I have a two-year Library Technician Diploma - this diploma is recognized in all provinces, and most Lib Techs fill “middle-ground” positions between clerks and librarians. (I’m in Canada, so this info may be different in the US). I have worked for the past 9 years for the local public library system. As I already have a BA, I did consider doing the MLIS program, but was not terribly interested in high-level administration and policy-type work. I wanted to work with books, information and people. My diploma has allowed me to do that in a secure, unionized, pleasant, fairly-well paid atmosphere (I make about $42 000 Can. a year).
I find many employers (especially non-traditional and specialized libraries - eg. corporate, law, medical libraries) tend to want to employ Library Technicians, rather than actual librarians. Lib Techs tend to have a more concrete, practical education, and of course, the employer can pay them a bit less since they don’t have the Master’s Degree.
My current job is in Technical Services - I am a department head and do the majority of cataloguing of materials, oversee the deliveries between our branches, do database troubleshooting, supervision, etc. Currently, I have no contact with the public - it’s all behind the scenes. Although, I am thinking of applying for a vacancy as the Head of the Children’s Department (quite a change!).
One issue to consider is that many of the tasks done by Lib Techs are currently being contracted out (especially cataloguing). However, being a Lib Tech in my system, at least, allows you to be a department head (eg. Head of Children’s Services, Head of Acquisitions, Cataloguing, etc.) and to work on the information / reference desk, so there’s a lot of flexibility in my library system.
If you have any specific questions, ask away!