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Working as a Librarian [NOC 5111] or Library Technician [NOC 5211]

Job Description

Librarians [NOC 5111] select, develop, organize and maintain library collections and provide advisory services for users.

You perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Recommend acquisition of books, periodicals and audio-visual, interactive media and other materials for library collections
  • Provide reference services
  • Select, catalogue and weed library materials
  • Prepare bibliographies, indexes, reading lists, guides and other finding aids
  • Develop systems to access library collections
  • Perform manual, on-line and interactive media reference searches to assist users in accessing library materials and arrange for interlibrary loans
  • Provide specialized programs for children, seniors and other groups
  • Conduct library information and orientation training programs and tours
  • Perform related administrative duties and supervise library technicians, assistants and clerks.

Source: [search by NOC 5111]

Library technicians [NOC 5211] assist users in accessing library resources, assist in describing new acquisitions, participate in processing materials, and conduct reference searches.

You perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Assist library users in accessing books, films, photographs, maps, documents, electronic materials and other library materials
  • Catalogue new library acquisitions under the direction of a librarian
  • Perform manual and on-line reference searches and make interlibrary loans for users
  • Assist librarians in giving tours and providing children’s and other specialized library programs.

Source: [search by NOC 5211]

Industry Overview

There are currently 1,300 people employed as librarians in BC. Job prospects are expected to be average over the next few years. The majority of openings will result from the need to replace those who retire.

Librarians with strong computer skills and technology knowledge will have an advantage when job searching.

Employment for librarians has traditionally been concentrated in public and academic libraries. A new trend is emerging that offers private sector opportunities for those willing to work as information specialists. The fields of information brokering, consulting (information access and validation), and database marketing may provide growth in new employment opportunities for librarians.

Industry sources report that there is currently an insufficient supply of graduates with experience in management, specialized subject background knowledge, technological skills, children’s librarians, and multicultural librarians.

Library technician

There are currently 1,000 people employed as Library Technicians in BC. Most of the new jobs are expected to come from replacing retiring workers.

Advanced technical skills, such as web development and management are now in great demand. There is also a higher demand for workers who have specialized experience that matches a special library. You may have an advantage finding work if you have knowledge or education in fields such as administration, computer science or engineering.

Related fields, such as information brokering, consulting (information access and validation) and database marketing, offer alternative job opportunities.

Job Outlook for Librarians in BC (2019-2029)

forecasted average employment growth rate and job openings for librarians from 2019 to 2029

Chart from WorkBC

Job Outlook for Library Technicians in BC (2019-2029)

forecasted average employment growth rate and job openings for library technicians 2019 to 2029

Chart from WorkBC

WorkBC provides job openings for Librarians in BC regions, 2019-2029:

Region

Employment
in 2019

Average Annual
Employment
Growth

Expected
Number of Job
Openings

Vancouver Island 90 1.0% 40
Lower Mainland / Southwest

550

0.9%

220

Thompson-Okanagan

70

0.5%

20

Kootenay

40

1.9%

20

Cariboo

30

2.2%

10

WorkBC provides job openings for Library Technicians in BC regions, 2019-2029:

Region

Employment
in 2019

Average Annual
Employment
Growth

Expected
Number of Job
Openings

Vancouver Island

120

0.9%

50
Lower Mainland / Southwest

500

1.0%

230

Thompson-Okanagan

70

1.0%

30

Kootenay

20

0.1%

10

You can learn more about working as a Librarian or Library Technician in BC from:

  • Career Cruising
    [profiles for Librarian and Library Technician]
    Available from the VPL Digital Library | Explore our Digital Library page

Types of Employers

Librarians work for public, school, and university libraries, as well as government, medical, law, and business libraries and more recently corporations and non-profit organizations.

Library technicians frequently work in public and special libraries, including libraries of schools, colleges, universities, law firms, and medical offices.

Salary

Librarians 

The median annual salary for librarians in BC is $50,000.

Your earnings depend on a number of factors including the size, location, and type of library. In general, librarians earn in the range of $30,000 to $102,000 a year.

provincial hourly rate for librarians 2018 job bank wage report

 

Library Technicians

The median annual salary for Library Technicians in BC is $53,310.

Your earnings can vary between $30,000 and $89,000 a year depending on place of work and responsibilities. Corporate jobs and special libraries generally pay more than public or academic libraries.

 

provincial hourly rate for library technicians 2018 job bank wage report

Full-time Librarians and Library Technicians usually also receive employee benefits such as dental coverage, paid vacation time, and retirement benefits.

Sources: WorkBC and Career Cruising

Working Hours

Librarians: Most public and academic libraries are open evenings and weekends, so librarians may work at those times. Librarians working in government and corporate libraries typically work daytime business hours. Full-time librarians generally work 35 to 40 hours a week. Managers and directors, however, may work up to 50 hours a week. Corporate librarians in fast-paced industries, such as advertising or legal services, may work longer hours during peak times.

Library Technician work schedules often depend on the type of library they work in. Public libraries are usually open evenings and weekends, and some library technicians will be expected to work these shifts. Many school libraries are open only during school hours. Some law firms have legal libraries that stay open late, while most government libraries are open only during business hours.

Source: Career Cruising

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • good instructional, communication, organizational and computer skills
  • must have the ability to understand research methods
  • problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • must enjoy working with others
  • task planning and organizing
  • able to work independently
  • significant use of memory
  • attention to detail
  • customer service oriented
  • patient
  • cultural sensitivity

Education and Experience

Librarian:

A Master’s degree in library science or its equivalent from an institution accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) is usually required for employment.  Employment is subject to demand, and qualification requirements are set by individual employers.

Library Technicians:

Working as a library technician typically requires the completion of a one or two year Library and Information Technology diploma program, but occasionally employers accept previous work experience as an equivalent.

For both librarians and library technicians, computer literacy is an essential skill. Experience with technology will increase prospects for employment.

Qualifications

This occupation is not regulated in British Columbia.

The occupations of Librarian and Library Technician are not regulated professions in Canada or BC.

For Librarians, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations recognizes professional qualifications at the Master’s level from library schools in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

Internationally trained Librarians from other countries should contact the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) to determine the equivalency of your credentials:

Source: Canadian Federation of Library Associations – Foreign Credentials

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

For additional tips on job hunting see:

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For Librarians, look for these related job titles (NOC 5111):

  • Associate Librarian
  • Bibliographier
  • Cataloguer
  • Classifier – Library
  • Iconographer
  • Information Specialist
  • Library Co-co-coordinator
  • Library Consultant

For Library Technicians, look for these related job titles (NOC 5211):

  • Assistant Librarian
  • Assistant, Library
  • Library Aide
  • Library Supervisor
  • Library Technical Assistant
  • Records Management Technician
  • Records Technician
  • Reference Aide
  • Reference Assistant
  • Technical Indexer – Library

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of libraries and library-related businesses in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “library” and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Library associations in BC and Canada provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.

  • BC Library Association (BCLA)
    The British Columbia Library Association is a non-profit, independent, voluntary association representing Librarians and Library Technicians from all types of libraries.
  • Visible Minority Librarians of Canada
    A collaborative network to connect, engage and support visible minority librarians of Canada. Provides a mentorship program for new librarians and new immigrant librarians.

Industry Journals

Search for journals related to your profession. Examples include: