What does a Librarian do?
Librarians are responsible for a vast amount of information, from the classic management of books and periodicals to more modern responsibilities involving audio and video recordings and digital resources and services.
There are different classes of librarians in this modern era, including Public Service Librarians, Reference and Research Librarians, Technical Service Librarians, Collections Development Librarians, Archivists, Systems Librarians, Electronic Resources Librarians, Outreach Librarians, and School Librarians. The general duties of each are outlined by class below.
Public Service Librarians - spend their time working with the public in many local libraries worldwide. They provide proper material for each age range from child to adult. A Public Service Librarian advocates reading competence with many libraries offering services for children that aid in early learning.
Reference and Research Librarians - specialize in aiding with research. An interview is often performed with the individual requesting research aid to help organize the proper materials and services that will be needed for the research. Research often involves a very specific subject and a Reference and Research Librarian will give directions on the proper database needed and the use of the database, along with locating and organizing any specialized materials that will be needed.
Technical Service Librarians - are the staff involved in ordering materials and subscriptions, as well as any other equipment needed by the library. Librarians working in this department will supervise new materials, over-seeing the processing and cataloging of each one. Excellent organizational skills are required for this position and strong communication skills are suggested as well as an avid interest in research.
Archivists - are often specialized librarians. They handle many manuscripts, documents and records, varying by country or region. There are many paths taken to reach this profession and the duties can vary between countries.
Systems Librarians - are responsible for maintaining the many systems used in the library. They often troubleshoot any problems that arise in the library cataloging, as well as developing those systems as needed. Systems Librarians should have a sound background with computers as these librarians are responsible for maintaining the computer systems used for record keeping.
Electronic Resources Librarians - are responsible for the management of the databases licensed from third-party vendors. Librarians in this field will need experience with licensing for electronic resources including individual journals, databases, and e-books. They will also need to have strong troubleshooting skills and a good knowledge of the use of these resources. The ability to obtain, compile, and analyze usage data is strongly recommended considering the large amount of resources to be handled in this field.
Outreach Librarians - are responsible for promoting library resources and services, as well as working to develop research proficiency in students. This class of librarians will be active in social networking forums on campuses, making visits to residence halls, and even physical and on-line exhibit development. Excellent communication skills are strongly suggested for this field as this class of librarians will be dealing directly with students to help further their education.
School Librarians - aid in the educational needs of students directly, through the latest information technology as well as traditional materials. This class of librarians will work with students, directing them in the use of the systems available in the library, as well as recommending the correct materials needed for research and learning. School Librarians help to promote education of students, helping teachers to develop a curriculum and acquire the needed materials for classrooms.
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