Library technicians
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Overview
Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library. They assist patrons, organize library materials and information, and perform clerical and administrative tasks.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for library technicians are expected to grow by 9%, and should have about 14,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Library technicians are more likely to be automated than 98% of other careers.
Workforce size
Library technicians, with 99,200 workers, form a larger workforce than 65% of careers.
Education
Only 38% of library technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by library technicians
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More library technicians have bachelor's degrees than 62% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 78% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for library technicians. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most library technicians.
This job's median $34KAll jobs' median $39K$34K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 76% of library technicians -- that's a larger percentage than 87% of other jobs.
Gender of library technicians
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For library technicians, the median men's salary was 31% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 23% of library technicians are minority, and 10% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of library technicians
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (10%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Library Technicians per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 70% of library technicians, and 75% have company-sponsored health insurance (18% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for library technicians
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of library technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (56%)
  • Time Pressure (45%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (38%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (34%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do library technicians earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for library technicians, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for library technicians compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for library technicians (BLS Salary Data)
$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all library technicians, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for library technicians compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for library technicians (ACS Salary Data)
$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where library technicians work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Library technicians (ACS)
Private for-profit (21.4%)
Private not-for-profit (12.0%)
Local government (39.9%)
State government (19.4%)
Federal government (6.8%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.4%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of library technicians by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$32K$30K$29K$33K$35K$50K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of library technicians by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$34K$51K$32K$37K$40K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for library technicians

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$32K$34K$31K$29K$36K$37K$27K$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
01K2K3K4KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Library technicians and gender

With 76% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 87% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
76%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Library technicians
Men (24%)
Women (76%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for library technicians tops that, with the median salary for men 31% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$30K$40K$0$20K$40K$60KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Library technicians have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 80% of other jobs.

31%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of library technicians

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority library technicians than for 64% of other careers. While this career employs many minorities, it employs a relatively small number of foreign-born people.

Race/origin of library technicians
White (76% )
Black (13% )
Asian (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for library technicians by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$18K$28K$32K$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KHispanicBlackWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for library technicians by nativity
$32K$34K$0$20K$40K$60KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by library technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), library technicians typically hold a postsecondary nondegree award.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as library technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for library technicians.

Education attained by library technicians
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for library technicians? Below we see the distribution of library technicians salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as library technicians, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$25K$34K$34K$37K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KHigh School (33%)Some College (17%)Associate's Degree (10%)Bachelor's Degree (24%)Master's Degree (13%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by library technicians

This table shows the college majors held by people working as library technicians. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Library technicians with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
5.6%
$0$200K$60K
4.2%
$0$200K$51K
3.8%
$0$200K$53K
3.4%
$0$200K$56K
3.4%
$0$200K$51K
2.5%
$0$200K$63K
2.4%
$0$200K$73K
2.3%
$0$200K$57K
2.2%
$0$200K$50K
2.0%
$0$200K$54K
1.9%
$0$200K$55K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as library technicians, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by library technicians given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Elementary and middle school teachersLawyers, judges, and magistratesPostsecondary teachersManagers (specialized areas)Secondary school teachersEducation administratorsSecretaries and administrative assistantsEditorsWriters and authorsMarketing and sales managersChief executives and legislatorsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesManagement analystsAccountants and auditorsFinancial managersHuman resources workersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersSpecial Education TeachersPreschool and kindergarten teachersCounselorsTeachers and instructors (specialized areas)Social workersPsychologistsPhysicians and surgeonsLibrariansComputer and information systems managersLibrary techniciansClerical library assistantsComputer systems analystsSocial scientists (specialized areas)Customer service representativesRetail salespersonsProducers and directorsDesignersTelevision, video, and motion picture camera operators and editorsArtists and related workersEnglish Language andLiteratureHistoryBusiness Management andAdministrationGeneral EducationPsychologyLibrary ScienceAnthropology andArcheologyCommunicationsMass MediaFine ArtsAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for library technicians

What jobs will most library technicians hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of library technicians reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

LibrariansLibrary techniciansClerical library assistantsPostsecondary teachersCustomer service representativesCashiersCooksComputer and information research scientistsEntertainers and related workers (specialized areas)Teacher assistantsTour and travel guidesSecondary school teachersSecretaries and administrative assistantsAdministrative services managersRetail salespersonsPackaging and filling machine operatorsService sales representativesFirst-line supervisors of office and administrative support workersComputer support specialists
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for library technicians

