Six reasons to become a librarian
Posted February 20, 2012, by Mike Kermode
If you thought being a librarian was boring, think again. Here are six reasons why working as a librarian is stimulating, rewarding and a fantastic career choice.
1. You're helping people find the information they need
This is the crux of being a librarian, and the idea lends a certain democratic integrity to the role. Helping people access information and gain knowledge, from historical records to the latest medical research, serves to progress the state of both individual and collective knowledge. And in this digital age, you can be instrumental in guiding people through the reams of online information to high quality, credible sources.
2. You're constantly learning
The variety involved in librarianship is second to none. You could be researching genealogy one day, the history of torts the next, and environmental science after that. These days, it doesn't just take 'a love of books' to want to become a librarian. A love of knowledge is where it all starts.
You'll also have to learn the technical side of things – as technology moves, so does the way we access and store information. Librarians need to keep up with the latest information technologies to appropriately organise and manage the information they're entrusted with.
3. You can work in academia but not teach
While teacher-librarians in schools might participate in teaching, academic librarians sit at the heart of an institution's research activities – the nerve centre of academic rigour. This means you can be involved in the academic process, providing researchers with the best information available, but be separate from the pressures of teaching and the 'publish or perish' cycle.
4. You enjoy great working conditions
Being a librarian is a people-person job, and while it might sometimes be tough dealing with people who need their information pronto, your working conditions are hard to beat. The pay is usually pretty good, you're involved in interesting processes and research, and you get to work in civilised and calm surroundings.
5. You develop useful skills
Organisation, accuracy, research, customer service, administration, information and database management, staff management, communications technologies, specialised knowledge (media law, copyright) … you can claim all these skills in your role as a librarian. The skills you garner are incredibly varied, as well as useful.
6. It's a good career change
Skills transfer goes both ways. When asked how they got to be a librarian, a lot of people say they just 'fell into it' from a former occupation, be it teaching, administration or almost anything else. And while you'll need a qualification to change careers to become a librarian, it's a role that draws on literacy, IT and organisational skills that you may already have from a previous occupation. So for many, it's a fresh start that doesn't feel like too much of a leap – maybe it's the new start you need too!