Academic librarians are in charge of all the managing and organizing tasks carried on in an academic library.
They ensure the library has enough resources and materials for students who perform their studies and research.
They help students, faculty, and other staff by teaching them how to use library infrastructure and access resources and information related to their coursework, interests, and needs.
Academic librarians are the central point of contact and administration of the whole library.
The responsibility of caring for the resources, materials, information, and necessary facilities meant for students lies on their shoulders.
Responsibilities of Academic Librarian
Academic librarians are responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the library. Let’s discuss in detail what responsibilities and duties academic librarians have:
- 1 Their job is to increase facilities for library users and make sure the library provisions meet their needs.
- 2 They keep themselves aware of the latest publication announcements to add new texts to the library collection to help its users.
- 3 They organize resources in a well-defined structure, such as alphabetizing books so students can quickly locate resources.
- 4 They ask students, teachers, and other faculties if they need additional resources for their research and studies. If there are demands, they collaborate with book suppliers and place orders.
- 5 Academic librarians are also responsible for facilitating students and the library users with electronic study resources like e-journals, pdfs, and well-maintained library databases.
- 6 They ensure that technology is used in the best way possible to fulfill the library’s needs. They analyze the electronic resource collection and the library databases to update them regularly.
- 7 For the convenience of students, faculty, and other library users, they arrange small lectures to create awareness about using the library’s catalog system and e-journal repositories to find relevant resources.
- 8 Academic librarians supervise the library functions, determine the library inventory needs, if any, and place orders to fulfill the library requirements.
- 9 They act as the controller and organizer of the library and its affairs. They are the chief persons to resolve if there are any conflicts or concerns.
- 10 Academic librarians are responsible for monitoring and controlling library expenditures. They plan, prepare, and recommend a budget for their libraries. They manage all the spending and expenses of the library.
- 11 They promote diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusivity by welcoming people from different backgrounds and facilitating resources from various backgrounds and cultures.
- 12 They do their best to develop and strengthen campus and community relationships.
- 13 Academic librarians have expertise in developing programs and facilitating resources based on the academic curriculum.
- 14 They manage a team of library staff and supervise their activities. They guide their employees, including library technicians, assistants, and other staff working for the library, in performing their duties.
Besides all these responsibilities, academic librarians have other duties which may not directly relate to books, resources, and academic activities.
They perform diversified tasks daily, such as infrastructure management, facilities management, team management, and procurement.
Qualification Requirements of Academic Librarian
- A candidate must complete a bachelor’s degree in library science to work as an academic librarian.
- Some employers even ask for a master’s degree in one of the related fields, like library science or information science or library and information studies. It depends on the different institutions and different states.
- The level of education and qualification depends on the type of library. There are different library setups, such as school libraries, academic libraries, public libraries, central campus libraries, specialized libraries, technical libraries, etc.
- Academic librarians who want to work in the school library or lower-level academic or public library need to complete a bachelor’s degree in education or any subject field and meet all the requirements of a teacher.
- Suppose a candidate has to work for a higher-level or specialized library such as a law library, medical library, etc. In that case, they must complete a master’s degree in subjects related to their technical field.
- Some states ask for degree qualifications accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) to work in academic libraries.
- In the U.S., an association called American Library Association offers master’s degree programs in library and information studies. Programs accredited by this association are considered the standard qualification for the academic librarian position.
Training and Experience
- Employers in some states require training certificates for librarians to work in academic libraries. A few managers look for freshers and may not ask for any experience or training, but most demand a certain level of experience and training.
- Therefore, many students who want to pursue a career as an academic librarian may work part-time as a junior librarian while pursuing their undergrad degrees.
- Some students may join internships in a local library to gain competent training and experience.
- This also provides them with a training certificate valid for their future reference.
- Also, Public school libraries in some states look for a teacher’s certificate for academic librarians.
- Some states want their librarians to pass a standardized test like the PRAXIS 2 Library Media Specialist test.
- Besides, librarians who want to work in specialized library settings need specialized training.
- Some institutions have multiple campuses and libraries specializing in their specific fields.
- Such libraries need expert candidates to serve the library and deliver the best contributions protecting their specialized interests.
- For example, candidates have to complete a master’s degree to work in the law library, medical library, science or social science library, music library, etc., in their respective subjects.
- Besides this, librarians who have studied information management in their master’s programs can serve in specialist roles such as advisors for organizing, managing, and protecting data.
Skills Required for Academic Librarian
Skills that academic librarians possess include two types of skills that are industry-based hard skills and transferable soft skills.
The industry-based hard skills (technical skills) refer to specific skills like the ability to use library software, the ability to categorize information, IT skills, etc.
In contrast, transferable soft skills refer to those that can be transferred from one sector to another.
This type of skill includes time management, communication, organization, problem-solving, critical thinking, etc.
