Career Information: Librarianship
How do I become a librarian?
To become a librarian you need to get a qualification in library and information science. On the island of Ireland there are courses on offer in the Dublin Business School, University College Dublin, and the University of Ulster.
Can I Study for a qualification abroad?
Yes. Many Universities in the UK offer library and information courses but you must check that the course is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. There is a list of recognised courses on their website at www.cilip.org.uk/qualifications.
Can I get a library and information qualification by distance learning?
Yes. Universities in the UK offer library and information courses by distance learning.
You can read about how to get a professional library and information qualification in the Routes to a Professional Qualification section of this site.
Where do librarians work?
Librarians work in many different kinds of libraries and information centres and lots of librarians don’t work in ‘libraries’ at all.
Most people are familiar with the librarian in the public library or in the university library, but there are also librarians working in government agencies and departments, and in private companies.
There are now many librarians employed in the health sector, in hospitals and health boards, and in the larger legal practices.
In recent years, because of their expertise in information handling and information technology, many librarians have moved into the web content and management area.
What do librarians do?
Librarians do a wide range of different things, depending on where they work, but essentially they collect and organise the records of human knowledge and experience in all the various forms that this knowledge comes in: books and magazines and newspapers; video and DVD; CD-Roms and websites.
They also help people exploit these various resources by creating and using catalogues, indexes and search engines and by being expert in the wide range of resources at their disposal.
Buffy’s watcher, Giles the school librarian, put it succinctly:
Willow: How is it you always know this stuff? You always know what’s going on. I never know what’s going on.
Giles: Well, you weren’t here from midnight until six researching it.
Librarians can be heroes in real life too, as Michael Moore, filmmaker and author of Stupid White Men knows:
I really didn’t realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.
How much are librarians paid?
Salaries vary according to the job and in most employments there is also the possibility of promotion and therefore a higher salary.
In the public library service, for example, a librarian starting out gets a salary of €41,662 rising to €50,357 depending on length of service (as at October 2008), while a county librarian earns from €67,160 to €88,385.
Salaries in the academic sector tend to start a little lower, but also tend to go up higher with time and promotion.
Where can I get more information about librarianship as a career?
You can contact any of the universities listed in this section or:
The Library Association of Ireland
c/o 53 & 54 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2
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