Library Technology Certificate Program Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a library technician? What types of jobs do Library Technicians have?
What is a Library Technician?
Library technicians are paraprofessional library staff who perform supportive customer services, technical and clerical tasks under the direction of a librarian or other supervisor. As vital members of the team, they carry out operations and services essential to effective functioning of the organization. Library technicians work in public services, circulation, children's services, and technical services in all types of libraries including: public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, special libraries and information centers.
With advances in technology, the duties of Library Technicians are expanding and evolving with increasing responsibility for daily library operations. Library Technician jobs may have other titles, such as library Technical Assistant, Library Assistant, Library Aide or Circulation Assistant. (Adapted from: Library Technicians/Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook)
A good overview of library technican work and the knowledge, skills and abilities is provided by O*Net (http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-4031.00):
"Library Technicians assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books or other media; remove or repair damaged books or other media; register patrons; and check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who assist with providing services in mobile libraries."
What types of jobs do Library Technicians do?
Typical jobs for library technicians (also known as: library paraprofessionals or library assistants) are supportive customer service, clerical and technical duties. under the direction of a librarian or other supervisor. Library technician positions may encompass a variety of responsibilities fundamental for library operations such as: circulation, children's services, acquisitions, cataloging, and processing activities, but may also include multimedia equipment and production, display production, web management, and a wide range of related activities.
Typical duties of Library technicians include: customer service (circulation, public service), technical services (acquisition, preparation, organization and maintenance of materials), clerical work and assisting users in locating appropriate resources. Library technicians in smaller libraries may handle a wider range of duties, while those in large libraries usually specialize.
LIB 101 "Introduction to Library Services for Paraprofessionals" explores the roles of library technicians in libraries. See: http://www.pasadena.edu/library/courses.htm
- What is the outlook for library technician jobs?
The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook provides a detailed description and data on: Employment, Job Outlook, Projections, Earnings and Wages for library technicians and related occupations. (Note: usually, west coast salaries are higher than the national averages.)
In addition to public and academic libraries, other major employers of Library Technicians are special and school libraries. Special libraries are found in corporate, academic and government settings (such as law firms, medical libraries, corporate libraries, etc.). School libraries are major employers of library technicians.
The program’s Information Resources for Library Technicians includes links to articles, articles, professional organizations, library employment websites and other web sites of interest.
- How difficult is it to get a page position at Pasadena Public Library?
Library Page positions at the Pasadena Public Library are very competitive and the City of Pasadena has a very lengthy application process. Applications are only taken by the city's Human Resources Department during certain times of the year.
- The city opens up the position about every 2 months and will accept up to 60 applications at that time. All candidates take a written test. It takes an average of 2 months to fill a position.
- The candidates who pass the test are merged onto an existing eligibility list according to their score from the test.
- The list is kept current, and candidates remain on the list for 6 months. If they are not called for an interview within the 6 months, then they need to reapply for the position.
- If a position opens up in one of our libraries, candidates who scored the highest and have indicated they are available during the needed hours at the hiring location are chosen for interviews.
- Candidates who are selected have to pass a background check which includes fingerprinting and reference checks, a physical, a drug test, and a TB test.
For more information, contact:
Mary Carter, Librarian II, Page Pool Supervisor
Support Services, Pasadena Public Library
285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
- What is a certificate program and how does it differ from an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree?
A certificate program is one that is designed to prepare vocational students for employment without the additional requirement of an Associate degree. Units earned in obtaining a Certificate of Achievement in Library Technology may be applied toward the 60 units required for an Associate in Science (AS) degree (for more informatio on the AS degree, see Degree & Transfer Programs http://www.pasadena.edu/academicprograms/transfer-degree.cfm) .
Requirements of each certificate have been determined by the faculty offering the program with the help of their advisory committees. Students can earn a Certificate of Achievement in Library Technology upon completion of all 8 required courses (20 units) with a grade of "C" or better. (List of program courses: http://www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/program.cfm#required
Students can contact the program coordinator to request a “course substitution” for equivalent courses taken at other colleges. No more than 30 percent of the courses required for the certificate may be fulfilled with courses completed at other accredited institutions.
