Top 11 Skills for Librarianship

Top 11 Skills for Librarianship

Becoming a librarian can be tricky. There are several skills you’ll need to have to do the job right. According to, the following are the top 10:

  • Communication

    • A skill that can be easily learned, but in many cases, further education may be needed.

      • There are many free online courses and multiple library books on the subject.

  • Information curation

    • According to’s article, “The best librarians are experts at using the library systems to find the right books, journals and files for students, researchers and other readers. Being able to curate information effectively requires having a wide range of skills, including research, organization, computer literacy, and document management.”

  • Cataloging

    • Cataloging is a skill learned on the job, in classes, and online that is needed in many roles.

  • Documentation

    • As a skill needed in almost every industry, librarians with this skill are needed everywhere. According to, “As a librarian, it’s essential to be proficient in open source and proprietary library inventory management software for easy documentation, tracking, and retrieval of books and digital resources.”

  • Computer literacy

    • Being able to run office machines and use the computers well enough to teach others how to do basic to intermediate tasks is also vital.

  • Organization

    • Most jobs require organization skills, but this is especially true in librarian jobs. Librarians handle so much data and field numerous questions/user needs that being disorganized is not an option. However, if you see their offices or desks, many librarians are naturally a bit messy (myself included).

  • Leadership

    • Leading a reference interview and assisting any library user effectively and colleagues will require leadership skills. These are a natural part of a personality, but learning how to lead effectively is learned through further education and experience.

  • Problem-solving

    • According to, “By providing patrons with a conducive atmosphere to consume beneficial information, network, and achieve their goals, the librarian can help them solve problems.”

  • Analytical skills

    • This means figuring out what the information says and organizing it to be used correctly. It helps to be naturally analytical, but this skill can be learned by taking courses, on the job, and reading about best practices.

  • Teaching skills

    • describes this skillset as: “actively involved in the recruitment, training, onboarding and mentoring of library staff, showing them how to use the different systems and resources of the library. These individuals also create instructional materials for staff, students in the community, and adult patrons to optimize their time at the library.”

  • Research

    • Well-honed research skills are the central part of reference librarianship and other parts of library service

These skills are necessary for successful librarianship and the career paths many librarians choose. How many skills did you have before beginning your first library job? I learned many of my skills in school and on the job.