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OSP Occupational Profile

OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 5111 Occupation: Librarians
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Librarians select, develop, organize and maintain library collections and provide advisory services for users. They are employed in libraries or in a department within a library. Librarians select, develop, organize and maintain library collections and provide advisory services for users. They are employed in libraries or in a department within a library.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read notes from co-workers. For example, librarians read notes from library assistants explaining why particular books are unavailable. Library supervisors read notes from librarians outlining difficulties encountered by users of the libraries' computers. (1)
  • Read summaries of recently published titles in suppliers' catalogues and professional journals to become familiar with the content of new releases that might be ordered for the library's collection. (1)
  • Read monthly, quarterly and annual reports which summarize the operations of the library. In these reports, read about services provided, programs developed and problems encountered at the library and within the library systems. Read text explaining and expanding upon quantitative data such as satisfaction survey results. (2)
  • Read policies, procedures and technical manuals. For example, read the Biblio Cataloguing Manual for direction in cataloguing monographic series. Review their library's policy and procedure manuals to locate information on issuing library cards to people who cannot produce proper identification documents. (2)
  • Read letters from publishers informing them of new authors and book titles. Librarians in public libraries read letters from individuals and organizations requesting permission to host lectures at their locations. (2)
  • Read library users' email and chat room entries. For example, read library users' requests for resources on specific topics, suggestions for titles to add to collections and ideas for improvements to library services. (2)
  • Read email from co-workers and colleagues, and memos from managers. For example, read co-workers' comments and queries about matters such as staff schedule changes and requests for assistance in hosting library information sessions. Read email from colleagues describing new programs and upcoming events at the library. Read memos from management containing detailed instructions such as procedures for upgrading computer components. (2)
  • Read local and national newspapers and Canadian and international magazines to remain knowledgeable about current events and new publication releases which may generate users' requests. For example, librarians in public libraries read articles of public interest in magazines such as MacLean's and Time and profiles of authors nominated for Giller Awards in newspapers such as the Globe and Mail and the National Post. (3)
  • Read collective agreements and copyright regulations. For example, read collective agreements to ensure you are following proper procedures for requesting personal leave, seconding additional staff and responding to grievances. Librarians in public libraries read copyright regulations governing the showing of movies on digital video discs in libraries and schools. (3)
  • Read a variety of books, reports and other publications critically and purposefully. For example, librarians in public libraries may read novels, plays, biographies and poetry so they can facilitate discussions at book club meetings. They review books for children and young adults to determine suitability for different age groups and interests. They may read current best-sellers and business books so they can advise users about reading selections. Librarians in health agencies such as cancer research facilities read books on the care and treatment of various types of cancer. Librarians in law libraries read books on legal matters and case law. They may identify titles and selections which may be of interest to particular library users and provide insight and detail for particular lawyers' files. (4)
  • Read professional and academic journals. For example, librarians in public libraries read the journal of the Canadian Library Association, Feliciter, to remain knowledgeable about developments in the profession such as Internet filtering, inter-library loans and literacy theories. Law and medical librarians read journals published in their specific fields. (4)
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Writing
  • Write reminders for yourself and notes for co-workers. For example, write reminder notes of users' requests and tasks to be completed. Write notes to co-workers to relay messages from library users, alert them of misprints in monthly program calendars and advise them of equipment malfunctions. (1)
  • Write letters. For example, librarians in public libraries write letters inviting users to participate in their guest lecture programs. They write to lecturers to confirm presentation times and dates and to thank them for their participation. They may write letters to respond to library users' complaints and suggestions. (2)
  • Write email messages. For example, respond to managers' requests for information on scheduling changes and meeting dates. Write to co-workers and colleagues to request assistance in locating specialized resources. Answer users' questions about hours of operation, times of computer classes and availability of book titles. (2)
  • Complete incident reports describing unusual occurrences and incidents at the library. Describe the incidents in detail, the actions taken and the involvement of emergency services personnel. (2)
  • Write reports outlining activities in the library, work units and departments. In these reports, identify staffing changes, summarize current program offerings, special events, circulation and acquisition statistics, and new initiatives. (3)
