Library Technicians Build Skills in Literacy and Digital Technologies
Nov 1, 2018
With so much information available at our fingertips via our own computers, you might be surprised to discover that careers in library technology are thriving. Library technicians not only support literacy efforts, but they also navigate ever-changing digital technologies to manage vast collections of recorded knowledge and assist patrons in finding the information they need.
Andy Kivel oversees the Diablo Valley College Library Technology Program that was recently restructured to better meet the needs of contemporary libraries and information centers.
“DVC now offers both a 19-unit certificate of achievement in library technology and an associate degree. The restructured program now focuses more on the digitization side of library technology,” says Kivel. “But still, it’s a very people-oriented career and ideal for those who enjoy helping others.”
Library technicians assist patrons, clients, students and faculty find the information they need. They also educate visitors, showing them how to access and use materials needed for their research and projects, which may require use of a variety of resources including books, newspapers, magazines, digital files, film and audio recordings, photographs, professional journals, government documents, and more. Library technicians may also be involved in the architecture of libraries, organizing and managing the information.
While library technicians often work in community libraries and in educational settings, they can also have exciting and dynamic careers working in museums, hospitals, law offices, cultural and religious organizations, and in publishing, software, and social media companies.
Students enrolled in this course will learn how to create, assess, preserve and manage digital assets, such as documents, photographs and audiovisual media – all skills that are applicable to a career in library technology as well as applicable to careers in computer information systems and related fields.
Library technology offers a versatile academic path with transferable skills that attract employers throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Students will learn and demonstrate strength in each of the following:
- customer service and support
- communication and presentation
- education and training
- information organization, management, research and retrieval
- information evaluation and critical thinking
- digital fluency
- computer / device technology and proficiency
- software troubleshooting
If you enjoy helping people and are interested in information research, retrieval, and management, consider a career in library technology!
Library technology is a growing field with the number of library technician positions expected to increase 20 percent from 2015 through 2021. Bay Area salaries range between $30,000 and $50,000, depending on the position. For example, the average hourly wage for a library assistant is $18.23/hour, while the average hourly wage for a library technician is $24.11/hour. For more information, view the most recent Labor Market Information report.
Library technology at DVC
The certificate of achievement can be completed in three semesters. Students who would like to obtain an associate degree will need an additional semester to complete the required general education courses. Most classes are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays, making the program an accessible and flexible option for parents and working adults. All courses are also transferable to California State University campuses, creating a path that could lead to a bachelor’s degree. For more information, visit www.dvc.edu/library-technology.
Maggie Rogers is a proud graduate of the DVC Library Technology Program and is now employed full-time as a Library Technician.
“I enrolled in the Library Technology (LT) Program as soon as I became a Library Clerk with the Oakland Unified School District. The timing was fortunate for me because the program started at the same time as I started a new career in library technology. I had been a stay-at-home mom with a publishing background, and a lot of experience volunteering in my daughters’ school libraries. I was searching for a new path to return to work and a library position opened up that matched my interest and skill set,” said Rogers.
Rogers shared that she really enjoyed learning with a cohort of other professionals,
as this enabled her to interact with a community of colleagues with whom she could
share ideas and/or ask for advice.
“One of the first courses we took taught us about different kinds of libraries. Although my current path is in school libraries, I was excited to know about other options for later down the road. If I decide to work in a different type of library, I think my library technology certificate will be very helpful in moving in that direction. Many of the skills we learned and ideas we discussed throughout all of the courses in the program can be applied to a large variety of school, professional, medical, and other library settings,” said Rogers.
Rogers was happy to report that she is now a full-time library technician at Montera Middle School in Oakland.
“I am the only library employee at this public middle school, so I do run the whole library. We are open at lunchtime for students to study, read, check out books, socialize, play board and card games, and be in a safe and welcoming space. I’m responsible for collection development, displays, and library policies and procedures (among other things). English classes also come regularly to check books out for independent reading. I would definitely recommend the LT Program to others. It is a great place to start to gain a foundation in library technology and services. The variety of courses, the experienced instructors who are also library professionals, and the community of students all work together to provide a strong program,” said Rogers.
“In our fast-paced world, there is greater need for a reliable access point to information, whether that be through books, databases, or simply internet service. And for students, a library provides a basic access point to literacy. These aspects of library technology are still extremely relevant. If one has a passion for reading, information, and providing important services such as these, then a library technology career is a great place to start,” commented Rogers.
Alicia Huntley was taking prerequisites for the dental hygiene program at DVC when she found herself struggling in her organic chemistry class. “I told a friend I was going to quit and get a job in a bookstore. She suggested I enroll in the library technology program,” said Huntley.
Huntley had no idea that her decision to enroll in DVC’s library technician program would have such an impact on her career.
“Soon after graduating from the LT Program, I was hired as a substitute library technician at the DVC Library and in a public library. Then I worked as a Media Technician at an elementary school where I was in charge of acquisitions, cataloging, processing and circulation. And for the past 12 years, I have been the Circulation and Reserve Desk Manager in the DVC library. I hire, train and supervise student workers. We answer many questions every day and help students with printing and photocopying,” said Huntley.
“I would definitely recommend the library technology program to others. It prepared me to find employment in my chosen field. The classes provided me with the knowledge I needed, and the coop education component gave me the technical experience I needed to be able to step in and start working. Through the LT program, students have access to a network of professionals who work in all aspects of library technology. It’s a great field for those who enjoy helping others. The work is very rewarding, and every day is new and exciting,” said Huntley.