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The Role

Librarians, or information professionals, have numerous roles and can work in a variety of different environments. But, what exactly do librarians do? What types of libraries are there? What types of skills are required to be a librarian?


One of the most obvious roles of a librarian is working with library collections. This includes maintaining the quality of library material, for example mending books or ordering new ones. Other roles involve helping people find the information they are looking for and being engaged in library improvements (e.g. making the library more comfortable or advising future library design). Librarians look after more than just books; they are responsible for finding information within numerous media e.g. journals or serials. Since many journals are published online, along with many library resources, good computer skills are becoming essential for modern librarians.


Most librarians work in public libraries. This is by no means the only work environment. Schools and higher education institutions also require librarians to run their collections. Even the government needs librarians. All these locations have one thing in common: vast amounts of information requiring easy access, thereby creating an essential role for librarians.


The skill set of librarians must include a logical mind (organisation is imperative), a desire to help people find the information they need, attention to detail and good communication skills. If you have these abilities, becoming a librarian may be the profession for you. To find out why people become librarians, read about the Library Routes Project (


How to become a librarian:


To work in a library, you do not necessarily need a formal qualification. However, it is also possible to enter either undergraduate or postgraduate programmes. These must be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Course titles vary between institutions. It is best to access the accredited universities from the CILIP website and read about the courses on the university websites.


  • As an undergraduate…

These courses are three years in length and each institution has their own entry requirements. A Levels are normally required, but some places offer a foundation year (making the whole degree four years) if these are not held.


  • As a postgraduate…

To enter into a postgraduate programme, you will need an undergraduate degree and work experience in a library (some institutions require several years of experience for entry). These courses tend to last for one year.


A list of accredited institutions can be found by following the link below:


Qualifications and experience:


Work experience in a library is highly favourable when applying for any library related degree. Library assistant positions, for example, are paid and do not require formal librarian qualifications. Job sites are the best place to look for this type of work experience. Also, contact your local public library and see what they can offer you.


Salary expectations:

Salaries are widely variable depending on where you work. For example, a newly qualified librarian working in a public library can earn between £19,427 and £23,473. For more information, please follow the link below:

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