library or information professional information manager knowledge manager
Heritage, culture and libraries

Career outlook for librarian

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Run a library so people can take out books, films, music and information quickly and easily. People will use the library for pleasure or to help them learn and expand their knowledge.

You’d help people to find the things they want and answer their enquiries. You’d use your expertise to might suggest things that you think they might enjoy or which will be useful for their studies.

Libraries hold and lend out all sorts of materials, old and new, including:

  • Books and ebooks
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Photos
  • Maps

You could work in a public library or a library in organisations like universities, colleges and schools and some larger companies. It would be useful to have good general knowledge or, if you work in specialist library, an understanding of a particular field.

You would:

  • Use IT systems to classify the materials in the library catalogue and index
  • Organise materials so they are easy for people to find
  • Explain to people how to use the library
  • Use databases and the internet to help people with information enquiries
  • Issue items for people to borrow
  • Keep up to date with new publications and choose new stock
  • Organise services for specific users, for example in a public library you could organise events or services for pre-school groups, housebound people and ethnic minority groups
  • Set up activities such as reading groups
  • Do displays, talks and events to promote the library and its resources

If you work in a school, college or university you might also teach research skills to students.

Working conditions


You would usually work from around 9am to 5pm, but may also work some evenings, and on Saturdays with time off during the week. Part-time hours or job-share may be available.


You would normally be based at one library.


In some jobs you may travel between different sites, work in a mobile library or be involved in community events.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Respecting
  • Filtering
  • Sorting
  • Delegating
  • Making decisions
  • Understanding

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would need an honours degree (SCQF level 10) in library management or information studies or an honours degree in any subject and a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) in information and library studies, information management or a similar subject recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

If you are working as a library assistant you may be able to progress to this role through CILIP Certification.

Entry to a degree requires Nationals and a minimum of four Higher or a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

To enter a CILIP-accredited postgraduate qualification requires an honours degree in any subject - though information science or management, computer science or librarianship may be helpful - and relevant work experience in a library or information centre.

It may be possible to enter this career without an accredited first degree or postgraduate qualification if you hold another degree and are able to get on to a graduate training scheme supported by CILIP. These typically consist of 10-12 months of work experience followed by study for a CILIP-accredited masters-level qualification (SCQF level 11).

Most CILIP-accredited librarianship degrees courses are available in England or Wales.  Postgraduate courses are often available part-time or through distance learning.

Useful subjects

Many courses require English and a social subject or language

  • Religious and moral education
  • Business
  • ICT

You will also need

For some jobs you will need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

 To gain professional status recognised by public and academic libraries, you will need to work towards Chartered status with CILIP. 

Helpful to have

  Relevant work experience is always sought after.