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Good Skills to Hold as a Librarian

by Dachell McSween, studioD

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that librarians are needed to manage libraries and help people find information in them. In BLS data for May 2011, the average salary for this position was $55,300. However, job candidates may face a lot of competition due to budget cuts for publicly supported libraries. In fact, many city libraries have closed. You can stand out from the crowd by having the key skills that librarians need/ You also can seek positions in other work environments, such as colleges and university libraries. Yet other options are law firm and corporation libraries.

Communications Skills

Librarians need strong communications skills to assist library users, to plan programs and to train support staff. They should be comfortable communicating effectively with diverse groups of people of all ages and those from different countries and cultures. Librarians need to carefully listen to customers to learn what they are looking for so that they can provide them with electronic and print resources. Librarians also must communicate when they teach classes, and they must be comfortable speaking in front of crowds.

Customer Service Skills

Librarians should be courteous, patient and always willing to help library visitors. They may instruct people on how to find books or other physical resources, and they may teach about using library databases. Some librarians are also responsible for administrative tasks including directing staff, fundraising and promoting the library. They should be comfortable being the person in charge of a library and with handling problems such as unruly visitors. Another way they serve the users of public libraries is to raise funds to run the library, including persuading local government officials give their support.

Technology Skills

Librarians in modern libraries need extensive knowledge about using computers and research databases. For example, a librarian working in a law or business library should be comfortable using LexisNexis software, a common tool in the legal field. Many librarians are responsible for indexing and updating databases, and they teach the public how to use these resources.

Organization Skills

Librarians organize materials and equipment to make it easier for people to find information. They also supervise support staff to handle these tasks at larger libraries. Librarians also organize programs and events for the public such as lectures, book discussion groups and children's programs. They are responsible for providing a safe and neat environment for visitors and staff.

About the Author

Dachell McSween has contributed to the "New York Daily News" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She also writes for various online publications. McSween received a B.A. in journalism from Pace University and an M.S. in publishing from New York University.

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