Reference Technician

Washington, D.C
Jun 29, 2022
Jul 07, 2022
Full Time

The Serial and Government Publications Division serves as a primary access point for a wide variety of serial collections in Western European languages, and is responsible for the development and management of its custodial collections. Custodial collections include foreign and domestic newspapers, unbound periodicals, government publications (GPO Depository), intergovernmental publications and documents (United Nations), and other specialized serial collections. The incumbent serves as Reference Technician and provides assistance to onsite researchers through the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, and offsite reference service by telephone, by correspondence, and by E-mail and CHAT. Clients include Congress, foreign and U.S. Government agencies, national and international academics and scholars, research and scientific institutions, the
professional and business communities, and the general public. The incumbent facilitates access to the collections through direct contact with Congressional staff, library staff, researchers and the general public.

Observes and arranges for the secure handling of materials. Assists readers with the use of the library's resources including the use of the library's bibliographic reference sources and full text electronic databases. Communicates with a wide variety of patrons with non-routine questions on borrowing privileges and the location of serial material and other specialized questions specific to the material. Exercises good public relations practices in soliciting information. Demonstrates an understanding of the demands and attitudes of various interested and affected groups. Determines the best way of formulating requests and utilizes good judgment in the selection and presentation of the information.

Coordinates circulation services provided by staff assigned to the circulation desk. Tracks customer orders for materials. Forwards requests and receives materials from various offices. Works with staff to ensure timely response and that proper material is being supplied. Provides circulation desk training for new staff.

Supports patron use of standard reading room equipment. Instructs readers on the features, functions and operation of equipment. Notifies appropriate staff on the status of malfunctioning equipment. Ensures that all reading room supplies are available. Uses strong interpersonal skills to provide excellent public service.

Reviews operating procedures, library policies, and standard reference services to assist a wide variety of clients. Independently provides specialized reference services to a large, varied clientele. Obtains additional information through oral or written contacts. Adapts procedures, decides approaches, and recommends solutions to specific problems. Identifies and obtains typically hard-to-find serial publications, government documents, and/or data based on written (correspondence, email, electronic reference services), telephone, or face-to-face requests. Handles requests that contain inaccurate or incomplete information.

Compiles statistical reports of cleared and pending requests, or other activities, and distributes them to the appropriate contacts. Works with search requests that contain inaccurate or incomplete information;
performs bibliographic searches; chooses appropriate databases for requested materials. Uses a computerized tracking system to input, search, and manipulate data related to the assignment. Independently identifies and resolves malfunctions in hardware or software. Integrates new procedures into the work process.

Identifies and searches for requested items that are vague or not readily found, using an extensive knowledge of bibliographic tools and procedures. Responds to reference inquiries (telephone, written, electronic means, and in person) relating to serials holdings, bibliographic information, binding status for unbound periodical issues, microfilm status of newspapers, and reference assignments.

Resolves complex collections maintenance issues, while responding to the full range of issues and/or problems. Expedites the sorting, arranging, and shelving of incoming or returned newspapers, periodicals, or government publications in a variety of different formats. Demonstrates initiative in recognizing and solving problems, inconsistencies, and errors in piece identification and labeling before such items reach final destination.

Performs other duties as assigned.

The position description number for this position is 187416.

The salary range indicated reflects the locality pay adjustments for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area.

The incumbent of this position will work a flextime work schedule.

This is a non-supervisory, bargaining unit position.

Relocation expenses will not be authorized for the person(s) selected under this vacancy announcement.


Conditions of Employment

At present, the Library of Congress will not enforce an earlier policy to require all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, employees are required to certify their vaccination status, which is used to plan and implement workplace safety protocols, such as those related to mask-wearing, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine. Upon request, new hires may be required to show proof of vaccination to the Health Services Division. Library employees who are not vaccinated may be required to undergo testing for COVID-19 every seven days.

Library of Congress employees are prohibited from using illegal drugs, including marijuana. The Library is part of the Federal Government and abides by federal law, so regardless of individual state or District of Columbia laws, marijuana use is illegal, considered criminal activity, and can affect your employment at the Library. In addition, past drug use and activities (e.g., selling or distributing) may deem you ineligible for employment.


Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

Ability to maintain material in library collections.**

Ability to provide reference services.**

Ability to respond to requests for searches of information in library resources.**

Ability to use computerized tracking system to input and search tools.**

Ability to exercise strong interpersonal skills to provide excellent public service.

Knowledge of subject matter for library collection.

Ability to retrieve and maintain materials in library collections.

Knowledge of library processes and procedures.

Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.

Additional information

Although it is the Library's policy to afford the maximum pay benefit to employees when setting rates of pay, a new appointee who has had no previous Federal service will generally be paid the minimum step of the grade.

The Library of Congress is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit a complete application package that is received by the closing date of this announcement.

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please email The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants with disabilities may be considered under special hiring procedures and must submit an appropriate certificate of eligibility when applying for this position. The proof or disability/certification may be issued by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Office, Disability Services or Career Services office of the applicant's college or university, or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The letter must verify that the applicant has a severe disability and must be dated within three years of the date of the application. Certification from health care providers are not accepted. For more information contact the Library's Office of EEO/Diversity Programs at 202-707-6024 or email FAILURE TO SUBMIT YOUR CERTIFICATION WILL CAUSE YOUR APPLICATION TO NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE SELECTIVE PLACEMENT PROGRAM.

The Library of Congress is the national library of the United States and is part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal government. As such, all positions are in the excepted service.

Appointment/retention is subject to a favorable evaluation of an appropriate personnel security/suitability investigation.

The Library reserves the right to fill a lesser or greater number of vacancies indicated during the life of this vacancy announcement.

Initial appointments, permanent or indefinite, to the Library of Congress require completion of a one-year probationary period.

The Library of Congress may offer repayment for all or part of federally insured student loans. However, not all service units within the Library of Congress participates in the repayment of federally insured student loans. Therefore, determination to repay a federally insured student loan is subject to approval by the appropriate service unit.

A "Not to Exceed" (NTE) status is used to identify an appointment with a specific ending date. However, the Library has the right to separate a NTE employee at any time due to either performance issues or budget constraints.

Are you a veteran? Please indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming in your application materials and/or applicant profile and provide the appropriate supporting documentation to validate your claim. Those applying for 5-point preference must submit Member Copy 4 of your DD 214. Those applying for 10-point preference must fill out an SF-15 (click here for the form) and provide the required documentation listed on the back of the form. If required supporting documentation is not attached, Veterans' Preference will not be considered in the application process.