Library and public archive technicians (NOC 5211)

About this job

Library and archive technicians and assistants help users to access library and archive resources, do records management, processing and storage, assist in describing new acquisitions, do archive processing and storage and provide general support for client information needs.

Library technicians and archive technicians are two distinct occupations. In addition to the duties described above, library technicians also help users with interlibrary loans and online reference searches, as well processing the checkout and return of books and other library materials. Archive technicians also assist archivists in a number of other professional capacities.

Library and archive technicians:

  • work in libraries, archives, records management branches and other establishments with library or archive services
  • must be meticulous and well organized
  • must have excellent interpersonal, communication and computer skills
  • should also have a commitment to customer service
Common job titles
  • archive attendant
  • archive technician
  • assistant, archive / archival
  • librarian, music
  • librarian, school
  • technical indexer - library

Duties

Library technicians:

  • 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

Archive technicians:

  • help with developing inventories, forms and with preparing preliminary finding aids
  • set up and update classification plans and records scheduling and disposal plans
  • codify and classify archival material
  • record archival materials on microfilm or databases
  • transfer materials from current to semi-current status or put into permanent storage
  • apply standards and policies for storage of archival materials
  • purge, sort, reduce and sample archives
  • do research and retrieve archival materials
  • instruct and help users
  • make sure computerized document systems are used

Work environment

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

Archive technicians and assistants work in the documentation centres of municipal, provincial and federal departments.

Employees usually work 35–40 hours per week. Work days and schedules can vary since some libraries have extended hours and weekend service.

Computers are central to library-related work. Workers may experience computer-related fatigue and physical stress. Archive technicians may also be exposed to odours and non-toxic dusts.

Insights from industry

Most of the new jobs that will be available over the next several years are expected to come from replacing retiring workers.

Industry sources report there is an increasing expectation that library workers have a diploma, and that there is a higher demand for workers who have specialized experience that matches a special library.

With very little turnover in the law library field, recent graduates may have difficulty finding jobs in that area.

As experienced workers retire, more job openings are expected in the Vancouver area where most of the special libraries are located.

Related fields, such as information brokering, consulting (information access and validation) and database marketing, offer alternative job opportunities. Those with knowledge or education in fields such as administration, computer science or engineering will have an advantage.

Technological advances have greatly affected the field of information management, As a result, advanced technical skills, such as web development and management are now in great demand.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Junior positions are available in various types of libraries and can range from work as a circulation clerk to a cataloguer or reference clerk.

Recent graduates may also obtain positions in schools and school districts. Many graduates may be expected to take on a variety of duties, ranging from working under the supervision of a librarian to running a small private library or resource centre.

Recent graduates may also work as information technicians, circulation assistants and as librarians in some special libraries.

Archive technicians with a graduate degree may advance to the position of archivist.

Workers with experience and further education may progress to senior technician or management positions.

Additional resources