Librarians are responsible for managing, organising and making available a vast amount of information, from digital resources and media, to the more traditional management of books, periodicals and audio and video recordings. While there is no typical librarian or library worker, there are a wide range of common attributes that bring people to the profession. Librarians often enjoy helping and serving other people, and are interested in developing and providing services, resources and materials that inform and entertain. Librarians embrace and thrive on new technology, and at the same time, they have a strong interest in information research, preservation, teaching and training, and they are part of a collegiate profession that encourages sharing information, opinions and expertise.
You will find librarians working in every kind of organisation, from schools, colleges and universities, local authorities, central government and public agencies through to professional membership bodies, charities, prisons, healthcare organisations and a huge range of commercial organisations. Job titles vary widely, and include: knowledge manager, information advisor, library manager, digital librarian, cataloguer, learning resource manager, information specialist, taxonomist, metadata officer, licensing and subscriptions manager.
These variations may reflect the size, culture and history of the organisation, and will illustrate how libraries and information services are perceived and valued within it. Job titles may also be determined by who the head of the library reports to (the head of ICT, HR, finance). Whatever the driver, and whatever the job title, effective librarians and library workers must be adaptable. They must be able to adjust their skills to support different parts of the organisation, build key relationships with a variety of stakeholders and create a cohesive service to meet a range of customer and stakeholder requirements.
Library and information-specific qualifications are not essential to start your career, but formal qualifications will enhance your employability and provide a solid introduction to areas of work you could later move into. A good starting point is the list of academic programmes accredited by CILIP, which is the leading body representing the information professions, and particularly librarians and library workers.
Sue Hill Recruitment appreciates that not all library jobs look the same and not all librarians want the same thing. We know that building strong relationships with our clients in order to appreciate their strategic goals is key to successful recruitment in this area.