- Where and how do I apply for the Library Technology Program?
There is no formal application process for the program. New and returning students must apply online to PCC before they are eligible to register for courses.
Apply online to PCC: http://www.pasadena.edu/starthere/
We recommend you begin the program by contacting the program coordinator (Krista Goguen firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-585-7832) for current information on upcoming classes and visit the program website for a program overview and recommended course sequence: http://www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/program.cfm
- How much does the Library Technology Program cost?
- Fees and tuition costs listed below are subject to change by State law or at the discretion of the college. See the current fees on our website.
- How long does it take to complete the Library Technology Certificate Program?
Depending on when you begin the program and your courseload, it may be possible to complete this program within one calendar year (*PCC's calendar has two 16-week semesters (Fall and Spring) and two intersessions (Winter and Summer).
Generally 2-3 Library Technology Program courses are offered each term (see http://www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/program.cfm#required.
For many program students who are working and because some courses are offered only once a year, it may take 3-4 semesters to complete all the courses required for the certificate. It is important to plan your course of study carefully. Contact the Program Coordinator Krista Goguen (email@example.com or 626-585-7837) to plan your program.
- Do classes have to be taken in any specific order? What is required?
The Certificate includes 8 required courses.
Students may enroll and begin the Library Technology Certificate Program in any semester. There are 8 required courses. We recommend the following preferred sequence but in is not a requirement.
Before you start the Library Technician courses (101-106), we strongly recommend that you take the required preparation courses: BIT 25 (or CIS 1), LIB 1 and LIB 10A. (NOTE: these required courses are typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Intersessions):
- LIB 1 Basic Library Research Skills (1 unit, 6 weeks) (Prerequisite for LIB 102)
- LIB 10A Internet & Web-Based Information Resources (1unit, 6 weeks)
- BIT 25 Survey of Computer Technology in Business (3 units)
OR CIS 1 Introduction to Computers (3 units)
The 3-unit program courses are generally offered once a year, in alternating semesters. We recommend LIB 101 before or concurrently with the other program courses. LIB 1 is required before LIB 102 and LIB 104 is required before LIB 105A. Student generally take LIB 105A at the end of the program.
- LIB 101 Introduction to Library Services for Paraprofessionals (3)
(Recommended preparation for LIB 102 and LIB 104)
- LIB 103 Introduction to Circulation Services (3 units)
- LIB 105A Descriptive Cataloging Procedures in Online Environments (3 units)
(Prerequisite: LIB 104) Note: may be offered in Summer Intersession
- LIB 101 Introduction to Library Services for Paraprofessionals (3)
(Recommended preparation for LIB 102 and LIB 104)
- LIB 104 Technical Services: Acquisitions, Serials & Processing (3 units)
(Prerequisite for LIB 105A; Recommended Preparation: LIB 101)
- LIB 102 Introduction to Reference & Information Services (3 units)
(Prerequisite: LIB 1; Recommended Preparation: LIB 101)
It is important to plan your course of study carefully. Contact the Program Coordinator Krista Goguen (firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-585-7837) to plan your program.
- What is the maximum number of courses I can take per semester?
PCC policy states the maximum load per semester (Fall/Spring) is 19.3 units and the maximum load per intersession (Winter/Summer) is 8.3 units.
Library Technology program core (3-unit) courses are generally scheduled in alternating semesters. Students may also enroll in our 1-unit courses. So typically 6-11 units of Library Technology program classes are available per semester (Fall/Spring).
Students who are planning to complete an Associate in Science degree may enroll in additional courses. Students are encouraged to meet with a PCC Counselor to discuss their schedule and course selection for the AS requirements.
- Do I need library experience before enrolling in the Program?
You do not need experience to begin the program.
However, we recommend students without library work experience take LIB 101 Introduction to Library Services for Paraprofessionals before the more specialized program courses.
Students already working in a library can also benefit from this program as continuing education. These students can gain an enhanced perspective on libraries and additional work skills.
