Job Description:

Librarians run public and private libraries, managing access to books, multi-media resources and computers.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • 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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • administration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Librarian, you typically don’t need specific subjects, but having a strong educational background can be advantageous. Librarians often have at least a bachelor’s degree in library science or a related field. While school subjects aren’t the primary qualification for this career, certain subjects can help develop important skills and knowledge useful for the role. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. English Literature: Strong reading, writing, and communication skills are essential for librarians. English Literature can help you develop these skills.
  2. Mathematics: Basic numeracy skills are useful for tasks such as managing budgets, analysing library data, and assessing collection needs.
  3. Science: Depending on the type of library you’re interested in (e.g., medical, scientific, or technical libraries), having a foundation in science subjects may be beneficial.
  4. IT or Computing: Libraries today rely heavily on technology for cataloging, information retrieval, and database management. Courses in IT or computing can provide you with relevant skills.
  5. History or Geography: An understanding of history and geography can be helpful when managing collections that include historical documents, maps, or local history materials.
  6. Foreign Languages: If you plan to work in a multilingual or academic library, having proficiency in foreign languages can be a valuable asset.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • a graduate training scheme


You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in librarianship or information management.

You’ll need some practical experience, which you can get through an internship during your first degree or by volunteering at a library.


You could start as a library assistant or data officer with an information service. With experience, you could apply for certification and study for further qualifications while you work.

Other Routes

You could join an employer’s graduate training scheme and apply for chartership.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 36-38 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends on shifts.

You could work at a library, at a school, at a university, at a college or in a prison.

Career Path & Progression:

You could move into a senior job as a manager. Another option is to take responsibility for a specialist service or collection.