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Librarian

Evaluates, acquires, organises, manages, provides and distributes information in a variety of formats.

Job description

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.

Work activities

  • 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.

Work conditions

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.

Typical employers

  • 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.

Career development

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.

Salaries

Republic of Ireland: Salaries will vary depending on employer. Public librarians, earn approximately €35,000–€63,000.

Entry requirements

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
  • Librarianship

Postgraduate study

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.

Training

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.