Many people need help with the technology in today's libraries. And that
means library technician students should be prepared for constant upgrading.
"Because the library is changing so rapidly, it is important for library
staff to realize that they must continue their education in order to keep
up with new technologies and other changes in the profession," says library
technician instructor Judy MacLean. "It is a dynamic field, and one not suited
to persons who are reluctant to [deal with] constant change or technology."
Most library technician programs are offered at the community college
level, although a few bachelor's programs in library and information studies
It's important to note that library technicians are not the same as librarians.
Library techs assist librarians and tend to do more of the hands-on work.
They also work more closely with individual library patrons. Librarians work
more in planning and administration, and must have a master's degree.
Programs for library technicians are usually one year long for a certificate
and two years long for the associate of applied science degree. Both programs
are very technically oriented.
Expect classes in cataloguing, multimedia, keyboarding, software, children's
library services, public services, technical services, Internet research,
library operations, patron services and audio-visual equipment operations.
Many programs also include an internship component of 40 hours or more.
"You must have a desire to work in this field; excellent communication
skills, written and verbal; good public service skills; and an ability to
follow detailed procedures," says Yolanda Garcia. Garcia is the chair of library
technology at Santa Ana College in California.
Brenda Mahoney is a library technician instructor. "A love of order and computer
skills are essential characteristics to being good at this job," she says.
Besides tuition, the biggest expense is generally textbooks.
Council on Library/Media Technicians
An international organization
Consider various library careers side by side