Is becoming a technical services librarian right for me?

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What do technical services librarians do?

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How to become a Technical Services Librarian

Becoming a technical services librarian involves a combination of education, relevant work experience, and professional development. Here is a guide to help you pursue a career as a technical services librarian:

  • Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: Having a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite. Choose a major that aligns with library science, information science, or a related field.
  • Earn a Master's Degree: A Master's Degree in Library Science or Library and Information Science is a standard requirement for most librarian positions. Look for ALA-accredited (American Library Association) MLIS programs. Some universities offer specialization tracks or courses in technical services.
  • Gain Relevant Experience: Look for internships or part-time positions in libraries, especially in technical services departments. This hands-on experience will help you understand the practical aspects of cataloging, classification, and other technical services tasks.
  • Develop Technical Skills: Familiarize yourself with library management systems, cataloging standards (e.g., MARC), and classification systems (e.g., Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress). Keep abreast of emerging technologies related to library services, digital collections, and information management systems.
  • Build a Professional Network: Become a member of library associations such as the American Library Association (ALA) and its divisions, like the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS). Attend conferences and networking events to connect with professionals in the field.
  • Apply for Positions: Keep an eye on job listings from library job boards, institutional websites, and professional association websites. Apply for positions that align with your skills and interests.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Expect questions related to cataloging standards, classification systems, and your familiarity with library management systems. Be prepared to discuss your experiences and how they have prepared you for the role.
  • Continued Professional Development: Stay engaged in continuous learning and professional development. Attend workshops, webinars, and courses to expand your skills and knowledge.

Helpful Resources
Technical services librarians can benefit from various resources to stay updated on industry trends, enhance their skills, and connect with fellow professionals. Here are some helpful resources for technical services librarians:

  • American Library Association (ALA): ALA provides a wealth of resources, including publications, conferences, and divisions that focus on different aspects of library work, such as the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS).
  • Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS): ALCTS is a division of ALA that specifically addresses the needs of technical services librarians. It offers publications, webinars, and conferences related to cataloging, acquisitions, and preservation.
  • Library of Congress: The Library of Congress provides valuable cataloging resources, including the Cataloger's Desktop, which offers access to cataloging documentation and tools.
  • OCLC (Online Computer Library Center): OCLC offers various services and resources for libraries, including WorldCat, a global catalog of library collections. Librarians can benefit from OCLC's training programs and webinars.
  • Cataloging and Classification Quarterly: This peer-reviewed journal publishes articles and research on cataloging, classification, and metadata. It's a valuable resource for staying informed about developments in technical services.
  • Library and Information Science Source: A comprehensive database that covers various aspects of library and information science, including technical services. It includes articles, conference papers, and more.
  • Code4Lib: Code4Lib is a volunteer-driven collective that focuses on the intersection of technology and libraries. The community shares information, tools, and techniques for technical services professionals.
  • Library Technology Guides: This website offers news, reviews, and information on library automation, integrated library systems, and other technology-related topics relevant to technical services.
  • Library Juice Academy: Offers online professional development courses, including those relevant to technical services such as cataloging, metadata, and digital libraries.
  • GitHub: Explore repositories related to library technology and technical services. Many library professionals contribute to open-source projects on GitHub.