Librarian Kaitiaki Pātaka Pukapuka

Librarians develop, organise and manage library services such as collections of information, recreational resources and reader information services.

Professional registration with Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) is recommended but not compulsory.

Librarians may do some or all of the following:

  • help customers or students to find items they need
  • plan and manage library services
  • select and buy books and other materials for libraries
  • classify library materials
  • update and maintain electronic resources and databases
  • research information for customers or students
  • support customers to access information on their own devices
  • organise or run training courses for customers 
  • manage a library's websites and social media channels.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for librarians includes:

  • volunteer or paid work in libraries
  • research or computer work
  • work in archives or records management
  • customer service jobs such as working in restaurants, hotels or retail shops
  • teaching experience in early childhood and adult literacy.

Personal Qualities

Librarians need to be:

  • good at listening and understanding customers' requests
  • analytical and good problem solvers
  • good communicators
  • patient when dealing with people
  • accurate, quick, efficient and logical
  • able to work on their own or as part of a team
  • good at project management and planning.


Librarians need to have knowledge of:

  • different methods for organising and finding information
  • the range of material kept in their library
  • library software and subscription databases
  • information resources available in specialist subjects
  • how to protect library materials from damage
  • research skills
  • event management skills
  • how to use computerised information systems
  • how to teach a wide range of learners, including children, migrants and older people.



  • usually work regular business hours, but may work evenings and weekends and do shift work
  • work in libraries, offices and information centres
  • may travel locally and nationally to community meetings, library conferences and seminars.

Librarians can earn around $50K-$75K per year.

Pay for librarians varies depending on experience and level of responsibility.

  • Graduate librarians usually earn between $50,000 and $55,000 a year. 
  • Librarians usually earn $50,000 to $75,000.
  • Senior librarians usually earn $60,000 to $89,000.
  • Community library managers can earn from $60,000 to $125,000.

Sources: Auckland Council and Wellington City Council, 2020.

Librarians with two to three years' experience may move into more specialised senior roles, such as acquisitions, cataloguing, collection development or reference services.

After about five years' experience, some librarians may become team leaders and manage staff, or they may become sole-charge librarians, running school or special libraries (government, organisational or corporate libraries).

With five to 10 years' library experience, as well as management and leadership skills, librarians may manage the operations, policy and planning of library services.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

To become a librarian you usually need to have one of the following qualifications:

  • an undergraduate library qualification
  • an undergraduate degree in any subject, and a postgraduate degree in library and information studies.

Some librarian positions require particular subject knowledge. For example:

  • law studies are useful for law librarians
  • New Zealand or Māori history courses are useful for librarians working with specialised collections in these areas
  • expertise in information technology is needed to be a systems librarian.