What I do as a Librarian


For reasons unknown many people think that all there is to a librarian is to stamp books when loaned out. I’ve had a few comments over the years similar to this point and I always try to stress that there is much more to being a librarian than people think. One recent such comment was made by two people in a conversation, within the library itself not two feet from me which went something along the following lines:

“I’d be bored to tears [working here] as its quiet.”

“Well you’d just read in between people coming in.”

Yes, that’s what we do. We sit back and read and only ‘work’ when people come in; there isn’t anything else to running a library. I must admit that I refrained from commenting, I just bit my lip. But this sort of opinion is much more prevalent than people imagine.

Perhaps this blog post is slightly out of spite – but I’m sure that my fellow librarians will agree with me that sometimes you feel that you have to shout out at the top of your lungs and list the many, many things that librarians do (on perhaps an almost daily basis).

[It is similar to being a ‘writer’ too, especially those of us who haven’t had anywhere near the fame and fortune of the likes of James Patterson; people don’t see the amount of work and the range of work that goes into writing.]

So…what I do as a librarian:

  • Yes, I loan and discharge books (including stamping them)
  • I’m also basically a nursery nurse at times
  • I acquisition new stock and material
  • I provide proper material for each age range from child to adult
  • I keep aware of new publications and new authors
  • I keep aware of what the local library users are interested to read
  • I plan, organise and run activities
  • I plan, organise and run events
  • I add new stock
  • I remove ‘dead stock’
  • I manage shelving
  • I recommend
  • I advise
  • I am a source of information including helping people access information
  • I signpost to a huge range and services (and knowing where to find them)
  • Data entry
  • The formulation, maintenance and editing of cash report spreadsheets
  • Cashing up and receipting
  • Handling cash
  • Training of new volunteers
  • Organising volunteers and their work loads
  • Providing volunteers with continued support and guidance
  • Computer and tech support
  • Managing the library catalogue
  • Troubleshooting
  • Electronic resources
  • Aid people with online facilities
  • Help people set up email accounts and get online
  • Run, organise and promote summer reading challenges
  • Being unfazed by complex enquiries which are often of a sensitive nature
  • Data protection
  • Liaise with police and schools, local and district councillors
  • Be aware and active in the safeguarding of children, including online
  • Block access to websites deemed unsuitable
  • Deal sensitively with people with learning disabilities
  • Be aware of legal/ethical issues and any changes in them
  • Provide a safe, family-friendly environment
  • Printing
  • Photocopying
  • Promote and market the library networking through social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and library website
  • Control the premises
  • Manage budgets
  • Chasing and collecting books back and enforcing fines
  • Digitization and digital preservation, making sure information will be accessible in the future
  • Liaising with other libraries and librarians
  • Stock support
  • Requests
  • Lone working
  • Team work
  • Knowledgeable about books and authors (new and old)
  • Working with the public
  • Running and managing the in-house café

and that’s just me, there are numerous different roles and environments open to a librarian, including within law courts, in academia, research librarians, archivists…..


2 comments on “What I do as a Librarian

  1. Writers know that librarians rock. There are days when the only person I converse with, outside my family, is a librarian. Thank you for all you do.

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