Librarians – the original and still the best search engine!

November 10th, 2016


So, you work in a library or maybe you are thinking of a career in one?

There are many myths surrounding how we view a typical librarian. However, in todays’ modern world it takes more than reading glasses, a hair bun and a creaky old book cart to succeed in this career!!

These days’ library staff often have a significant qualification under their belt, have a hell of a lot of patience, and are very tech savvy. It’s fair to say that working in a library involves much more than shushing and shelving!

Though there are many different types of library jobs available out there, they all share a common purpose – to assist people in finding information.  In today’s society we are time poor and information hungry and information is a very valuable commodity. A librarian may not know all the answers off the top of their head, but they are there to help you find the solutions!

On a typical day library staff might perform some of the following duties:

  • Understanding and interpreting people’s needs – this could vary from a six year old child learning to read to an 80 year old person trying to borrow an eBook
  • Showing people how to search for information on the Internet and in other online resources
  • Troubleshooting when systems don’t work
  • Organising events such as children’s activities, book groups, IT classes, visiting authors
  • Working with schools & other community groups to promote the library
  • Managing the library’s budgets and staffing
  • Ordering stock and promoting it
  • Working on digital preservation – making sure information will be accessible in future

When you walk into a library today you will notice that everything is connected to an electronic resource in some way. Although library staff have traditionally worked with printed books and resources (and still do), the need to remain on top of ever-evolving technology is important and now most offer access to the Internet, online databases, and eBooks.

“The libraries of today have the opportunity to adapt, remain relevant, and make unique contributions in this rapidly changing virtual universe that is to take on the challenge to understand the power of Web 2.0 and take advantage of the opportunities available to use this technology and provide innovative and user-centred services to tech-savvy information consumers.” (Peltier-Davies, 2009)

This has meant that library staff have to become skilled in using IT systems in order to help their users search for resources, use library equipment such as printers and scanners, troubleshoot any problems that arise with cataloging, and maintain computer systems for record keeping. Users will come to them with any and all of their enquiries so being an expert of their domain is essential!

For this reason you may even find library staff are offered various educational courses (such as new system training) to keep up with changing technology. In addition to qualifications, it’s important to have good communication skills with a strong focus on customer service, an ability to adapt to changes in technology and a willingness to learn new systems.  And lastly it helps to be efficient at problem solving as you are usually the go to person for all enquiries and these can be varied!

Library jobs can be found in many industries such as schools (serving Kindy to year 12), Universities and business colleges (larger institutions may have several libraries on campus serving particular studies such as law), public libraries within your suburb and your major state library. Sometimes corporations such as hospitals, museums and government sectors have their own libraries. So your choice of employment industry is vast.

If you have the experience and ambition, library staff even have the potential to work their way up into jobs such as library directors, department heads and even CIO’s!

So if you are interested in seeing what is out there and exploring your options we would love to assist you in your search for that right career move. Even if you are not actively searching the job market, McCormack Employment Services can do the leg work whilst you remain completely anonymous in the strictest of confidence.