Participants 2014

Courtney Sutherland: Balancing Librarians and Library Technician roles in the Library.


In today’s libraries the roles between librarians and library technicians have become blurred and overlapped. This overlap can become an issue when dealing with job descriptions and knowing your role within the library. Traditionally technicians are required to support the librarian, but more often than not there are not enough librarian positions available, so the library technician fills the role and blurs the line. In other circumstances some libraries have a suffice number of librarians, however the roles are still blurred in terms of splitting up tasks amongst all staff which causes the job description to overlap once again. I would like to look at this as a focus on our tour to see how or if other libraries face issues with unclear job descriptions or if they find a healthy balance for both library professions.

This could happen in two totally different types of libraries. A library that has continued to grow quickly along with a city has to accommodate this fast growth and thus staff is assigned jobs as needed. This causes a blur in job descriptions and can cause some issues between staff members who are librarians or technicians and do not understand where the line is between their two jobs. The same issue could happen to a library where jobs are being cut and thus causing more jobs to be assigned to the staff members that are left. Do other libraries have this issue? What is the best way to deal with this issue in libraries?

The line that used to be very firm is now almost non-existent; however are the titles between staff doing the same tasks the major thing that separates them? Do other libraries see this as a balancing act between the two professions? What are some of the solutions that allow the lines to be blurred and yet still maintain a healthy work environment?

Finding out if other libraries are having that same overlap between the two professions will be something of key interest for me. Also finding out if other individuals are filling roles in libraries that are different from what they graduated with; for example being a librarian in an assistant role, and if this causes issues.


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