Let’s look in detail at the essential skills that an academic librarian needs to work effectively:
Industry-based Hard Skills
Ability to Manage Projects & Give Presentations
Academic librarians manage projects by planning them nicely, assessing risks and opportunities, creating budgets, communicating with stakeholders, and eliminating problems.
They can lay out beautiful presentations of the library’s provision for the benefit of its users.
Academic librarians must keep updating their knowledge, information, library facilities, library databases, and technology by taking initiatives to implement them to play an influential role in the academic activities of students and others.
Attention to Detail
Academic librarians must organize and manage vast amounts of data carefully and authentically. Therefore they need to pay attention to every detail regarding resources, facilities, budget and expenses, inventory needs of the library, provisions, etc.
Knowledge of Specific Field
Academic librarians who work in specialized libraries related to the specific field, such as law libraries, medical libraries, corporate libraries, etc., require additional knowledge and expertise in their particular areas.
Information Technology Skills
Academic librarians have several tasks related to managing the library database and electronic resources, providing internet facilities to conduct online research and other tech-related facilities.
Therefore they require strong computer research skills, IT skills, and familiarity with things like databases and internet-based research.
Academic librarians constantly read and explore different topics, resources, information, and the latest updates.
This keeps them in touch with the latest updates and helps them identify what developments they can make to improve library collection and functioning.
Academic librarians have good cataloging skills, which include the ability to order resources by date or name, gather information according to alphabetical order, familiarity with the library database and software, etc.
Since they have a lot of responsibility regarding organizing and arranging information, these cataloging skills help librarians keep information and library media well organized.
Information Curation Skills
Since academic librarians are responsible for providing the best possible educational and information services to the students and faculties, they have full knowledge and skill of researching relevant and updated resources or information.
They properly research, organize resources and information, and help library users find those resources.
Academic librarians have specific documentation skills, enabling them to maintain the information and library records accurately.
They know how to use documentation software to share, create store documents and maintain proper records. They know both online as well as offline documentation processes.
Knowledge of Library Databases
In modern libraries, librarians use library databases for sorting, navigating, finding, retrieving, and returning library resources for their convenience.
This requires an academic librarian with proper knowledge of using and applying database systems to collect and store library data.
Transferable Soft Skills
Strong organizational skills are essential for academic librarians to ensure proper library maintenance.
Organizing skills involve identifying the outdated resources to remove, buying updated resources and the latest editions, and which digital resources to subscribe to.
Besides these, supervising the sorting, arranging, and cataloging of library materials need excellent organizing skills.
Academic librarians also lead the library staff and charge the whole library functions.
Academic librarians are passionate about their staff. They teach them how to perform different activities and provide them with guidance and training on using various library facilities to help library users.
Academic librarians are very accurate in time management. They make the best time management plan that matches the needs of students, faculties, and other library users.
They prioritize their tasks, break large tasks into smaller pieces of work, make flexible schedules to allow any changes, plan schedules according to their customer’s needs, and take sincere steps to follow the deadlines.
Academic librarians understand the importance of collaboration in delivering the best library services to its users. They partner with students, teachers, other faculties, and administrators.
When it comes to collecting books, materials, electronic resources, and other facilities, they collaborate with book suppliers, technology experts, and facility providers to ensure the library has enough resources and facilities that its users need.
Academic librarians must work as part of a team and with the public, conducting research and studies. They also work with the administrators and also interact with various suppliers.
Therefore they need to have strong interpersonal skills to fulfill their duties at a level of satisfaction.
Academic librarians also play an essential role in solving the problems of researchers. They help them figure out the problem, find relevant information, pick the right resources for their research, and solve other issues.
Academic librarians possess strong analytical skills to work with the public, management of library institutions, and other stakeholders.
They also create and implement rules of regulations for their library through their analytical skills.
This is the most sought-after skill in every occupation, and so is the profession of an academic librarian.
Librarians come face-to-face with the public, control the staff, interact with their patrons, organize student reading events, and act as the activity coordinator. All these require excellent communication skills.
Apart from these, they are active listeners and have strong communication skills, both written as well as verbal.
An Academic Librarian is critical in creating a positive learning environment. They are more than just bookkeepers; they are educators, information specialists, and vital links between learners and knowledge.
The variety of their responsibilities guarantees that academic institutions run smoothly. Thus, becoming an academic librarian is a dynamic and exciting professional choice for those who are interested in education and assisting others to flourish.
Is an academic librarian’s role changing with technology?
Yes, the role has evolved to include managing digital resources and databases.
Does an academic librarian need teaching skills?
Yes, they often provide instruction on information literacy and research methods.
Are academic librarians responsible for digital resources?
Yes, they manage and curate digital databases and electronic resources.
Do academic librarians interact with students?
Yes, they provide guidance to students on research and information access.
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