Librarian  What They Do

Just the Facts


Administers libraries and performs related library services. Works in a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Professional Support Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Checks books in and out of the library.
  • Teaches library patrons basic computer skills, such as searching computerized databases.
  • Reviews and evaluates materials, using book reviews, catalogs, faculty recommendations, and current holdings to select and order print, audio-visual, and electronic resources.
  • Searches standard reference materials, including online sources and the Internet, to answer patrons' reference questions.
  • Keeps up-to-date records of circulation and materials, maintains inventory, and corrects cataloging errors.
  • Analyzes patrons' requests to determine needed information and assists in furnishing or locating that information.
  • Supervises daily library operations, budgeting, planning, and personnel activities, such as hiring, training, scheduling, and performance evaluations.
  • Plans and teaches classes on topics such as information literacy, library instruction, and technology use.
  • Confers with colleagues, faculty, and community members and organizations to conduct informational programs, make collection decisions, and determine library services to offer.
  • Codes, classifies, and catalogs books, publications, films, audio-visual aids, and other library materials based on subject matter or standard library classification systems.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Catalog Librarian --
  • Children's Librarian --
  • Library Director --
  • Library Media Specialist --
  • Public Services Librarian --
  • Reference Librarian --
  • School Librarian --
  • Technical Services Librarian --
  • Youth Services Librarian --