  • Write library guides, announcements and press releases. For example, write instructional brochures on topics such as using the library's web-based catalogues and placing on-line inter-library loan requests. In some cases, write press releases and notices for events such as classes, lecture series and book signings. Librarians in public libraries may write brief summaries of books for inclusion in promotional pamphlets. (3)
  • Write critiques of selected resources for publication in newspapers, professional journals and newsletters and for distribution to colleagues and co-workers. Reference previous works by the same authors and summarize contents of new releases. In some cases, offer opinions on the quality of new works as compared to earlier publications. (4)
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Document Use
  • Refer to a variety of drawings. For example, use floor plans to show users emergency exit locations. Refer to construction drawings and book shelving plans when facilities are being renovated. (1)
  • Scan labels, catalogue cards, book spines, periodical covers and copyright notices for publication dates, titles, authors' names, classification codes and other identification data. (1)
  • Locate information in forms. For example, scan assistants' shift change and vacation request forms when planning work schedules. Librarians in public libraries scan tour request forms to determine names of organizations, and numbers and ages of participants. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms. For example, complete special event attendance, expense reimbursement, personal leave request and time report forms. Complete inter-library and special loan requests by entering users'names, telephone numbers, email addresses, dates and book titles. (2)
  • Scan graphs displaying use of library resources. For example, review bar graphs showing the number of books placed on hold per week and pie charts showing the circulation of materials across various collections. (2)
  • Locate information in a variety of lists, tables and calendars. For example, locate book classification numbers in the Universal Decimal Classification Lists. Read participants' names and contact information on library programs sign-in sheets. Scan tables showing statistics for weekly, monthly and yearly cataloguing and indexing activities. View calendars to identify scheduled times for specific duties such as on-line assistance and floor duty. Reference librarians scan thesauri of descriptors to identify valid search terms. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use graphics software. For example, use presentation software such as PowerPoint to create slide shows for computer classes and orientation sessions. (2)
  • Place orders on-line for resource materials such as journals and books. Access newsletters from other libraries and professional associations. Use various search engines to research new authors, reference requests and reviews of books. Host on-line discussions with users. In some cases, use distance-training software to instruct users and co-navigate virtual tours of databases and websites. (2)
  • Exchange email with managers, colleagues and co-workers. Frequently attach documents and add links to articles and websites and use instant messaging software to chat online with library users. (2)
  • Enter cataloguing, indexing, program attendance data and volunteer hours into spreadsheets for tracking purposes. Record expenditures against the department's budgets including costs for programs and special events. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, use programs such as Word to write letters, reviews and monthly reports. Create signs to direct users to specific locations and inform users of available services. Create brochures, library guides, announcements and press releases. (3)
  • Use databases for tasks such as cataloguing new acquisitions, culling collections and requesting inter-library loans. Query both your own organization's and public databases such as EBSCOHost, Medline and Statistics Canada when researching titles and topics. Select fields and set values for a variety of parameters to produce specific reports such as summaries of monthly and annual circulation data. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Greet library users and direct them to reference collections, computer stations and meeting rooms. (1)
  • Explain library services to users and assist them with the selection of books and other resources. For example, recommend specific titles to users and describe library services. Explain procedures such as borrowing non-circulating resources and using library catalogues, databases and computers. (2)
  • Talk to suppliers and service providers. For example, discuss scheduling arrangements with guest lecturers and negotiate contracts for digitization services. (2)
  • Deliver workshops and presentations. For example, present workshops to post-secondary students on the use of library databases for in-depth research. Present operational updates to library board members and topic-specific information to audiences such as lawyers and medical practitioners. Deliver presentations on best practices to colleagues at conferences. (3)
  • Lead tours and facilitate book clubs and storytelling sessions. Librarians in public libraries provide informational tours for new users, facilitate book clubs for groups such as teens, new mothers and seniors, and host children's story sessions. (3)
  • Discuss ongoing library work with managers, co-workers and colleagues. For example, discuss performance reviews, changes to policies and procedures and upcoming events with managers. Attend staff meetings to discuss topics such as collection development, archiving, new initiatives, changes to schedules, and users' concerns and suggestions. Participate in meetings and conference calls with librarians at other locations to discuss topics such as library services, collection building and shared service possibilities. Discuss procedures for cataloguing, indexing and digitizing acquisitions with co-workers. (3)
