Kaitiaki Pātaka Pukapuka

Alternative titles for this job

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


Librarians usually earn

$53K-$94K per year

Source: Strategic Pay, 2016

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a librarian are average due to a smaller number of positions available, but increase as librarians retire.


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

  • Graduate librarians with 1-2 years’ experience and those in general librarian roles usually earn about $53,000 to $57,000 a year.
  • Librarians with 3-5 years’ experience with some supervisory or management tasks can earn between $63,000 and $73,000.
  • Senior librarians with more than 5 years experience who manage staff and a small library or department within a larger library can earn between $77,000 to $94,000.    

Source: Strategic Pay, 2016.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Librarians may do some or all of the following:

  • help customers use library technology to find items they need
  • plan and manage library services
  • select and buy books and other materials for libraries
  • catalogue and classify library materials
  • update and maintain electronic resources and databases
  • research information for customers (mainly in corporate or law libraries)
  • 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.

Skills and knowledge

Librarians need to have knowledge of:

  • different methods for organising and finding information, including cataloguing rules
  • 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.

Working conditions


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

What's the job really like?

Amelia Antonio.

Amelia Antonio - Youth Liaison Librarian (Rangatahi)

Thinking creatively to get kids involved

Youth librarian Amelia Antonio has planned lots of events at the library to get teens involved – from movie nights to a krumping dance competition, but she's a librarian at heart, and is especially passionate about promoting reading.

"I help with the library's annual reading programme aimed at all the high schools in Manukau City – one year I even had a local hip hop group help me promote it at school assemblies. The kids loved it. In the end we had a lot more kids participating, from only seven a few years ago to 60 this year. I want them to read!"

Study can be hard to fit in but provides useful background

Amelia is studying for a Bachelor of Information and Library Studies to gain new skills. "The papers are helping me understand the library system better, but full-time work and study can get stressful. I'm lucky I have an understanding family!

"Eventually I'd like to take up a management position," says Amelia. "But I always want to have that openness with kids – I want them to become library users, and stay library users."

Entry requirements

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

  • a Diploma in Library and Information Studies (Level 5)
  • 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.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English and other NCEA Level 3 subjects that involve research.

Personal requirements

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.

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

Find out more about training

Library and Information Association of NZ Aotearoa (LIANZA)
(04) 473 5834 - -
Te Ropu Whakahau -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Retirements providing opportunities

Libraries in New Zealand have an ageing workforce. Many currently employed librarians are over 60, so vacancies are likely to increase as these librarians retire.

Opportunities are better in public libraries than in the private sector where there are fewer libraries and librarians.

Better job opportunities with digital and educational skills and knowledge

Chances of getting a job as a librarian are best if you have strong information technology and educational skills, as well as a wide knowledge of books.

Public libraries are hubs for learning and librarians assist a range of customers to access information digitally. 

Modern library management systems provide opportunities for librarians to work in specialist roles.

You can further increase your job chances if you:

  • have knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori
  • are qualified and willing to work in rural areas
  • have work experience or have volunteered in libraries.

Most librarians in public libraries

More than half of the librarians in New Zealand work for public libraries and about a quarter work for tertiary libraries. Librarians can also work for:

  • the National Library of New Zealand (the largest single employer of librarians)
  • libraries or information services that serve government departments, organisations or companies (special libraries)
  • school libraries
  • law libraries
  • prison libraries
  • museum and heritage libraries.


  • Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), 'Public Libraries of New Zealand: A Strategic Framework, 2006 to 2016', November 2016, (
  • Matthew, J, executive director, LIANZA, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2016.
  • Statistics New Zealand, ‘Census of Population and Dwellings’, 2014 (

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

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.

A librarian pointing at a computer screen with another person sitting alongside

Librarians help customers access online information

Last updated 29 May 2017