What does a teacher librarian do?

The role of teacher librarian is a varied one encompassing a range of core tasks. Teacher librarians must have excellent communication skills, needed to teach students and staff how to use information systems, advocate for improvements to literacy and library services with administrative staff and contribute to curriculum and policy development. They also have responsibility for administrative tasks related to budget and staff management, as well as for processes and policies directly affecting the library such as resource acquisition.

Tasks:

  • Teach effective research skills
  • Manage library resources and purchase new materials
  • Develop library policies and procedures with admin staff
  • Perform end of year stocktakes and periodic weeding
  • Familiarise teachers and students with library resources and study tools

What skills do I need to be a teacher librarian?

Teacher librarians must have strong communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as the ability to relate well to children and young people. They must be well organised and have the ability to multi-task and prioritise. Basic financial management skills are an important aspect of the teacher librarian role. It is also essential that teacher librarians have a good understanding of curriculum and pedagogy, as well as the fundamentals of information studies and library management.

Skills/attributes
  • Organisation and time management skills
  • Communication skills when working with a variety of age groups
  • An understanding of current research methods and available resources
  • An interest in fostering literacy skills

Specialisations

There are a number of possible career progression options available to qualified teacher librarians. The blend of information services skills and experience, alongside the understanding of the education sector and management responsibilities that teacher librarians have opens up a variety of opportunities, some of which are outlined below.

Principal

Principals work with both education and administrative staff to ensure the smooth functioning of the entire school. They are generally experienced teachers who also have a strong understanding of the wider environment in which the school sits, including curriculum development, staff and budget management.

Vocational Education and Training Lecturer

Experienced teacher librarians who also hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment are able to lead courses and workshops for those wishing to learn more about, and potentially work in, information services and teaching settings.

Library Manager

Teacher librarians, particularly those with specialised skills in information management and retrieval, can also move into library roles outside of the education sector. These roles can include managing departments within public libraries, working in a corporate or parliamentary library, and even museum, archival and cultural services.

Study pathways for teacher librarians

There are essentially two pathways to enter this industry, either through a teaching background or through experience in library services. To become a teacher librarian in Australia you must hold a Bachelor level qualification and complete further study in either education or information services.

Getting Started

Get a handle on core skills for working in information services within the education sector.

Skill Building

View courses that will build on your existing skills to further your career as a teacher librarian.

Professional Development

Qualified teachers can expand their career opportunities by undertaking additional study in information services.

Industry Recognition

In order to work within the school system in Australia as a teacher librarian, you’ll need to register with your state authority.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your career in education. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for teaching jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Qualified teacher librarians are in demand and there are increasing numbers of job opportunities available for those in this field.