Job Title: Technical Services Librarian
Type of Company: I work for a public library in Massachusetts, outside the Boston area.
Education: BS, University of Massachusetts, Lowell MLS (Master of Library Science), Simmons College
Previous Experience: I worked as a Library Assistant and Library Secretary before deciding to attend library school.
Job Tasks: As the head of my department, I manage three part-time employees. Technical Services in a library doesn't really have anything to do with computers, as you might think it would. Instead, it's the department that orders and receives library books, DVDs, audiobooks and any other items for the library. We add the items to the online catalog (like a virtual card catalog), and I work on these records to make sure they will help library users to find the books and other things they want. I add subjects and words to the records so when people search the catalog, they will get a list of the best items that fit their search. I also create the call numbers that are placed on the spine of the item to determine it's location in the library. We also prepare the items to be checked out by applying barcodes and identifying labels. I also help keep the library collection current and up to date by removing outdated material and unneeded items.
I also work at the reference desk, where I help people find books and answer questions. I use a variety of tools, like the Internet, online databases and catalogs, and reference books and journals to help people find material to use for homework assignments, trivia questions, tax forms and any other questions they have - this part of the job can be very interesting and surprising.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I enjoy the work I do fixing and creating database records for our online catalog. This work is very detailed and requires strict adherence to accepted rules and practices. I love to see and handle ail the new books and other materials we've ordered. I also enjoy working at the reference desk and answering unusual and challenging questions.
Job Tips: Try getting some experience in a library before attending school for it. Volunteer in the department you think you're interested in and see what it's like in a real library. Many people think it's a "nice, quiet job where you get to read all day" - which is not true at all. Most people work in libraries because they want to encourage literacy and reading, and because they want to make sure people have access to the information they need.
Additional Thoughts: To be a librarian, you must enjoy working with people, since they are the reason we do all the work behind the scenes. You should enjoy detail work, and understand that some of the work is repetitive. You should not expect to become a millionaire as a librarian - most people do it as a calling, not as a way to make a lot of money.
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