How to Become a Librarian

What is a Librarian?

Librarians are responsible for organizing and managing all resources in the library which includes issuing resources, cataloging books, and conducting regular audits. They are also in charge of collecting, organizing, and issuing library resources such as books, films, and audio files.

How to become a Librarian?

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in librarianship or information management accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. You’ll need some practical experience, which you can get through an internship during your first degree or by volunteering at a library.

For the requirements, you’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Or, you could start as a library assistant or data officer with an information service. With experience, you could apply for certification through the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and study for further qualifications while you work.

Librarian duties

Librarian duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Conduct regular checks and updates on database information
  • Help research reading materials and references
  • Publish and update content on the library’s website
  • Understand general library practices as well as the practices of the specific library where they work
  • Respond to requests in person, over the phone, or via email to answer questions and locate information
  • Organize activities and promotional events
  • Manage library budgeting and billing for new equipment
  • Supervise library assistants and other staff

Librarian Skills

To be an effective librarian, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Familiarity with information management systems
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Effective communication 
  • Ability to multitask
  • A patient and friendly personality
  • Excellent IT skills and knowledge of library databases

How to find a Librarian job:

When you search for Librarian jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for Librarian jobs include;

  • Learning resource manager
  • Library support staff
  • Library assistant

How to apply for Librarian jobs:

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the Librarian jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for Librarian jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

What does a Librarian do?

The job of a Librarian varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of Librarian job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a Librarian include;

  • manage staff, budgets and statistical returns
  • use IT systems to catalogue, classify and index stock
  • deal with counter, phone and email enquiries
  • organise IT access and solve user problems
  • keep up to date with new publications and select stock
  • make sure staff follow Freedom of Information, Data Protection and Copyright laws
  • promote library services through displays, talks and community events like reading clubs
  • attend meetings and conferences

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