Libraries they've always brought to mind books, silence, and 'shushing', but no more. These days there's more to them than just the printed word. All types of multimedia materials, including music, ebooks, ejournals, digital catalogues and specialist research are available. The librarian is responsible for all of this, along with the daily running of the library. Knowing where books are located is only part of the job though, and customer service also plays a big part.
Librarians are responsible for indexing their archives, assigning library resources and setting up initiatives like youth reading groups and book clubs. The role is more than organisational however, with librarians at archives, hospitals and universities often being highly skilled experts on the collections that they curate. Librarians in these positions tend to be in demand and can find themselves in stepping up as teachers of research skills to students and staff.
There are generally two main routes to becoming a librarian. One is earning a degree in a subject like librarianship, or information management, the other comes from working up the ladder from a library assistant role. No matter which one you take, certain abilities are essential. These include exceptional organisational skills, and a real flair for customer service, as dealing with the public is a constant part of the job.
Along with familiarity with databases, a librarian also needs a deep understanding of their subject area. In academic libraries, students and faculty alike will come to depend on this for quality research recommendations. More senior librarians will also be expected to supervise staff and manage budgets.
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