Librarian and Information Worker

Library science is a challenging career, which is concerned with information in every form, including books, libraries, the Internet and other forms of database management.

Librarians administer libraries and perform related library services.  They work in  a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organisations and healthcare providers.  Their tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating and maintaining library materials, and furnishing reference, bibliographical and readers' advisory services.   It involves the collection, organisation or arrangement and supplying of sources in various formats for education, information, cultural development, recreation, and the supplying of information services to various communities and specialists.

Librarian and information workers select and identify information sources that will satisfy the needs of users. They organise and manage the information sources and facilities for easy accessibility.

Librarian and information workers can work in public libraries, where they attempt to satisfy the educational, recreational and information needs of local communities. They also work in school media centres providing for the information needs of pupils and teachers. At universities, universities of technology and college libraries they fulfil the information needs of students, lecturers and researchers.

In specialised libraries and information centres, they offer specialised and personal service to users, for example, that are attached to research institutions, industries, financial institutions, professional career practices or cultural organisations.

At national libraries, they are responsible for the compilation, upkeep and supply of a complete collection of material published in and on specific countries. They may also work in related areas where library training and skills are applicable, for example freelancing and lecturing.  Some librarians perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesise, analyse, edit and filter information.  They may set up or work with databases and  information systems to catalogue and access information.  They direct and train library staff in duties such as receiving, shelving, researching, cataloguing and equipment use.

Librarianship thus offers a variety of career possibilities that range from the use of a computer and telecommunication technology to the utilisation of information for the advancement of the social and economic development of the South African community. The work of a librarian and information worker is becoming more complex with the improvement in information technology and therefore there is a need for qualified persons to work especially at research at university and university of technology libraries.

Personal Requirements

  • ability to have a good relationship with people
  • enjoy working with machines and data
  • fond of books and enjoy reading
  • aptitude for organisation and management
  • systematic, accurate and responsible
  • creative and imaginative
  • computer aptitude
  • wide range of interests and good general knowledge
  • inquiring mind
  • tidy and neat


  • public libraries
  • university, university of technology and college
  • special libraries such as those in hospitals, private industry and correctional institutions
  • government departmental libraries
  • private organisations
  • schools (librarian teacher)
  • research bodies, such as: HSRC and CSI

Getting Started

  • volunteer for part-time work at a local library
  • experience in information management or working in a government department may be helpful, and any work that involves dealing with people such as customer service or teaching
  • speak to librarians and information workers about this type of career


Boston City Campus and Business College does not offer a programme that leads directly to this occupation. Please take a look at the related occupations below to see whether any of these appeal to you. Alternately, please send an email to and a Student Advisor will call you back.

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