Library employers may prefer applicants with library work experience. Program students can gain library experience through LIB 106 Library Internship and/or volunteering in a library.
- Are all the classes held at PCC? Do you offer online classes for this program? Do you offer night classes?
Currently, most courses required for the Certificate of Achievement in Library Technology are offered on campus at PCC in the Shatford Library (LL building).
Most of our classes are held in block time periods (3 units = once a week for 3 hours, for the 16 week semester; 1 unit = once a week for 3 hours for 6 weeks). Since most people in our program work in the daytime, classes are held in the evenings and sometimes on Saturdays.
Some program courses are offered as hybrid (partially online) classes, with some on campus meeting replaced by online work. These courses include:
- LIB 1 - offered on campus and hybrid
- LIB 10A - offered on campus and hybrid
- BIT 15 - offered on campus and hybrid
- LIB 101 - offered on campus and hybrid (beginning Fall 2012).
Some other library technology programs offer online courses. Check the list of Library Technician Programs in the U.S.
- What is being offered next semester?
See the schedule of classes: http://www.pasadena.edu/classes.
- select Library as the Department.
- Can I do an internship for course credit? What is involved in doing a “Library Technology Internship” (Lib 106)?
Library 106- Library Technology Internship 1 unit
Catalog Description: Supervised on-the-job experience in approved library setting. Total commitment: 60 hours minimum is required for academic credit. Fall/Spring minimum 4 hours field practice each week. Summer or Winter sessions minimum: 10 hours per week. Prerequisite: Completion of at least the following Library Technology Certificate courses:
- LIB 101 Introduction to Library Services for Paraprofessionals
- LIB 104 Technical Services: Acquisitions, Serials and Processing
Consult with the Library Technology Program Coordinator in advance. Contact: Krista Goguen, email@example.com, 626-585-7832
It is up to the student to identify the library in which the internship will be performed. It is preferred that the internship be done in a library other than the one in which a person is currently employed. If it is the same library, duties must be delineated that are significantly different from current job responsibilities.
The Internship may include (but is not limited to) such experiences as:
1. Process library and media materials for public use.
2. Perform simple mending of library/media materials.
3. Catalog simple library materials utilizing online bibliographic utilities.
4. Compile statistical reports and write work procedures.
5. Retrieve information from basic reference materials.
6. Evaluate reference questions for appropriate responses.
7. Verify bibliographic information and perform other searches for acquisitions.
More information: http://www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/fieldpractice.cfm
- What is involved in doing a “Library Independent Study” (Library 20)
LIB 20 Course Description: Individual projects related to the understanding and utilization of libraries and their resources; faculty conferences and direction. Maximum credit 3 units, 1 unit each semester. Total of 54 hours laboratory. Prerequisite: Completion of two Library courses and approval of student project. Transfer Credit: CSU
Under the College’s independent study program, a student may, under the supervision of a faculty advisor, pursue research on a topic or problem of special interest beyond the scope of a regular course. The independent work is of a research or creative nature, and normally culminates in a research paper. Regular progress meetings and reports are required throughout the semester. Completion of the project is required before credit may be received.
Before registering, the student must get the plan approved by the instructor who will be supervising independent study and by the division dean. For more information, contact Library Technology Program Coordinator Krista Goguen, 626-585-7832, firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is the expectation for homework?
The college recommends a minimum of 2 hours of outside study for each class hour. So, for each 3 unit class, be prepared to spend a minimum of 6 hours a week on course work in addition to the 3 hourse per week of classtime.
Our 1 unit courses (LIB 1 and LIB 10A) are short-term classes that meet for 6 weeks. During the 6 weeks, these courses require the equivalent amount of time as the full semester course (i.e. 6 hours of time spent on course work in addition to class time during the 6 weeks of the course).
For online classes, plan to spend a minimum of 9 hours of time per week.
- I am disabled. What services are available.
