Jobs in Libraries

When thinking about what sort of librarian you'd like to be, one approach to self assessment is to think in terms of…jobs1

  1. Functions: What are those things I most like to do in a job (e.g. solving problems; writing; working with numbers, machines or data; analyzing documents; providing customer service; helping people)? What activities do I truly enjoy? What classes and subjects have been my favorites and why? Which work experiences have I enjoyed the most and why?
  2. People: Who will I be supporting? How do I want to interact with people? What kinds of people (e.g., youth, children, students, working adults, seniors) do I like to work with as colleagues or clients? Do I prefer to work mostly with people or do I prefer working mostly by myself?
  3. Setting: Where do I see myself working? Is it a quiet environment or a busy hectic setting? Is the work always changing or predictable? Do I prefer to work more with machines and technology or answering questions and assisting people? Do I want a work setting that is academic or corporate, highly-structured or more informal?

Your answers are a way to help you look for patterns, themes, and relationships between your preferences for the functions, people, and setting you desire for your work environment. They are clues to the types of LIS courses and the career direction you will excel in. Remember that you will experience the greatest job satisfaction when you are doing what you like to do and what you can do well, and are working with others who share similar interests.

Where your answers to the questions in these 3 areas intersect is the main focus for you in your area of study when choosing classes, and the main focus for you when considering career directions in the LIS field.

Take time with this process. Sit with it for a while and think. It is a good idea to go over your answers to the questions above with people who know you well to see if they agree, or to identify how and why they might have answered the questions about you differently.

Content on this page provided courtesy of School of Information, San Jose State University.

The best way to learn about a career in libraries is to talk to librarians in your community. Consider volunteering in different libraries to gain a better understanding of various positions.

Library Routes Project

Road sign - dangerous bendA collection of stories by librarians from a wide variety of disciplines documenting their career paths and how they became involved with the profession.

Library Day in the Life Project

become6Library Day in the Life Project was started by librarian Bobbi Newman in 2008. Once a year she asks librarians to share the details of their day for the benefit of students and other librarians.