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Library and Archives Group Jobs


This group includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform professional and scientific work or subordinate technical work in the various phases of library archival science.

There are 4,754 employed in this group. The largest employer is the National Archives and Records Administration with 1,817. There are also 45 employed overseas. All cabinet level agencies employ workers in this group.

The following information is compiled from numerous federal documents including qualification standards, job announcements, career articles, occupation flysheets, FEDSCOPE, OPM, Agency websites, interviews with federal employees, The United States Government Manual, and from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.


Library and Archives Jobs Menu

Job Listings by Occupation

Job Listings Click the job title for job listings, the number employed, hiring agencies, and job series definitions.

Librarian GS-1410
Library Technician GS-1411
Technical Info Services GS-1412
Archivist GS-1420
Archives Technician GS-1421

Review the job vacancy announcements and Qualification Standards for the job you are interested in.

Job Series Definitions

These position descriptions are excerpted from the qualification standards for each job title in this group. In the General Schedule position classification system is established under chapter 51 of title 5, United States Code. The term “General Schedule” or “GS” denotes the major position classification system and pay structure for white collar work in the Federal government. Agencies that are no longer subject to chapter 51 have replaced the GS pay plan indicator with agency-unique pay plan indicators. For example, the Bureau of Prisons uses GL instead of the GS designation. For this reason, reference to General Schedule or GS is often omitted from the individual qualification standard sheets.

A brief introduction for major occupations within this group is provided below.

Librarian GS-1410

Librarians are involved with the supervision or performance of work that requires primarily a full professional knowledge of the theories, objectives, principles, and techniques of librarianship, to select, organize, preserve, access, and disseminate information. This includes determining the most cost-effective way to provide information that will best meet user needs. Typical functions in librarianship are collection development, acquisition, cataloging and classification, reference, circulation, computer system and data base management, and preservation. Some positions also require knowledge of one or more subject-matter specializations or foreign languages.

The federal government employs 1,058 librarians, 18 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force employ 358, HHS 171, and the VA has 104.  Most cabinet level agencies and some large independent agencies employ librarians as well.

The primary focus of the library profession is the management of information. The mission of the librarian is to provide timely and relevant information to the clientele. Librarians provide guidance and access to information resources, both within the physical confines of the library and beyond the library through data bases, telecommunications networks, and cooperative arrangements. The degree to which they access these resources depends on the mission of the organization of which they are a part, and the needs of the clientele served. The services and information that librarians provide include print and special format materials (books, journals, photographs, videotapes, electronic data bases); bibliographic citations, that is, lists of particular information resources; other reference information; instruction to clientele on how and where to find relevant information.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Library Technician GS-1411

This series includes all positions that primarily require a practical knowledge of the methods and techniques of library or related information work in acquiring, organizing, preserving, accessing, and/or disseminating information. Library technicians provide technical support by performing a wide variety of tasks providing direct services to the public and indirect technical services such as materials acquisition, copy cataloging, support of automated systems, or other similar work in support of library or related information programs and operations. The work requires a practical knowledge of library or related information services, tools, and methods and procedure

The federal government employs 709, 24 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force employ 374, the VA 72, and 48 work at the Smithsonian Institute.  Most cabinet level agencies and a few large independent agencies employ workers in this series.

Library technician work varies over a wide spectrum of library or related information functions and over many levels of responsibility and complexity. Since the primary purpose of the library or information center is to organize and manage information in such a way as to provide relevant and timely information to the clientele, library technicians work to support this mission in all its aspects.

Library technician work, particularly at the higher levels, may appear similar to some of the work performed by librarians. Technician work is, however, essentially to support the work of librarians or information specialists. This is true even of very highly skilled work or work that is carried out with a great degree of independence. Certain functions, such as interlibrary loan work, may be performed by either library technicians or by librarians.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Technical Info Services GS-1412

This series includes positions that involve supervision or performance of work in developing, coordinating, processing, and transmitting specialized information. The work requires (a) a broad knowledge of one or more scientific, engineering, technical, or other disciplines or fields of interest sufficient to understand the significance and relationships of the concepts and ideas contained in the information, and (b) a practical knowledge of one or more techniques for organizing, accessing, or disseminating information. Common functions in the occupation are indexing; developing and maintaining thesauri; preparing bibliographies, digests, and reports; searching subject-oriented literature and databases and cataloging highly specialized materials. Some positions also require proficiency in one or more foreign languages.

