Typical Positions and Roles Within a Public Library

Keep in mind that job titles are fluid, positions often merge with those with similar responsibilities, and all public librarians need management skills, as they will be expected to manage projects, departments, and community relationships. In addition, many public librarians may be asked to provide some information literacy instruction, serve on committees, provide collection management, conduct community outreach, and form partnerships/collaborate with community groups.

Use this chart and job descriptions to think about how your career goals and current skill set match up. Once you see what you need, consider choosing courses, internships, and volunteer experiences that will help you develop new skills and increase your desirability as a job candidate.

(*job postings/salaries are as of Fall 2014)

(click position title for full job posting)
Responsibilities Qualifications Typical Salary Range** (varies with location, library size, applicant experience, etc.)
Adult Services:
Public Services Librarian

Senior Librarian

Head of Adult Services

Reference Librarian/
Asst Branch Librarian


-Reference & reader's advisory

-Collection management

-Identify curriculum needs in the communities

-Programs and services

-Update website and social media sites

-Grant writing

MLIS; experience assisting a variety of people in a fast-paced environment; skills in online searching, programming, collection development $45,000-$60,000
Children’s Services:
Children's Services Coordinator (Indiana)

Early Literacy Children’s Librarian (Massachusetts)

Youth Services Librarian
(West Virginia)

Children's Librarian (Massachusetts)

-Collection management



-Strategic Planning

-Supervise assistants

-Programs and activities

-Reader's advisory

-Publicity management

MLIS; experience working with children; courses in children's literature/literacy; knowledge of children's bibliographic tools and programs $45,000-$55,000
Teen Services:
Head of Teen Services (Virginia)

Teen Educator (Rhode Island)

-Teen programs & services

-Facilitate video, audio, gaming systems

-Train & supervise staff

-Manage Teen Center budget

-Partner with community organizations

MLIS; demonstrated experience working with teens; knowledge of current related technology (i.e. mobile technology, social media, eBooks) and teen literature and programs $45,000-$55,000
Info Tech Management
Asst. Director for Digital Strategies (Texas)

Deputy Director for Digital Services (Idaho)

-Meet IT goals; manage policies and procedures

-Identify and address user needs

-Ensure library compliance with citywide technology standards

-Manage vendor relationships -Manage technology budgets

MLIS; Bachelor's or advanced experience in Computer Science or related field; 5-7 years experience in IT; knowledge of library-specific technology $60,000-$100,000
Library Management:
Central Library Manager (California)

Director of Library Services (Texas)

Library Director
(New Jersey)

Deputy District Director (Washington)

-Oversees staff, programs & departments

-Leads strategic planning, grantwriting, fundraising, budgets, contracts

-Communicate with external stakeholders

MLIS; several years increasingly responsible library administrative experience; at least three years supervisory experience; skill in analysis, negotiation and problem solving $60,000-$100,000
(and up)
Collection Development:
Youth Selector - Collection Management

Reading & Materials Director (Washington)

Manager of Collection Services(Massachusetts)

Librarian – Collection Development (Texas)

-Researching, acquiring, cataloging, digitizing, & preserving collection items

-Specialized reference

-Manages collection budget and programming

MLIS; skill in analysis, negotiation and problem solving; knowledge of integrated library systems; proven skills in collection-related operations preferred; technical services experience a plus $60,000-$75,000
Virtual Services
Communications & Virtual Services Manager (California)

Web Services Librarian (Massachusetts)

Adult & Virtual Services Librarian (California)

-Manage digital brand and marketing

-Develop social media marketing strategy

-Provide training and tech support

- Analyze statistics for use of Virtual Services

- Supervise staff

- and budget

MLIS; experience writing web content; knowledge of current and existing technologies, trends, and services; knowledge of eBooks and social media platforms $50,000-$116,000  (and up)
Technical Services:
Reference & Technical Services Librarian
(New Hampshire)

Librarian – Technical Services (California)

Technical Services Manager (Washington)

-Acquisitions, processing and cataloging functions

-Maintain Integrated Library System (ILS)

-Responsible for library's website and social media presence

MLIS; One-two years library experience; knowledge of current cataloging and classification rules and standards (metadata); knowledge of computer software and systems, especially integrated library systems $55,000-$80,000 


Of course there are many special niche positions as well, such as Genealogy & Local History Librarian or Literacy Coordinator, that require a special skill set.