Librarian Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Librarian, or Curator, is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a library to ensure members have what they need to learn and explore topics of interest. Their duties include creating education programs for different age groups, updating library databases and managing a team of staff to carry out daily tasks.

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Librarian duties and responsibilities

Librarians are responsible for organizing and managing all resources in the library. They have the following responsibilities:

  • Assist library visitors in conducting research and locating resources
  • Organize all library resources so they are easy to locate
  • Coordinate and create community programs that increase library awareness
  • Evaluate library inventory needs and place orders
  • Identify technology needs and make recommendations
  • Oversee the work of other employees and provide feedback
  • Read publication announcements to get new texts 
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What does a Librarian do?

Librarians typically work for grade schools, colleges and universities, public libraries or corporations. They engage with library members to teach them about their cataloging system and direct them to particular genre sections. Their job is to hire employees, order new book inventory, process late fees and organize book displays. They may also be responsible for updating information systems to improve the quality of their facility for library users.

Librarian skills and qualifications

Librarians need a certain set of skills and qualifications, including:

  • Excellent organization skills
  • Good time-management skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to manage projects and give presentations
  • Knowledge of specific field (such as law or music)
  • Computer research skills 
  • Ability to work independently without supervision

Librarian salary expectations

A Librarian makes an average of $42,121 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Librarian education and training requirements

A minimum of a master’s degree in library science is often required to work as a Librarian. Many Librarians complete an internship working for a local library. Librarians who work in a specialized setting, such as at a law school or in a medical research building, may require additional education and training. Librarians who want to work in a school library may be required to complete a bachelor’s degree in education and meet all state requirements for becoming a teacher.

Librarian experience requirements

Many Librarian candidates have previous experience from their educational programs. Therefore, an entry-level Librarian can often get a job as soon as they get their master’s degree. Hiring managers may prefer to hire entry-level Librarians, then train them on the expectations of the position. Other hiring managers may prefer a Librarian with many years of experience and specialized training in the industry in which the candidate will work. Librarians who work for a large library and oversee employees also need additional experience.

Job description samples for similar positions

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Frequently asked questions about Librarians


What is the difference between a Librarian and an Archivist?

The difference between a Librarian and an Archivist is that Librarians manage the organization and availability of print media like books and magazines or DVDs and cassette tapes. In contrast, Archivists specialize in organizing and maintaining documents like historical records and artifacts. Another way to differentiate between the two is that Librarians usually interact with members of the public. In contrast, Archivists typically interact with Researchers, Scientists, Historians and other professionals to give them access to important or confidential information.


What are the daily duties of a Librarian?

On a typical day, a Librarian arrives to their facility before business hours begin. They receive new book orders, reorganize book displays and perform administrative tasks like checking their email and responding to phone messages. Throughout the day, they work with their team to help people apply for library cards, use internet databases and locate specific books or media materials. They also help library members check out books and they place returned books back on their designated shelves. Librarians also host events for local authors who read from their books and discuss important literary themes.


What qualities make a good Librarian?

A good Librarian has a love for reading, which inspires them to create a fun and educational environment for library users. They need to understand how to use online databases to catalog books and help library members learn how to use the system. Librarians should also have a personable nature that allows library members feel comfortable enough to ask questions. They need to have the leadership qualities to oversee staff and manage facility operations. Further, a good Librarian stays up-to-date on reading trends, popular authors and book series to add to their library.


Who does a Librarian report to?

Librarians act as leaders to other staff members, but they also have to rely on upper management personnel for budgeting guidelines and operating procedures. In a school setting, a Librarian typically reports to the Principle or a university Vice President. At public libraries and other facilities, Librarians may report to the Library Director.

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