Careers in Libraries and Information Science

What we do

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 thrive on change and seek 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
  • designing, directing, formulating policy and applying services to meet the information needs of clients
  • providing expert advice or consultancy services on strategic information management matters
  • developing strategic plans, preparing budget submissions and briefings for general management
  • managing major projects, including information technology systems and applications in a resource environment
  • providing leadership, managerial and commercial skills and judgement
  • marketing and promoting a library or information management service.

Teacher librarians

A teacher librarian is uniquely qualified within the broad fields of education and librarianship with curriculum knowledge and pedagogy combined with library and information management knowledge and skills.

Teacher librarians have three major roles.

Teacher librarians as curriculum leaders:

  • work with Principals and senior staff to ensure information literacy outcomes are a major school focus
  • are involved in curriculum planning and school curriculum committees
  • raise staff awareness of the need for students to acquire information skills and of the importance of resource-based learning in developing these skills
  • promote the use of the information process as a framework for the development of information skills and as the basis for systematic monitoring of students' development as information users
  • plan, teach and evaluate collaboratively with teachers to ensure the effective integration of information resources and technologies into student learning
  • maintain literacy as a high priority, engaging students in reading, viewing and listening for understanding and enjoyment
  • provide additional assistance to students with particular learning needs or abilities, and to students for whom social justice considerations apply
  • involve students in the operation of the information centre to contribute to their understanding of the role of educational information services in lifelong learning and reading.

Teacher librarians as information specialists:

  • provide access to information resources through efficient and well-guided systems for organising, retrieving and circulating resources
  • provide training and assistance to students and staff in the effective use of these systems
  • interpret information systems and technologies for students and teachers in the context of curriculum programs
  • provide specialist assistance to students using technology and information resources in and beyond the school and for independent research
  • provide specialist assistance to students using the school information service facility for independent reading, viewing and listening.

Teacher librarians as information service managers:

  • develop and implement strategies for evaluating the resource collection and for determining curriculum and student needs within the context of identified school priorities
  • develop policies, procedures and criteria for selecting resources which meet curriculum, informational and student recreational needs
  • develop information systems and services responsive to student and teacher needs
  • ensure that the day-to-day administration of the school information centre is efficient and that systems, resources and equipment are well maintained
  • develop budget estimates to ensure that teaching and learning requirements are met
  • provide a stimulating, helpful environment which is a focal point and showcase for students' learning achievements
  • promote the effective use of resources and information sources, systems and services both within and beyond the school.

(Learning for the future: developing information services in schools, second edition, p. 60–62)

Library technicians

Technicians usually work under the supervision of a librarian and have a strong focus and vital role in customer service.

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

  • assisting with loan and reference queries at the counter and by phone
  • assisting with internet and online database searches
  • maintaining library resources, records and systems
  • entering and editing data into computerised databases
  • operating photocopiers and other IT and AV equipment
  • arranging inter-library loans
  • develop and present promotional programs, including displays and library tours
  • undertake copy cataloguing and classification
  • at a senior level – supervise other library or clerical staff; manage a small library or information service or head a section in a large library or information.

Library assistants

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

Typical tasks may include:

  • responding to enquiries and providing advice and assistance to library users
  • working as part of a team in a library or information service environment
  • identifying and correcting minor faults with multimedia equipment
  • reshelving returned library resources
  • assisting clients with how to use information services e.g. electronic catalogues
  • using electronic information management and cataloguing tools for data entry. 

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

Where we work

Library and information management trained employees work in regional or remote areas, in cities around Australia and overseas. The opportunities are endless. 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.

Your job may vary according to the size and type of library. In a large library you may become a specialist in areas such as acquisitions, cataloguing, reference work, online services or children's services to name a few.


ALIA accredits courses in library and information management, preparing students for roles as:

  • Librarians and information specialists (undergraduate and postgraduate university courses)
  • Teacher librarians (postgraduate university courses; prospective students must be teacher-qualified to be eligible to enrol)
  • Library technicians (diploma courses)

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

Overseas qualified individuals can find out more about overseas assessment and professional association reciprocity here.

Professional profiles

Like to know more about what library and information professionals get up to each day? Check out this wiki for a range of real-life profiles:   

For further advice