Home Student & Career Tips 5 Alternative Careers for Librarians

5 Alternative Careers for Librarians


There are numerous alternatives careers for a librarians. As someone who is keen on continuous learning and working with the public, you may find a career as a librarian very appealing. But the fact is, there are other careers that allow librarians to capitalize on their interests. These alternative careers include roles in technology, education and many others which will be revealed in this article.

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Librarians who may likely want a career change may take their work experience and utilize it in other information-centred positions. In this article, I’ll be enlightening you on the five (5) alternative careers you can explore as a librarian, their functions and necessary skills needed to excel in such careers. They are presented below:


1.  Archivist

People who are in charge of/or perform the task of creating, collecting, cataloguing and organizing archives are called Archivists. These professionals assess, collect, preserve, maintain, control over and give access to records and archives which are meant to have a long term value. These records that are maintained by archivists include a variety of forms, letters, diaries, logs, government documents, sound/picture recordings, personal documents, digital files and other physical objects.

Also, because the archival records are usually exceptional, few archivists may be concerned with the preservation and custody of the physical document in respect to its information content.

Necessary skills needed to excel as an Archivist:

  • Inquisitive
  • Methodical and logical
  • Organised, with excellent administrative skills
  • Proficiency in ICT
  • Collaborative skills so as to work well in a team
  • Friendly and able to relate with a wide range of users
  • Excellent verbal communicator
  • Capable of carrying out independent research
  • Forward-thinking ability with an ability to anticipate and prepare for changing uses of archived information
2.  Museum Curator

These professionals manage and oversee cultural heritage institutions from one museum to another but typically they acquire objects and collections, keep records and catalogues, plan and organise exhibitions, research objects collections, and administrative duties which includes planning budgets, negotiating loan items and so on.

A Museum Curator is also sometimes referred to as Gallery Curator who helps manage and maintain the collection of works of art and artefacts.

Some of the duties of a museum curator include:

  • Attending to the care and display of items such as artwork, collections, historical or scientific items, etc..
  • Providing information and designing displays for the benefits of
  • Fostering relationships with stakeholders and community
  • Preparing budgets and managing the gallery
  • Museum curators can also get involved in public relations, fundraising, marketing and educational programs.
  • Overseeing documentation, conducting research on the history of a
  • Finding packages for art during

A Curator usually fills the role of a specialist in big museums and will also be responsible for conducting research on objects as well as controlling the acquisition of collections. Specific duties of a curator mainly involve:

  • Acquiring objects
  • Keeping record and cataloguing acquisitions
  • Researching objects and collections
  • Planning and organizing exhibitions
  • Writing bids, planning budgets and negotiating loan items
  • Dealing with inquiries from clients, public and

Curators also liaise with community groups and management boards, trustees, governors and council members in order to secure funding for the museum. The responsibilities of a museum curator are usually broad, therefore, some broad skills and knowledge are required so as to excel in this field.

Necessary skills need to thrive as a Museum Curator:

  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to organise, present and communicate effectively through designs
  • Exceptional project management and organisational skills
  • Wide-range of knowledge in fundraising for cultural projects
  • Knowledge on how to operate museum databases and resolve IT issues
  • Good collaborative skills
  • Adept at research and IT.
3.  Records Manager

A Records Manager is a professional who handles record management for organizations. There’s no kind of organisation that doesn’t require the service of a records manager, be it a small or big organization. This is because records managers are important as they help in gathering information content. These sets of professionals can be seen in business settings, government parastatal, non-profit organizations and so on.

As a records manager, you get to provide expertise in records management, including knowledge areas such as:

  • Records creation and use
  • Records appraisal, disposition and retention
  • Vital records identification and protection
  • Records and information management technology
  • Active and inactive records systems.

The role of a records manager isn’t limited to the above mentioned, the role can range from that of a file clerk to the Chief Information Officer of an organization. As s records manager, you may also focus on design strategies, operational responsibilities and policies for maintaining and using information. Records managers can also be found in law firms, healthcare industry and many others.

