Librarian Kaitiaki Pātaka Pukapuka

Librarians identify information that people need, organise it and make sure people can access it.

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Professional registration with the 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 information and items they need
  • plan and manage library services
  • select and buy books and other items and classify them
  • 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 and events
  • manage a library's website and social media channels.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for librarians includes:

  • volunteer or paid work in libraries
  • research or computer work
  • community service
  • te ao Māori and Pacific culture knowledge
  • work in archives or records management
  • 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 who are patient with people
  • able to work with different groups of 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:

  • how to evaluate, organise and locate information
  • te ao Māori and te reo Māori
  • the range of material in their library
  • how to do research
  • computerised information systems, such as library software and subscription databases and resources for specialist subjects
  • how to protect library materials from damage
  • event management
  • 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. School librarians work in term time only
  • 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.

  • School librarians usually earn $25,000 to $30,000 a year, but only work during school terms and hours.
  • Graduate librarians usually earn between $47,000 and $55,000.
  • 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.

Source: Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), 2022.

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

After about five years' experience, librarians may become team leaders and manage staff, or sole-charge librarians who run 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.

Librarians may specialise as:

  • school librarians
  • research advisors
  • cataloguers
  • technology support and digital advisors
  • outreach and events coordinators, literacy leads 
  • community experiences and diversity team leaders
  • health sciences librarians
  • Māori services librarians
  • records and information officers
  • children and young persons' librarians.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

To become a librarian you usually need to have either:

  • an undergraduate library or information management 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.