worker, can also prove beneficial, especially at libraries that provide on-the-job training. Also, solid oral and written skills are often sought by employers. Gaining practice with the operation of audio/visual equipment and microfilm readers can also help set you apart in this field.

Technology Skills

Computerized library management systems are becoming the norm in this sector, so technical skills can be a plus when seeking a library technologist position. Knowledge of Internet research, office applications and basic data entry are repeatedly seen in job postings for this field. Other computer-related skills sought by employers include:

  • Ability to locate materials in Internet library databases
  • Knowledge of bibliographic network systems
  • Ability to enter and edit bibliographic information in library management systems
  • Ability to revise computerized classification records

Alternative Career Paths

Library technology training can prepare you for various career paths outside of a traditional library setting. You can enter other fields that rely heavily on knowledge of information technology, business software programs, research and customer service.

Museum or Archives Technician

Museums and archives use many of the same information management systems and databases found in libraries. To become a museum tech, you might need a bachelor's degree in library science, history or art. Employment in this field was expected to grow at a slower-than-average pace of only seven percent between 2010 and 2020. According to the BLS, the average salary for techs in this area was about $42,000 as of May 2011.

Administrative Assistant

Organizational and computer skills, as well as experience using office machines, are often key traits needed to obtain a position as an administrative assistant. Training can be similar to that of a library tech, although you may need additional training if you plan to work in the legal or medical fields. Employment growth in this field was projected to increase at an average rate of 12% between 2010 and 2020. The average salary for executive administrative assistants was about $48,000 as of May 2011, according to BLS data.

Data Entry Specialist

Database management is one of the main skills you must acquire to work as a library technologist, and data entry specialists must operate a variety of software systems and office equipment similar to those found in a library. As of May 2011, specialists in this field earned an average salary of about $29,000, according to the BLS.

Librarian

If you're interested in staying in the library field, you could obtain a master's degree and advance to a position as a librarian. Requirements in this career often include graduation from an ALA-approved library science program, as well as state certification or licensing if you plan on working at a school or public library. Employment growth in this field was projected to be around seven percent from 2010-2020, and the average salary for librarians was approximately $57,000 as of May 2011, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Liberal Arts
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Science in Applied Economics
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Campus Locations:
    4. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Notre Dame de Namur University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters in Business Administration
      • Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Hospitality and Casino Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - International Business Concentration
  • Campus Locations:
    7. American National University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
    Associate's
      • Business Administration Management - Associate
      • Medical Assisting - Associate
      • Network Administration - Associate
      • Paralegal
    Certificate
      • Accounting - Diploma
      • Business Administration - Diploma
      • Medical Office Professional - Diploma
      • Pharmacy Technician - Diploma
      • Phlebotomy - Diploma
      • Medical Billing and Coding - Diploma
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. South College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Project Mgt
      • Bachelor of Business Administration
      • Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting
      • Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resources Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing
      • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Health Care Admin
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
      • Associate of Science in Accounting
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
      • Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology
      • Associate of Science in Investigation & Security
      • Associate of Science in Network Administration & Security
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Ecclesial Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Individualized
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Global Consulting
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Government - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Journalism
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
  • Campus Locations:
    10. Universal Technical Institute

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Collision Repair and Refinish Technology
      • Marine Technician Specialist
      • Diesel Technology
      • Motorcycle Technician Specialist
      • Automotive Technology
      • NASCAR Technology

Featured Schools

Tulane University

  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Master: Legal Studies
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Arts in Science Writing

What is your highest level of education?

Lincoln Tech

  • Automotive Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Notre Dame de Namur University

  • Masters in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

What is your highest level of education completed?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
  • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Finance Concentration

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Business Administration Management - Associate
  • Accounting - Diploma

What is your education level?

South College

  • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Project Mgt
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science in Accounting

What is your highest level of education completed?