Becoming a Library and Information Professional

Why become a Library and Information Professional?

Australian library and information services are vibrant and ever-changing, as they grow with the information needs of their communities. While the range of settings is wide, library and information professionals are united in common values, and promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy, environment and democracy.

Where do Library and Information professionals work?

Library and information management trained employees work in regional or remote areas, and in cities around Australia and across the world. You could work in a:

public library, • school library, • university or TAFE library, • state or national library, • parliamentary library, • business or corporate library, • government library, • museum, • archive or cultural service, • health library, • special interest library, • law library, • film /music library, • United Nations, • recruitment agency that specialises in the sector, • training organisation, • information consultant, • research organisation, • your own knowledge management business, • commercial company that supplies the LIS sector.

Other work titles and roles that are found within our sector include:

research officer • information consultant • customer service officer • program manager • data researcher • corporate librarian • team leader • community information officer • information or knowledge broker • managing director • library educator • circulation officer • lecturer • web manager • policy manager • national librarian • state librarian • parliamentary librarian • new technologies coordinator • repository resource librarian • knowledge centre manager • liaison librarian • music librarian • coordinator electronic resource access • manager flexible delivery and lending services • health reference librarian • information and data professional • TAFE librarian • collections and facilities assistant • project officer information management • metadata team member • law librarian • manager digital services

What types of Library and Information professionals are there?


Librarians and Information Specialists

Librarians and information specialists have a strong focus on assisting people and organisations and possess unique technical skills to manage and retrieve information. They embrace change and challenges that require creative solutions.

Typical tasks of a professional librarian or information specialist may include:

  • managing and resourcing a branch library, a section of a large library, a small special library, or a research program

  • supervising and leading staff

  • managing major projects, including information technology systems and applications in a resource environment

  • designing, directing, and applying services to meet the information needs of clients

  • developing programs that are responsive to community needs, following evidence-based analysis

  • providing expert advice or consultancy services on strategic information management, access, organisation and retrieval 

  • developing strategic plans, preparing budget submissions and briefings for general management

  • marketing and promoting a library or information management service.


Librarians and information managers hold an ALIA accredited undergraduate or post graduate university qualification in library and information science.


Teacher Librarians

Teacher librarians are uniquely dual qualified within the broad fields of education and librarianship. They possess curriculum knowledge and pedagogical expertise combined with library and information management knowledge and skills.

Teacher librarians have four key roles:

  • Learning and Teaching: Teacher librarians provide activities with a focus on literature and reading promotion, literacy, digital and information literacy, inquiry-based learning, information and communication technology (ICT) integration and resourcing the curriculum.
  • Management: Teacher librarians provide physical and intellectual access to information and ideas, including library facilities, material resources and pedagogical programs and services physical and digital.They are responsible for the school’s physical and digital learning space where reading, inquiry, research, thinking, imagination and creativity are central to learning and teaching.
  • Leadership and Collaboration: Teacher librarians lead and provide services and programs developed collaboratively with the principal, curriculum leaders, teaching colleagues, members of cultural, linguistic, indigenous and other unique groups in the school, including the professional development of staff. They are future-focused with an appreciation of emerging trends in education, technology and librarianship.
  • Community Engagement: This area of activity encompasses programming, collection development and outreach efforts that welcome diverse cultural, linguistic, and other unique groups into the school library. Teacher librarians acknowledge the importance of families in the education of their children and the value of intergenerational transfer of knowledge. They liaise with other library groups in the broader community.

Adapted from the Statement on Teacher Librarians in Australia Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Adopted: May 2003 Revised: July 2016


Teacher-librarians hold:


Library Technicians

Library Technicians usually work under the supervision of a librarian and play a vital role in creating access to library and information resources.

With a focus on operational and technical aspects of library and information work, typical tasks and responsibilities may include:

  • maintaining library resources, records and systems, through cataloguing and classification

  • assisting with loan and reference queries

  • assisting with web-based and library database searches

  • operating a wide range of digital technologies and platforms

  • arranging inter-library loans

  • develop, promote and present programs, including displays and library tours

  • at a senior level – supervise other staff; manage a small library or information service or head a section in a large library or information service.


Library Technicians hold an ALIA accredited Diploma in Library and Information Studies, usually delivered through a TAFE institute.


Library Assistants

Library assistants work as part of a service team assisting librarians and library technicians with tasks and procedures.

Typical tasks may include:

  • working as part of a team in a library or information service environment
  • responding to enquiries and providing advice and assistance to library users
  • identifying and correcting minor faults with equipment
  • reshelving returned library resources
  • assisting clients with how to use information services
  • data entry and general administration. 
  • participation in program preparation and delivery

No formal qualification is required for library assistant roles; however many TAFEs and private vocational education providers offer Certificate II, III and IV in library and information services that would enhance an individual's skills and employment prospects for this type of position.



  • Librarians and information specialists – ALIA accredited undergraduate or postgraduate university course.
  • Teacher Librarians – ALIA accredited postgraduate university course (prospective students must be teacher-qualified to be eligible to enrol).
  • Library Technicians - ALIA accredited TAFE diploma course.
  • Library Assistants - no formal qualification is required; however, many TAFEs and private vocational education providers offer Certificates III and IV in library and information services that would enhance an individual's skills and employment prospects for this type of position.

Overseas qualified?
Individuals holding library and information qualification issued overseas can find out more about Australian recognition and professional association reciprocity here.