Librarians or information managers collect, organise and manage library resources and information to meet the needs of a wide range of users. They deal with enquiries and help users to find the resources or information that they need.
You could be:
- researching, choosing and buying different types of resources
- cataloguing, classifying and indexing resources
- using library managements systems (specialist software) to manage resources
- dealing with enquiries from service users and helping them to access resources
- liaising with academic departments for course development and resource requirements
- organising group activities, like reading groups or community events, and running information sessions for students
- managing the budget for the centre
- recruiting, training and managing staff
- developing and maintaining websites, virtual learning environments (VLEs) and social media channels.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates vary depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Library or information professionals working in the public library service or public organisations, such as the NHS, start on around £21,000 to £25,000. With experience, this rises to around £31,000 and those at management level can earn over £38,000.
If working in an academic or research library, the salaries could be higher.
- Librarians work in a number of different settings including: public libraries, schools, colleges, universities, government departments and public information services.
- You work mainly indoors in libraries of various types.
- You would usually work around 35-40 hours a week.
- Public libraries are often open in the evenings and at weekends so you may have to work shifts.
- Part time work is common.
- You may work in a mobile library or travel to a part time library on some days of the week.
Workforce Employment Status
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- You can qualify as a library or information professional by taking a degree in library management, information studies or a similar subject. Degree courses are available at various institutions in England and Wales. You can find a list of accredited courses on the website of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
- Alternatively, you can take a degree in any subject followed by a postgraduate qualification in library and information studies or information management. Entry requirements for first degree courses are 4-5 Highers, and particular subjects may be specified for entry.
- Accredited postgraduate courses are listed on the CILIP website. In Scotland, the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen offer postgraduate courses. These courses are offered on a full and part time basis, and also distance learning at Robert Gordon.
- For entry to a suitable postgraduate course, you need an honours degree at 2:1 or 2:2. You may also need some relevant work experience.
- Some libraries employ trainees (who must be qualified for entry into a degree or postgraduate course) before they start a course. They can then gain practical training and experience. Some libraries will keep the job open while the trainee completes the course.
- CILIP offers this kind of opportunity under its Graduate Training Opportunities Scheme. See website for a list of vacancies.
- You would require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
Jobs are likely to be in public libraries or colleges and universities. For job vacancies look on the myjobscotland.gov.uk website as well as individual college and university websites.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- methodical and logical
- able to meet deadlines
- able to manage budgets
- patient and attentive to detail, when researching material
- able to work with all types of people
- able to manage a team.
You should have:
- good communication skills
- good organisational skills
- good IT skills
- excellent research skills
- in some cases, specialist knowledge in one or more fields
- a flexible approach to work, as you may need to change quickly from cataloguing, to finding material, to teaching, or researching.
- To qualify for chartered membership of CILIP you must do further training and gain approved experience.
- CILIP offers a wide range of short courses for professional staff. Details are on the CILIP website.
- You may work in a wide variety of places: public libraries (including mobile units), schools, colleges, universities, specialist libraries, information centres and industrial organisations.
- You can apply to join CILIP and work towards chartership once you are working in a related role and have some experience.
- For promoted posts, you usually have to be a chartered member of CILIP.
- In larger libraries and other organisations, there may be a well-defined career path into management. In smaller ones, the professional may have management duties early in their career.
- You should be prepared to move around to get good levels of experience or promotion.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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