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.
Schooling & School Subjects
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.
P O Box 9785
Tel: (012) 643 9500 Fax: (012) 663 3543
Library and Information Association of South Africa
P O Box 1598
228 Proes Street
Tel: (012) 328-2010 Fax: (012) 323-1033