Public Librarian Job Description

Public Librarian Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a public librarian. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a public librarian.


Who is a Public Librarian?

Public librarians are subject-matter specialists who help users locate books, magazines, newspapers, and other items in a library that is accessible to the general public. They also perform administrative tasks, assist with research initiatives, provide reference services, and provide children’s and adult programs.


Public Librarian Job Description

Below are the public librarian job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. The employer can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

Public librarians have a variety of roles, including:

  • Finding customers with books, articles, periodicals, and other content.
  • In accordance with patron demand, copy supply, and other considerations, suggest new publications to the library’s acquisitions committee.
  • Providing reference services and aiding with research work.
  • Helping patrons who need help with the computers, databases, or other technological tools at the library.
  • Newsreels, artifacts, and regional history are among the historical records that should be preserved and digitalized.
  • Keeping up with new releases to guide my stock selection
  • Offering programs for children, teens, and adults like reading clubs and hosting workshops for digital skills.
  • Selling books to generate money for new resources and projects, such as scholarships for disadvantaged kids.
  • Collecting penalties from patrons who fail to abide by library rules or who have overdue goods.
  • Creating a conveniently accessible online database for members and staff.
  • Performing administrative tasks, such as recruiting new hires and putting in material orders.
  • Maintaining an inventory of all of the library’s books and other materials.
  • Describing how to utilize the facilities and offering information on library policies.
  • Conserving the library’s collection by getting rid of outdated or damaged books, cataloging new materials, and removing them from the collection.
  • Educating the public about the library and its services.
  • Keeping financial and statistical records.
  • Launching fresh projects or initiatives to encourage people to use the library.
  • Coordinating the borrowing of books and other resources.
  • Setting up an environment where students can study well, including providing a comfortable reading area and sufficient lighting so that students can see their work clearly.
  • Examining the work of other employees and providing feedback
  • Overseeing volunteers’ activities in the library.



Public Librarians have the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in library science.
  • A minimum of three years of work experience at a public library.
  • Strong teamwork, excellent organizational skills, IT expertise, and database knowledge.
  • The ability to guide and educate people.
  • A passion for reading.
  • Outstanding verbal communication skills.


Essential Skills

Public librarians need the following skills to be successful in this profession:

  • Cataloging Skills:

Since organizing information is a daily task for a librarian, cataloging is an essential skill. A library typically uses software to catalog its inventory, which can help with time savings and maintain the media collection’s organization. The ability to order items by date, name, or alphabetical order, as well as the ability to gather information, are all skills that librarians bring to the cataloging process.

  • Classification Skills:

The ability to categorize library materials is a crucial one for librarians to possess. To make it simple for users to find resources, books, journals, and other materials must be given a subject classification system. When establishing new collections or organizing materials in the library’s archives, librarians also use classifications.

Examples of categorization abilities include understanding the Dewey Decimal System, the Library of Congress Classification System, and other regularly used systems by libraries, as well as knowing how to establish and maintain a library’s cataloging system.

  • Customer service abilities:

Every day, public librarians interact with people of various ages and socioeconomic groups. It is important to make everyone who enters the library feel comfortable and welcome. They should also be able to answer questions from clients and help them find the information they need.

  • Circulation skill:

Through circulation, a library keeps up its stock of books, magazines, and other items. It is the responsibility of librarians to maintain their collections so that patrons can conveniently access them. Circulation abilities include being able to utilize the library’s catalog system, locate items on the shelves, and check out publications to users.

  • Information administration skill:

Librarians are available to help clients who are looking for information on difficult subjects or books. They have the ability to carry out simple research and are skilled at locating trustworthy, up-to-date information from both online and offline sources. Since it is crucial for libraries to inform the public and offer reliable information, librarians usually help with this kind of research.

  • Teaching skills:

The interaction of librarians with consumers of all ages and abilities is typical. Public librarians can give users instructions on how to use both the library’s offline and online resources. They could also provide guidance on how to use the library’s physical or online databases.

  • Critical Thinking skill:

Librarians use critical thinking when handling common requests from library users, such as resolving a patron’s complex request for rare books or carrying out research. They also apply critical thinking when solving issues or tasks, such as choosing which books should be removed from circulation. Critical thinking demands in-depth research and creative thinking.

  • Technical proficiency:

To assist clients in finding information or completing research projects, public librarians may need to use computer programs, software, and other technology. Technical know-how will enable you to use the tools and resources of the library to assist users. You might also have to address computer problems.

  • Collaboration skills:

School librarians frequently work with a variety of staff members, such as teachers, administrators, and other librarians. They might work with parents and students to develop collections, organize events, and design reading programs. Using these abilities, school librarians can work with others to achieve common goals.

  • Documentation skill:

With the use of precise documentation, a librarian who keeps accurate library records can more effectively organize information. Software is usually used in libraries to create paperwork such as requests for library cards, details about fines, details about users, details about events, or the library catalog. A skill that librarians are familiar with is using documentation software to generate, save, and share papers while keeping correct records.

  • Readers Advisory skill:

Readers’ advisory services, which help customers find books that match their interests and reading levels, are frequently offered by public librarians.

