Job Titles and Responsibilities


Regardless of what sort of position you are applying for in a public library, there are several key skills that are valuable for all public librarians. These include:

  • leadership and management ability
  • strong communication skills, verbal and written
  • excellent customer service skills, including the ability to provide technical help for personal devices as well as the library’s own technology
  • an ability to identify community needs and plan programs relevant to those needs
  • an ability to work collaboratively and positively in a team environment
  • good technical skills and an ability to teach those skills whether to patrons or colleagues
  • knowledge of the issues facing the community that you wish to work in

A broad understanding of all aspects of librarianship from reference work to technical services is also useful.

Please see the career pathways section on public librarianship for more information on general skills to develop and courses that will prepare you to work in a public library setting.

In addition, take a look at this great collection of 2018 responses from working librarians, “Here’s What It’s Actually Like to Be a Librarian,” this list of skills from Library Journal, and this interview with a NYPL librarian.