The federal government employs 900. The Departments of Justice employ 206, HHS 211, and 67 work for the Commerce Department. Most cabinet level agencies and a few large independent agencies employ workers in this series.

Technical information services work is typically found both in specialized information centers and in libraries. While technical information work is associated primarily with specialized information centers, many libraries employ technical information specialists in a variety of organizational configurations. Some libraries have specialized organizational units composed mostly or entirely of technical information specialists and support personnel. Other libraries have them working alongside librarians, and/or professionals in specific disciplines such as medicine, chemistry, or economics.

Technical information specialists acquire, organize, access, and disseminate information across a wide spectrum of subjects and fields, usually of a highly specialized nature. This is to enable scientists, engineers, scholars, managers, legislators, and congressional staffs to pursue research and program oversight by providing access to pertinent information. This work may be similar to work that librarians perform and may serve similar purposes. What distinguishes technical information work from that of a professional librarian is the particular combination of knowledges and skills required. First, technical information work requires a practical knowledge of one or more functions in information processing, which may or may not be similar to typical library functions. This knowledge is usually acquired on the job or through training courses. The work does not require a full professional knowledge of librarianship. Second, it requires considerable subject-matter knowledge, either in a recognized discipline (e.g., biochemistry or mathematics) or in a broader subject field (e.g., education policy, weapon systems, or information technologies). Some positions may also require proficiency in one or more foreign languages (e.g., Japanese or Slavic languages). Many librarian positions also require significant subject-matter knowledges.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Archivist GS-1420

This series includes positions which involve professional archival work in appraising, accessioning, arranging, describing, preserving, publishing or providing reference service from public records and historic documents. This work requires a professional knowledge of archival principles and techniques, professional knowledge of history, and a thorough understanding of the needs, methods and techniques of scholarly research.

The federal government employs 490 archivists. The National Archives and Records Administration employs 323 followed by the Smithsonian Institute with 37 and the Department of the Navy employs 32. Small numbers work at a few other agencies.

At full performance levels, patterns of assignment in professional archival work are not uniform. Some archivists may specialize by function, e.g., appraisal, others by kinds of records or subject matter such as cartographic records, records relating to a President and his administration, or Civil War records. Depending on the subject matter or area of assignment, archivists may draw upon one or more other fields of knowledge such as political science, economics, sociology, international relations, science or law, and use such tools as historiography or foreign languages. However, for positions classified in this series, these knowledge and skill requirements are subordinate to the requirement for knowledge of the theory, principles and methodology of archival science. Positions for which the reverse is true should be classified to the appropriate subject-matter series.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)

Archives Technician GS-1421

This series includes positions which involve nonprofessional and technical work in accessioning, arranging, describing, preserving, using, and disposing of archives, non-current records, and related material kept in record and manuscript depositories. This work requires the application of a practical or technical knowledge of archival methods, procedures, and techniques, and in some assignments a knowledge of the administrative history of specific Federal organizations, past or present. The work does not require full professional preparation in archival science, or the application of a full professional knowledge of the history of the United States.

The federal government employs 1,568 archives technicians. The National Archives and Records Administration employs 1,480 followed by the Interior Department with 24 and 17 work for the Department of the Army.

“Archives” are those documents officially produced or received by a government agency, a public or private organization, or an individual which, taken in the aggregate, serve to record the operations or activities of that institution or individual. As the term is applied to the records of the Federal Government it embraces (1) those bodies of non-current permanently valuable records that form useful evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of Federal agencies or very important federal officials, or (2) those records that must, or should, be preserved for their informational content.

“Records” includes books, papers, maps, photographs, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government in pursuance of Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business, and preserved, or appropriate for preservation, by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government, or because of the informational value of the data contained therein.

Many of the records originally received by a records depository do not have permanent value. These are kept for specified periods of time and are disposed of according to schedule when official or legal requirements have been met. Those determined to have sufficient permanent or actual archival value to warrant Preservation by the U.S. Government are sent to a designated archival depository.

Job Series Titles: (The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.)