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.


How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.



What to Study

Degree: Degree courses, for example BBibl or Library and Information Science - UNISA, UWC, UV, UZ, Information Science - US, UP, Information Studies - UKZN, Information Systems - RU, UFH, UCT, UZ.

Diploma: N.Dip.: Library and Information Studies- DUT, TUT. Course takes 3 years.

Postgraduate: Information Science Honours, Masters and doctorate can be followed at UNISA and UJ

It is expected that students at both universities and universities of technology will gain practical experience in a library for a specified period.


Employment

  • 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


Further Information

Sabinet
P O Box 9785
Centurion, 0046
Tel: (012) 643 9500 Fax: (012) 663 3543
info@sabinet.co.za
www.aclib.sabinet.co.za

Library and Information Association of South Africa
P O Box 1598
Pretoria, 0001
228 Proes Street
Tel: (012) 328-2010 Fax: (012) 323-1033
www.liasa.org.za


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


Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations