Job profile

Academic Librarian

Academic Librarian Job Profile

What is an Academic Librarian?

Academic Librarians ensure that individuals have access to the materials they require for their study or research. They collaborate with students, academics, and other library employees. Academic Librarians with information management credentials might advance to specialised jobs that involve counselling organisations on data management and security. Academic Libraries support colleges and universities, as well as their students, professors, and staff. 

Academic Librarians ensure that individuals have access to the materials they require for their study or research. They collaborate with students, academics, and other library employees. Academic Librarians with information management credentials might advance to specialised jobs that involve counselling organisations on data management and security. Academic Libraries support colleges and universities, as well as their students, professors, and staff. 


Academic Librarians are involved in a number of tasks. Their responsibilities may include:

  • Working with individuals to analyse, evaluate, and meet their information requirements
  • Developing campus-wide information literacy programs and provide classroom teaching to improve information literacy abilities
  • Chooseing, arrangeing, and making available information in a number of ways
  • Staing aware of technology advances and devise methods to capitalise on them
  • Designing, executing, and managing computer-based systems and electronic databases
  • Creating and administering Websites
  • Collaborateing with classroom professors, computer experts, and instructional designers
  • Contributing to successful cooperation among colleagues
  • Engageing in and leading public relations activities to promote and collect funding for Academic Libraries


The salary for an Academic Librarian in the UK is influenced by the job title, company, experience and location. The average annual income for an Academic Librarian in the United Kingdom is projected to be £31,163, ranging from £21,000 to £46,000. The estimated salary for an Academic Librarian in London is £33,777 per year, ranging from £23,000 to £49,000.

Working hours and work location 

s an Academic Librarian you’ll normally work 35 hours per week and may be required to work some evening, weekend, and bank holiday shifts.

There also may be options for part-time work and job sharing.

Academic Librarians work settings include:

  • Colleges and universities, as well as their academic divisions
  • Institutes of higher learning.
  • Colleges of higher and further education
  • Professional and academic societies.
  • Specialty departments in government, hospitals, and major professional businesses.

What to expect

Some Academic Librarians specialise in subjects such as music, art, law, science, social science, or literary collections. Academic Librarians concentrate on appraising items for purchase and educating customers on how to obtain and use that sort of information.

Academic Librarians can also specialise in assisting specialised groups such as scientists, artists, medical experts, attorneys, inmates, children, and youth. 

As an Academic Librarian you may be in charge of a certain academic subject, as well as gaining specialised knowledge and performing additional tasks such as:

  • Resource allocation
  • Cataloguing and categorization
  • Specialised collections
  • Library projects
  • Loaned items
  • Information technology systems, open access, and e-resources

Your position as an Academic Librarian will also include assisting students and faculty in developing the skills required for productive research. This covers abilities such as teaching in classrooms or virtual learning settings in topics such as:

  • Referencing
  • Information literacy
  • Literature search
  • Intellectual property law

The Academic Librarian may serve a specific department or the entire university; the larger the institution, the more specialised libraries on campus are.


To work as an Academic Librarian, you'll typically require either a first degree approved by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) or a degree in any field with a CILIP-accredited postgraduate diploma or Masters in librarianship, information science or management.

If you don’t have a degree, you might be able to start as a library assistant and work your way up to a full Academic Librarian position by obtaining further qualifications and undergoing more training.

Library assistant positions are frequently filled by persons acquiring experience before pursuing a postgraduate degree.

A Level 3 Library, Information and Archive Services (LIAS) Assistant apprenticeship is also available for advancing experience and knowledge in Academic Librarianship.


Some of the skills that you should possess or obtain as an Academic Librarian include:

must have skills:
  • The desire to meet and serve the library’s user community
  • Analytical thinking skills and the ability to build new or altered systems, processes, and workflow
  • The ability to take initiative and make independent decisions 
  • Knowledge of computers, the internet, and commercially available library software
  • Knowledge of a foreign language for communities with non-English speaking populations
  • Ability to prepare comprehensive reports and present ideas clearly and concisely in written and oral form 
  • Ability to make administrative decisions, interpret policies, and supervise staff
  • Creativity in the development and implementation of library programs and services
  • Ability to communicate both verbally and in writing
  • Favourable attitude toward library customers with special requirements
  • Typing accuracy and skill

Work experience

Before graduation, it is preferable to have some experience working in a library. This might be as a volunteer, a library assistant, or as part of an internship or graduate school project.

Some libraries enable students who have made sufficient progress toward their master’s degree to begin working as librarians.


If your degree is unconnected to information and library work and you have little or no library and information work experience, CILIP’s Graduate Training Opportunities scheme can help you obtain a paid job.

Jobs in the information and library sector are typically published around the end of the year and in the spring, and will provide you with the experience required to apply for a postgraduate degree.

Trainee positions are generally fixed-term and last one year.

Career prospects

Academic Librarians who excel in their field and are interested in management may be good candidates for a position as a department head, branch manager, or assistant director. The position of library director may also be a logical progression, particularly in the case of smaller libraries.

Job titles and descriptions differ from one library to the next, but there are certain commonalities.

Some specific Academic Librarianship related job titles are:


  • Pages – are normally in charge of relocating returned books and other goods to their respective shelves. They are also in charge of maintaining everything in the proper order.Some manage requests to retrieve goods from guarded facilities, while others may be in charge of checking items back in. Page positions are often part-time.
  • Librarians – assist individuals with homework and research problems, make purchasing and discarding decisions, provide programs and training, assist people in using the internet, and construct websites, among other things. Specialised Academic Librarians may manage computer systems, engage with elders and non-English speaking populations, become subject matter experts, or keep records for the online catalogue. Academic Librarian positions are frequently full-time, although most libraries rely on a core of part-time and “substitute” librarians to assist cover all of the hours that many libraries are open.
  • Library Assistants or Technicians – typically conduct clerical chores and are sometimes misidentified as librarians since they are the first face users encounter because most libraries’ checkout counters are near the entrance. Library assistants frequently check materials out and in, collect fines and fees, answer basic phone queries, provide library cards, handle new library materials, and help with reserve items. Part-time and full-time library assistant positions are available.
  • Library managers – including department heads, branch managers, and assistant/deputy/associate directors, are often intermediate managers in charge of departments or other functional areas such as “all library branches.” As managers, they may be in charge of work schedules, personnel assessments, training, and budget management. Branch managers, in particular, sometimes have extra director-like tasks, such as managing the facility’s condition or participating in local community groups and initiatives.
  • Library Directors – have the main leadership role in the library. Typical responsibilities include budget preparation and oversight, development of employment and service policies, strategic planning, public and governmental relations, reporting to the governing board or official, ensuring compliance with laws, fundraising, hiring, motivating, and firing staff, and other duties. The tasks and salary of directors might vary substantially depending on the size of the library. The director of a small rural library may be the sole staff who works on a regular basis.

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