What does a Librarian do?

Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.

Jobs Roles

  • Search standard reference materials, including online sources and the Internet, to answer patrons' reference questions.
  • Analyze patrons' requests to determine needed information and assist in furnishing or locating that information.
  • Check books in and out of the library.
  • Explain use of library facilities, resources, equipment, and services and provide information about library policies.
  • Code, classify, and catalog books, publications, films, audio-visual aids, and other library materials based on subject matter or standard library classification systems.
  • Locate unusual or unique information in response to specific requests.
  • Direct and train library staff in duties, such as receiving, shelving, researching, cataloging, and equipment use.
  • Respond to customer complaints, taking action as necessary.
  • Organize collections of books, publications, documents, audio-visual aids, and other reference materials for convenient access.
  • Develop library policies and procedures.
  • Evaluate materials to determine outdated or unused items to be discarded.
  • Plan and deliver client-centered programs and services, such as special services for corporate clients, storytelling for children, newsletters, or programs for special groups.
  • Compile lists of books, periodicals, articles, and audio-visual materials on particular subjects.
  • Arrange for interlibrary loans of materials not available in a particular library.
  • Assemble and arrange display materials.
  • Compile lists of overdue materials and notify borrowers that their materials are overdue.
  • Design information storage and retrieval systems and develop procedures for collecting, organizing, interpreting, and classifying information.
  • Negotiate contracts for library services, materials, and equipment.
  • Provide input into the architectural planning of library facilities.
  • Collect and organize books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and other materials in specific fields, such as rare books, genealogy, or music.
  • Plan and participate in fundraising drives.
  • Perform public relations work for the library, such as giving televised book reviews and community talks.
  • Write proposals for research or project grants.
  • Teach library patrons basic computer skills, such as searching computerized databases.
  • Plan and teach classes on topics such as information literacy, library instruction, and technology use.
  • Review and evaluate materials, using book reviews, catalogs, faculty recommendations, and current holdings to select and order print, audio-visual, and electronic resources.
  • Confer with colleagues, faculty, and community members and organizations to conduct informational programs, make collection decisions, and determine library services to offer.
  • Develop, maintain, and troubleshoot information access aids, such as databases, annotated bibliographies, web pages, electronic pathfinders, software programs, and online tutorials.
  • Evaluate vendor products and performance, negotiate contracts, and place orders.
  • Engage in professional development activities, such as taking continuing education classes and attending or participating in conferences, workshops, professional meetings, and associations.
  • Represent library or institution on internal and external committees.
  • Develop and maintain databases that provide information for library users.
  • Keep up-to-date records of circulation and materials, maintain inventory, and correct cataloging errors.
  • Supervise daily library operations, budgeting, planning, and personnel activities, such as hiring, training, scheduling, and performance evaluations.
  • Author or publish professional articles, internal documents, and instructional materials.
  • Complete minor repairs and cleaning of library resources, equipment, and facilities, such as dusting and fixing printer paper jams.
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