Novel approach to a career as a librarian

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Librarians organise information in various forms - from books to periodicals to computer materials - to meet the requirements of their library users’ needs.

Their main aim is to help readers find and access the information and books they are looking for.

They are also responsible for acquiring and organising various types of information and resources for the community.

This information covers a wide range of topics – from business and careers to crafts and gardening.

Librarians must determine what information their library users require and what the best way of offering this information is – this is increasingly in the form of information technology, using computers and the internet.

Librarians must therefore be fairly good with technology and also personable to enable them to build good communicative relationships with their users.

Certain positions within libraries are open to those without degrees. In these circumstances, at least five GCSEs are required.

However, anyone looking to advance within this career must have a degree and relevant postgraduate qualification.

A career as a librarian is open to all graduates, although certain degrees are often favoured. These include:

l Librarianship

l Information Science / Management

l Computer Science

l Software Engineering

Graduates without a degree in one of these fields will then require a post-graduate diploma or MA/MSc in Librarianship or Information Science / Management.

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) also offers a postgraduate qualification.

Non-graduates with experience in this sector may be admitted to post-graduate courses at individual universities’ discretion.

Librarians must have the following skills:

l Good IT skills

l Good communication skills

l Enthusiasm and motivation

l Teamwork skills

l Flexibility

l Good organisational skills

Specific subject knowledge may also be needed for certain libraries, for example in universities or hospitals.

Graduate/trainee salaries are typically paid £11,000 - £18,000.

These salaries may increase to around £25,000 after ten to fifteen years of experience.

Of course, librarians in senior management positions may earn as much as £36,000 and top salaries begin at £61,000. Salaries vary greatly depending on location, skills and level of responsibility.

Many librarians are able to work part-time although very few are self-employed due to the nature of the job.