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Emerging Technologies Librarian Jobs

In the past month or two there have been a lot of jobs for Emerging Technologies Librarians (at least six that I’ve seen). I find it interesting that we are seeing more and more of these positions. Looking at the ads there are some commonalities in what employers want out of an emerging technologies librarian:

  • Plan and implement appropriate technology to improve services and access to resources
  • Stay current on new technology
  • Web-design skills
  • Innovative
  • Ability to work in a team and collaborate across campus (e-learning, IT, etc.)
  • Share technology knowledge with library staff

I love seeing that more jobs of this nature are being created, and I feel it’s important that libraries are creating positions that are focused on thoughtfully planning and implementing technology. Anyone should be able to come up with ideas for a new technology in the library and then implement it, whether they’re a reference librarian, cataloger or director. But having a dedicated position like an emerging technologies librarian shows that the library is committed to staying current and trying innovative solutions to the new problems we are all facing.

Any of these jobs look really fun and interesting and it makes me wonder: now that these jobs are becoming commonplace, what will future library positions look like? What will be library job titles in the future?

Andy Burkhardt

6 Comments

  1. I find these positions a little troubling, like libraries are saying, oh we'll just get someone current and that will solve all our technology problems. It runs the risk of being a band-aid. I also think that while it must be nice to be the person in the position, it also potentially sends the message to other staff that they don't need to learn this stuff and in fact, we only support this one person learning this stuff. You people are the old guard, hurry up and retire. I think the last bullet in your list of job descriptions is the most important – and it's not just sharing but building a community to ensure that these skills penetrate into the organization deeply and that everyone feel empowered to learn, including on work time. OK, ending rant. Jenny, old guard liberrian.

  2. Jenny, I really think you make a good point in your comment. A position like this definitely does not solve all the technological problems. I never thought of it from the other angle, that people might not feel that they should be learning or contributing to technology initiatives because that is someone else's job.

    I think you're right about the last bullet being important, and it ties in with the point about being collaborative. In a position like this the person who is hired should be creating a culture of experimentation and empowerment so that everyone wants to learn and try new technologies. A position like this walks a fine line. The right candidate will increase excitement and participation in learning about new tech, and another candidate might stifle creativity by having everyone think they're in charge of technology.

  3. At my college we use a different tool for working on our projects online.
    Its free and needs no installation since its online, go to http://www.showdocument.com
    pretty useful for me since i usually do my projects on the laptop. -chrisman

  4. My library recently created an Emerging Technologies Librarian position and I am fortunate to be in that position. I was a reference librarian for 10+ years and have only been in this position for 3 months. I'm the first one in the system and am kinda writing my job description as I go. I'm trying to increase excitement and definitely not stifle creativity. I am not in charge of technology. The only thing I am in charge of is social media and it is my goal to spread as much responsibility for that around as possible. I want to coordinate not control. We just started integrating social media into our 'pr' arsenal so it may be a while…admin is a bit skittish about it right now but I'm hoping that, as they become more comfortable with it, they will allow more people to contribute. It's a goal.

    One of the main things I want to do in this position is be a point person for new technology for the library staff. If someone has questions I try to answer them as quickly and accurately as possible. Since I've worked in this system for a while I have connections with a lot of the staff so that makes it a bit easier to be aproachable. I try to stay current on tech and library trends. It's a lot of reading but it is useful.

    I've only been in this position for 3 months so there is a lot to do and learn. I'm trying to stay open, approachable, and helpful.

  5. Congrats Matt. It sounds like a really fun position. I think you touched on a key part of the job for a position like this: increasing excitement. you have to be able to be excited yourself, but also get other people fired up. This position could be one that “leads from the middle.” It's really nice that it's new and you get to make it yours. Writing your job description as you go can be challenging but also a great opportunity. You aren't shackled by, “well this is how the last person did it.” No specific expectations means you can really blow people away. Good luck in the job.

  6. Congrats Matt. It sounds like a really fun position. I think you touched on a key part of the job for a position like this: increasing excitement. you have to be able to be excited yourself, but also get other people fired up. This position could be one that “leads from the middle.” It's really nice that it's new and you get to make it yours. Writing your job description as you go can be challenging but also a great opportunity. You aren't shackled by, “well this is how the last person did it.” No specific expectations means you can really blow people away. Good luck in the job.

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