Necessary Skills Needed to Become a Records Manager

  • Meticulous ability
  • Analytical skills
  • Administrative skills
  • Patience
  • Prioritizing capability
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to communicate and influence effectively, mainly when asking colleagues to hand over records or to perform duty correctly.
  • Confidence in utilizing a standard database, software and operating systems.

Other Functions Of a Records Manager Include:

  • Writing reports and publications
  • Ensuring financial, legal/administrative requirements and regulations are complied with.
  • Classifying and indexing records
  • Providing training to staff who need access or have responsibility for maintaining
4.  Database Administrator

This alternative career for librarians has to do with maintaining a successful database environment by directing or performing every related duty in order to keep the data safe through specialized computer systems. Database administrators use specialized software to keep and arrange data. Some of the duties include:

  • Allocating system storage and planning storage requirements for the database system
  • Enrolling users and maintaining system security
  • Modifying database arrangement as necessary
  • Controlling and overseeing user access to the database
  • Maintaining archive data
  • Backing up and restoring information
  • Acting as a liaison to users
  • Generating different reports by collecting from the database when

Skills required to thrive as a Database Administrator:

  • Knowledge of structured query language (SQL)
  • General understanding of distributed computing architectures
  • General understanding of operating systems
  • General understanding of routine maintenance, recovery and handling files of database
  • Knowledge of database design and database queries.
5.  Library Technician

As a library, you can consider this career as an alternative. A library technician is someone who has wide knowledge and outstanding skills in library and information science. This professional is trained to perform the day-to-day activities of a library and help librarians in the preparation, acquisition and organization of information.

Library technicians assist in handling technical services such as cataloguing due to the wide utilization of computerized information storage and retrieval systems.

Various kinds of Library technicians include:

Academic library technicians: These set of professionals assist students, faculties, and staff in colleges and universities. They assist students, faculty, and staff access information and resources related to research projects or course work. Some assist each student in how to access and use library resources. Academic library technicians sometimes work at service desks for reserve materials, computer labs or special collections.

Public library technicians: These set of professionals operate in their community libraries to serve all members of the public. They help to ensure patrons find books to read for pleasure; help patrons with their research for schoolwork or project, business, or personal interest; and educate patrons on how to access the library’s resources. Few technicians in public libraries sometimes help organize programs for users, such as storytime for children, book clubs for teens/adults, or other educational/recreational activities.

School library technicians: They assist in showing students how to find and use library resources, maintain textbook collections and they also help teachers develop curriculum materials.

Special library technicians: They work in libraries, in government agencies, museums, corporations, law firms, and medical centres.

Other Responsibilities Include:

  • Purchasing of items based on the librarian’s selection criteria
  • Cataloguing and classification of materials
  • Inputting data to assist in acquiring print and non-print materials
  • Assisting in the provision of reference services and circulation methods
  • Shelf reading to ensure items are in the correct area
  • Sorting items and organizing for later use
  • Registering new patrons and update patrons information when required
  • Inspecting equipment and materials for damage upon return
  • Preparing overdue notice reports
  • Maintain photocopy and computer equipment
  • Perform physical maintenance of

The skills needed to excel as a Library Technician:

  • You must be able to communicate well with colleagues and library users.
  • Must possess sound knowledge in computer
  • Flair for learning new things
  • Be willing and eager to learn and improve your knowledge
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills, etc…


You being a Librarian doesn’t make you limited to sitting in that library, cataloguing, attaching and working only in the library. This doesn’t mean working as a librarian is not a fulfilling career, no, that’s not what this article is all about. If you’re one who wants to apply his/her skill in an alternative field where your skills can be of great use, then this article must have enriched you. There are opportunities you can explore which you may find fulfilling also as explained in this article.

I’m certain you find this article enlightening and you now know various career alternatives you can explore in order to help broaden your skills and self-development.

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