PCC's Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSP&S) is designed to enable eligible students with verified disabilities to fully participate within all Pasadena City College academic and vocational programs. Students with learning, physical, developmental, visual, hearing, speech/language, health impairments and psychological disabilities may inquire about services by contacting the DSP&S office: Room: D209, 626-585-7127 email@example.com or www.pasadena.edu/studentservices/dsps
Library Technology program instructors can also work with you on accomodation for your needs.
- Can any of these course credits be transferred to a Library Science Master's degree graduate program?
No. Since the graduate programs require completion of a Bachelor’s degree, no lower division or certificate courses apply toward the master’s degree.
However, the coursework and hands-on experience you gain from this program will enhance your understanding of libraries and library work and help prepare you for the graduate level.
- What other community colleges offer this program?
Consult these resources to locate other Library Technology certificate programs:
- Library Technician Programs in the U.S. (Council on Library/Media Technicians)
- The Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC )
A national certification program that allows library support staff to demonstrate their
competencies and be certified by the American Library Association.
- Who are the Library and Information Technology Instructors? Are they librarians?
The program instructors are highly qualified, experienced, 'working' librarians who are teaching courses related to their expertise. They are hired by PCC and many have been teaching in the Program for a number of years. Our instructors have work experience in various types of libraries and therefore provide a well-rounded program of instruction.
- Who can I contact for more information?
Krista Goguen is the coordinator of PCC's Library Technology Certificate program.
Library Technology certificate program website: www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech
Please feel free to contact Krista Goguen by phone at (626) 585-7832 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org.) If she cannot be reached, call Mary Ann Laun, Library Director, at (626) 585-7833 or email@example.com.
If you are considering pursuing the Associate in Science Degree, please also consult with a PCC Counselor:
- Academic Counseling www.pasadena.edu/counseling/
(626) 585-7251, Room L104 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- or Contact: Lynell Wiggins, Counselor, Career & Technical Education
Phone: (626) 585-7440 e-mail: email@example.com
- Academic Counseling www.pasadena.edu/counseling/
- With this certificate, will I be more likely to be hired as a library technician compared to someone who has not earned the certificate?
This program was revived in 2000 due to the demand of local library employers who strongly encouraged us to provide training for library technicians for area libraries. Employers are always seeking well-qualified employees. The completion of the Library Technology Certificate is one way to verify your education and qualifications for a library position and it is often recommended on job descriptions. Our program is designed in consultation with our Advisory Committee representing area libraries and meets the required competencies set by the American Library Association for the Library Support Staff Certification (http://ala-apa.org/lssc). Area employers regularly send job announcements or contact us when they have job openings because they are familiar with the rigor of our program.
- What library job opportunities exist for library techs outside of public and academic libraries?
In addition to public and academic libraries, other major employers of Library Technicians are special and school libraries. Special libraries are found in corporate, organization and government settings (such as law firms, medical libraries, corporate libraries, etc.). As funding permits, School libraries (school districts) are major employers of library technicians for elementary school libraries.
For more information, see the Library Technology Program website:
- Library Organizations www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/informationresources.cfm#organizations
- Library Job Resources and Employment Sites www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/jobresources.cfm
- What qualifications do I need to enter the program? Are any prerequisites needed?
Pasadena City College and the Library Technology Certificate program have open admission and enrollment policies. (Apply online to PCC to receive a “permit to register” www.pasadena.edu/admissions/apply).
We strongly recommend students beginning our program consult with the program coordinator (Krista Goguen, 626-585-7832 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
We also recommend these preparation courses at the beginning of the program:
(see Required Courses: www.pasadena.edu/library/libtech/program.cfm#required)
- LIB 1, LIB 10A, BIT 25 and LIB 101.
- Some program courses must be taken in sequence:
- LIB 1 is required before LIB 102
- LIB 104 is required for LIB 105A.
- What technology skills are needed?
Library staff work with technology every day!
Library work includes the use of standard office software (word processing, web browsers, file management), specialized library software (included in our courses), hardware (e.g. printers, copiers, etc.). Library technicians may also assist library users with their use of technology.
The California Library Association’s Technology Core Competencies for California Library Workers describes the variety of technology competencies (technology skills and knowledge) library staff need for their work.