Careers Service Occupations

Libraries & Information Management

Libraries and Information Management

About

Information comes in different forms, from different sources. Professionals in this sector find, sort and present information for those who need it.

There are an estimated 86,376 people working in the libraries and information sector in the UK, and around 2,844 (4.2%) of those work in North East England.

Within the sector, libraries employ the highest proportion of workers (59.4%). The two largest sectors are higher education (21.6%) and public libraries (12.6%). A study of the UK information workforce, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), 2016

Careers advice

Specific industries

Industry news

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. 

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Sector skills councils

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides. 

Making contacts

Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications.

You could start with:

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.

For events for this sector see Careers Service events or External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Museums and Galleries.

Or see our other Explore Occupations pages for more options.

Roles

Library and information professionals can work across a variety of sectors including public libraries, higher education, archives, healthcare, law, government, education and for business and private companies.

Opportunities in libraries and information management can be found across the UK. In England the largest proportion of workers in this sector can be found in London and the South East. 

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

There are additional career profiles listed on the CILIP website.

Academic librarian

Archivist

Careers information officer

Information officer/manager

Indexer

Information scientist

Public librarian

Records manager

Skills employers look for

• excellent communication, customer service and interpersonal skills
• ability to use research skills across a range of formats
• well-developed written communication and the ability to create accurate, relevant and accessible information resources
• ability to identify, locate, and critically evaluate information
• a methodical and logical approach
• IT skills, including the ability to use web content management systems and creating and searching databases

Gaining Experience

Having relevant experience on your CV is a vital way of demonstrating your knowledge to employers. It also helps to develop your essential key skills and highlight your commitment.

With budget cuts to the public sector many local libraries are often run by volunteers. Opportunities in this sector can sometimes be advertised as volunteering, unpaid, or expenses only. 

Eligible students can apply for a Career Insights Bursary and receive a bursary of up to £500 to help with costs related to undertaking unpaid experience.

Professional bodies and research councils also advertise opportunities. See About for a list of organisations.

Advertised opportunities

In the North East

UK wide

Finding organisations

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills.

Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find organisations to approach:

In the North East

UK wide

Newcastle University Alumni

Finding Jobs

Library and information management jobs are advertised widely through websites and the media.

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Vacancy sites

Find jobs and additional vacancy source websites outside of the UK on GoinGlobal.

Public sector and higher education vacancy sites

In the North East:

UK wide:

Specialist recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies often advertise graduate and entry-level positions. They also have a wealth of industry knowledge.

Finding companies

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. 

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Use the directory resources below to research and find potential employers:

In the North East

UK wide

Newcastle University Alumni

Study & Training

Postgraduate qualifications are vital for securing librarian positions.

For librarian positions, a postgraduate diploma or an MA/MSc in library and information science/management accredited by CILIP is essential. Courses can be full-time, part-time and in some cases, through distance learning.

To secure a place on a postgraduate course you will need relevant experience.

If you're not sure if postgraduate study is for you, take a look at further study or come and talk to us. No appointment is needed.