Librarians evaluate, select, purchase and organise/disseminate information in all formats including books, leaflets, videos, computer software, newspaper cuttings, microfiche and CDs/DVD, providing a reference and information service for users. Most librarians use information technology to find and organise information.
Libraries exist to serve a specific community, which could be the general public, an academic community or industry.
- Building collections to respond to changing community needs or demands
- Cataloguing material and providing instruction on how to use the library and information sources including the internet
- Promoting resources though displays, talks, publications and community events
- Developing programmes for library users of all ages and backgrounds
- Suggesting appropriate books for children of different reading levels
- Lending library material Referring patrons to other resources when necessary
- Facilitating and promoting reading clubs
- Writing grant proposals to gain funding for expanded programme or collections
- Digitising collections for online access
- Answering incoming reference questions via telephone, postal mail, email, etc
- Making and enforcing computer appointments on the public access internet computers.
Travel: not normally a requirement except for mobile libraries.
Working hours: Regular shift work, including evenings and weekends.
Location: opportunities mainly in towns or cities throughout the country but there are some opportunities in rural areas including on a number of populated islands.
Opportunities for self-employment: none.
- Local county and city council libraries
- Universities and other colleges of higher and further education
- Library services in hospitals, schools, prisons, day care centres, parish halls and other community service points
- Mobile libraries that serve neighbourhood housing, rural areas, schools and areas of small population.
Geographical mobility and a willingness to change posts may be required for promotion or career progression. Large libraries often have a clear structure for promotion to management positions with responsibility for a specific subject, service or site.
Republic of Ireland: Salaries will vary depending on employer. Public librarians, earn approximately €35,000–€63,000.
Open to graduates of all disciplines.
Specific degree subjects required
Information and Library Studies can be taken as a subject within University College Dublin (UCD)’s BA or BsocSc. If taken as a major, coupled with six weeks’ full-time work experience in a library or other information environment, this leads to a professionally accredited qualification in Librarianship.
Other relevant degree subjects
- Information and library studies
- Information science/management
- Information studies
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification at Diploma or Masters level accredited by the Library Association of Ireland (LAI) is essential for those who do not hold a professional qualification at undergraduate level.
Distance education programmes are also available from a number of UK universities.
Specific entry requirements
Sometimes a vacancy in a specific subject area will require a degree relevant to that subject.
A minimum of six weeks’ experience is required for entry to the postgraduate training programme. Those with a year’s experience or more will have an advantage.
Most libraries have in-house training programmes. Because of the rapidly changing environment it is important to keep up to date with new technologies. The Library Council manages a training and development programme for public library staff.
Tips for applications
Gain relevant experience. There may be part-time posts in your college library eg as shelvers.
Skills and qualities
- Good general knowledge, and in some cases specialist knowledge in one or more fields
- Good communication skills
- Good IT skills
- Logical and retentive mind, and able to demonstrate initiative when handling enquiries
- Friendly, approachable and enjoy working with people
- Ability to scan large amounts of text and extract the relevant information
- A thirst for knowledge and learning new things, even outside your personal realm of interests.