Library technicians need:
- good communication skills
- good organisational skills
- good interpersonal skills
- a keen eye for detail.
Working conditions can vary greatly between libraries, depending on the size, location and type. In Western Australia there are several hundred public libraries, located throughout the state, in both regional and metropolitan areas, as well as a large number of university, government and business and other private libraries, though not all libraries will necessarily employ library technicians. The vast majority of library technicians in Western Australia work in the Perth metropolitan area. Evening and weekend work is often required, however this may vary depending on the size and location of the library.
On average, library technicians, classified under gallery, library and museum technicians, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a library technician develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Library technicians must be proficient with computers, both to maintain library records and to access databases, which are increasingly being stored electronically. They must also be familiar with a range of specialised catalogues and databases in order to effectively manage and locate records and information both in their own library, and in some cases, at other locations. Trolleys are often used to transport books around the library for shelving, and ladders may be used to reach high shelves.
To become a library technician, you usually have to complete a VET qualification in library and information services recognised by the Australian Library and Information Association.
The Diploma of Library and Information Services is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.