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Money Math
  • Accept cash and make change for a variety of library service fees, fines and charges. For example, collect fines levied on overdue and damaged materials and payments for printing and photocopying services. (1)
  • Calculate expense claim amounts. Include costs incurred for parking and determine travel reimbursement using per kilometre rates. (2)
  • Calculate dollar amounts of purchase orders and suppliers' invoices. Apply publishers' discounts, add applicable taxes and calculate totals. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create weekly and monthly schedules for the library, departments and work units. (2)
  • Record and compare expenditures against amounts budgeted for the library departments and work units. Adjust budgets to incorporate unexpected credits and debits. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure furniture such as computer desks and bookshelves when placing shelves and organizing work areas. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Count library resources, items in circulation and library users accessing services. For example, count titles in collections and track numbers and types of resources requested, loaned, damaged and lost. Public and medical librarians count participants attending instructional programs and guest lectures. (1)
  • Create summaries to compare library usage data across days, weeks, months and years to identify trends in library usage. For example, determine patterns by examining increases and decreases in program attendance and circulation numbers. (2)
  • Compare library usage statistics across departments and locations. For example, compare circulation and program attendance statistics to determine usage patterns and to plan acquisitions and new programs. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate available amounts of shelving space for new acquisitions. (1)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Librarians organize their own job tasks under the general supervision of library managers. They respond to library users' requests and queries and this interaction disrupts the completion of regular duties and other tasks assigned by their managers. As a result, they must frequently reorganize their schedules. In larger libraries, they may rotate positions to cover various service areas. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide which library programs to offer. Consider the cost of new and existing programs and the staff time needed for each. Review attendance data from programs operated in the past. (2)
  • Choose to repair, replace and cull library resources such as books and videotapes. Review circulation histories, publication dates, reprint availabilities and numbers of titles by the same authors. Check to see if newer editions are available. (2)
  • Choose titles to add to collections. Consider summaries in publishers' catalogues, consult colleagues and question users' about their interests. Consider existing titles in the collection, the value of new acquisitions for library users and the demographics of the library community. Analyze circulation data for similar titles as indicators of potential usage demand. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • You cannot physically locate titles requested by users. Re-check the database to confirm the status of requested titles and place holds. If users require titles immediately, check availability at other locations and request inter-library loans. (1)
  • Assigned tasks cannot be completed due to disruptions. For example, when dissatisfied users constantly complain about long waits for computer access, librarians create and post sign up sheets, monitor the appropriate use of computers and suggest users access computers on other floors. When users are being too noisy, they ask them to respect library rules and be quieter. They may ask unruly users to leave. (2)
  • There are last minute cancellations for scheduled programs. For example, when guest lecturers cancel on short notice, librarians determine if the lecturers can be rescheduled, if alternate guest presenters are available and, if not, offer apologies when cancelling the lectures. (2)
  • You are unable to complete job tasks due to process and equipment failures. For example, when users arrive to collect requested resources, librarians may find that there are no records of the requests. They identify causes such as data entry errors and resolve them by teaching the users the proper processes to follow. When equipment fails they carry out basic diagnostic and repair procedures found in service manuals and contact information technology departments for additional assistance. (2)
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Finding Information
  • Find background information on a variety of topics when writing articles for publication and preparing presentations. Search databases and catalogues, read journal articles and scan bibliographies. Consult co-workers, colleagues and managers. (3)
  • Locate resources in response to users' requests. Conduct searches of databases, library catalogues and websites. Read title descriptions, journal abstracts, published reviews and consult colleagues. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate performance of library assistants, technicians, clerks and volunteers. Review employment records for data on shifts worked and sick days taken. Observe assistants' interactions with library users. Read and listen to users' comments about assistants, technicians, clerks and volunteers. (2)
  • Assess suitability of titles prior to acquisition. Read all available title reviews and discuss proposed title additions with managers. Librarians in colleges and universities seek expert opinions from academic department professors. They consider possible users' reactions and potential repercussions when recommending controversial titles. (3)
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