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as library technicians as well as 1% of respondents after working as library technicians. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for library technicians
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
Clerical library assistants
16,300
$0$200K$28K
Librarians
14,500
$0$200K$51K
Tour and travel guides
9,700
$0$200K$25K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for library technicians: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as library technicians? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of library technicians surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for library technicians
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.3%
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
3.0%
General office clerks
356,600
$0$200K$33K
1.4%
Stock clerks and order fillers
269,400
$0$200K$26K
1.9%
Elementary and middle school teachers
164,300
$0$200K$51K
2.8%
Teachers and instructors (specialized areas)
55,600
$0$200K$43K
1.1%
Education administrators
45,800
$0$200K$68K
1.7%
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
44,000
$0$200K$93K
1.7%
Food service managers
37,100
$0$200K$37K
1.6%
Medical and health services managers
36,700
$0$200K$69K
1.7%
Purchasing agents
23,900
$0$200K$53K
1.4%
Clerical library assistants
16,300
$0$200K$28K
12.2%
Sheet metal workers
16,300
$0$200K$41K
1.7%
Librarians
14,500
$0$200K$51K
13.0%
Library technicians
14,400
$0$200K$32K
22.3%
Telecommunications line installers and repairers
10,800
$0$200K$48K
1.5%
Tour and travel guides
9,700
$0$200K$25K
5.2%
No occupation
19.6%
Read about library technicians
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Library technicians and assistants typically do the following:

  • Loan library materials to patrons and collect returned materials
  • Sort and reshelve returned books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Catalogue and maintain library materials
  • Handle interlibrary loans
  • Register new patrons and issue library cards
  • Answer routine reference questions from patrons
  • Teach patrons how to use library resources
  • Maintain computer databases used to locate library materials
  • Perform routine clerical tasks such as answering phones and organizing files
  • Help plan and participate in special programs, such as used-book sales, story times, or outreach programs

A librarian usually supervises library technicians and assistants. Library technicians and assistants usually help patrons find information and organize library materials. However, library technicians typically have more responsibilities than library assistants, such as administering library programs and overseeing lower level staff.

Library technicians and assistants in smaller libraries have a broader range of duties. In larger libraries, they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as user services or technical services. Technicians and assistants specializing in user services assist library patrons with locating resources and information. Those specializing in technical services research, acquire, catalog, and process materials to be added to the library’s collections.

The following are examples of types of library technicians and assistants:

Academic library technicians and assistants help students, faculties, and staff in colleges and universities access resources and information related to coursework or research projects. Some teach students how to access and use library resources. They may work at service desks for reserve materials, special collections, or computer labs.

Public library technicians and assistants work in community libraries to serve members of the public. They help patrons find books to read for pleasure, assist patrons with their research, or teach patrons how to access the library’s resources. Some technicians in public libraries may help plan programs for users, such as story time for children, book clubs for teens or adults, or other educational or recreational activities.

School library technicians and assistants show students how to find and use library resources, maintain textbook collections, and help teachers develop curriculum materials.

Special library technicians and assistants work in libraries in government agencies, corporations, museums, law firms, and medical centers. They assist users, search library resources, compile bibliographies, and provide information on subjects of interest to the organization.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of library technicians? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Communication skills
Library technicians and assistants need to listen to and understand patrons’ needs, answer questions clearly, and teach patrons how to use library resources.
Detail oriented
Library technicians and assistants must pay close attention to ensure that library materials and information are organized correctly and according to the library’s organizational system. Cataloging and processing library materials also requires attention to detail.
Interpersonal skills
Library technicians and assistants provide customer service to library patrons and work with <a href="/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm">librarians</a>, teachers, or researchers.
Technology skills
Library technicians and assistants use computers to help patrons research topics. They also use technology to maintain the library’s database of collections.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for library technicians
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 78% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for library technicians. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $34KAll jobs' median $39K$33K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for library technicians are anticipated to grow by 9% over the next decade, which is faster growth than is predicted for 57% of other jobs.

The projected employment for library technicians is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030050,000100,000150,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most library technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as library technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Library Technicians per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.51.01.52.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where library technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for library technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for library technicians.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Library Technicians to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which library technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Library technicians (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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