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What Does a Web Librarian Do?

In most libraries, old fashioned card catalogs have been replaced with computer systems.
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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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A web librarian generally handles aspects of library operation related to online initiatives or projects. This includes the creation, maintenance of, and support for the library’s main web site, as well as other web projects related to online databases, outreach, or any other aspect of operation. In complex research libraries, web librarians are in demand as technical professionals who can help make sure that the online services of a library work well.

Many web librarians work for the large technical libraries of universities or corporations. In these settings, the web librarian will most likely be responsible for monitoring web projects for accurate desired operation, and providing general support for web initiatives. The web librarian may play many roles, as a graphic designer and content provider, as well as someone who works on technical maintenance or manages the technical needs of library online projects.

One of the possible roles for a web librarian is as a technical instructor. This individual may help teach others about how to use online library resources or engage in very important on-site training for staffers or volunteers when new projects or products result in a learning curve for departments. These individuals might create tools for helping the public to access a library’s online resources. On a regular basis, web librarians may be responsible for bringing any updates to general departments of the library system in order to make sure that employees understand current protocols for using library technologies.

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Another possible role for a web librarian is as a liaison between various departments or offices. This includes working with both technical departments, and end-users in other departments. These professionals may work directly with library directors or other executives. They may also meet with various groups or committees within the school or corporation in order to plan initiatives and projects that meet the needs of the employer. The web librarian may even play a helpful role in outreach to secure funding; for example, as an employee of a public library, the web librarian may participate in meetings on strategies for securing municipal funding for the library’s ongoing and future operations.

As technical employees, web librarians will need to understand some aspects of web design and computer programming. They may not need to know everything about how complex online projects are set up, especially when libraries use third-party online databases for facilitating public research, but they should be able to troubleshoot some sorts of online projects and discuss problems with IT personnel. Specific computer programming skills and advanced degrees help these professionals to build careers in online management within a library department.

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