This skill is essential for librarians because it enables them to interact with library users and encourages them to read more. Additionally, it adds to the diversity of the library’s book collection, making it easier for patrons to find what they’re looking for.

  • Organizational skills

Public librarians usually have great organizational skills since they need to keep track of a vast variety of materials. This category can include magazines, books, digital files, and other types of information. Public librarians may need to categorize their holdings based on a particular subject, an author, or another element.

  • Ability to communicate

Every day, public librarians interact with people of various ages and socioeconomic groups. They need to be skilled at communicating with customers over the phone, in person, and via email. They must also be able to communicate with other members of the library staff and other professionals, such as teachers, to help patrons find the information they need.

  • Ability to develop collections:

Public librarians maintain a library of books, magazines, and other items that the general public can borrow. They also help clients find the most reliable sources for their inquiries. To effectively select new items that will appeal to their users, librarians must develop good collection development skills. They must also keep track of the supplies they already have in order to prevent mistakenly ordering duplicates.

  • Problem-solving skill:

Understanding problems, interpreting data, and using critical thinking are skills that are necessary for both conducting research and assisting in it.

  • Attention to Detail

Public librarians are responsible for maintaining a collection of books, magazines, and other items. Customers must be able to identify each item by name or call number in order to be able to find it when they ask for it. Public librarians employ their attention to detail when creating library databases, which require precise information on authors, titles, and publication dates.

  • Ability to Reference Services:

Public librarians use references to help their clients locate the data they need. They might also provide guidance on how to conduct research and where to discover particular resources. Librarians should be able to direct clients to the appropriate resources, whether they are books, internet databases, or other types of materials. Depending on the choices of their clients, public librarians can also suggest books.

  • Interlibrary Loan (Lending among libraries) skill:

Interlibrary lending is a common tool used by librarians to obtain books from other libraries. This is a useful skill because it allows librarians to assist consumers even when their library doesn’t have the desired book. Librarians can also utilize this ability when their library doesn’t have a copy of a book they want to read.


How to Become a Public Librarian

To become a public librarian, follow the steps below:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree

The first step to becoming a public librarian is earning a bachelor’s degree in library science. More than 100 authorized organizations, many of which are community colleges and universities, offer this curriculum.

Throughout your undergraduate studies, you will learn about the creation of collections, management, information literacy, and other relevant topics. Additionally, you can sign up for elective classes on subjects including cataloging and indexing, reference services, digital curation and preservation, and archival management.

  • Pass the state’s certification examination

After finishing an approved library science program, you must pass a state-administered exam to become certified. Each state has a different type of exam and a different level of difficulty. Some states require librarians to hold certifications at the associate or master’s level.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education  (NCATE) accredits all library science programs that lead to teacher licensure. If you want to preserve your public librarian certification, you might need to fulfill continuing education requirements.

  • Obtain experience working in libraries

After completing your degree, you can begin applying for entry-level work at libraries. For entry-level roles as public librarians, one to three years of prior work experience in a library context is often required. It is essential to gain first-hand knowledge of the duties of a public librarian during this time. You should also interact with seasoned librarians to hone your interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Stay up to date on changes in technology and new developments in the field of library science

Because they are always evolving in this area, public libraries are typically the first to adopt new technologies. Public librarians must keep up with these advancements in order to provide their customers with the best service possible. It’s possible that you’ll need to practice using particular software or databases the library offers. You should also keep up with developments in library science. For instance, as more people read e-books than traditional books, many libraries have had to change the services they offer. For instance, libraries now offer a lending service for digital books, and some libraries have even been forced to shut down their branches due to financial shortages.

  • Sign up for Professional organizations like the American Library Association (ALA)

The American Library Association (ALA) is a nationwide organization that provides librarians with support and resources. Public librarians can gain from ALA membership by being informed of business trends, connecting with colleagues, and receiving exclusive discounts on products and services.

To join the ALA, you must currently hold a state board of trustees or regents’ certification as a librarian. It might also be necessary to have a minimum of three years of experience working as a librarian.

  • Consider earning a master’s degree in library science.

Public librarians are not required to hold a master’s degree, but many companies prefer candidates who do. If you earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree, your career may advance, or you may decide to work as a school or academic librarian.

Management, information science, research methodologies, and technological applications courses are frequently included in two-year master’s programs. Some courses also provide electives that enable students to focus on their individual areas of interest.


Where to Work as a Public Librarian

Public libraries can be found in a village, city, or nation, and they employ public librarians.

Public librarians work in warm, well-lit libraries. They might work at a circulation desk where they help patrons find materials and check out books, or they might work in an office where they perform administrative tasks. They might also be employed in a specific location, such as a children’s room, where they help children select books and plan activities. Public librarians occasionally work evenings or weekends in addition to their regular 40-hour workweek in order to suit the schedules of their clientele.


Public Librarian Salary Scale

Public librarian salaries vary depending on factors like years of experience, education, library size, and region. They might also be paid more through bonuses or overtime.

According to, the annual salary range for public librarians in the US is between $10,406 and $272,856, with a median income of $49,856.

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