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Local Studies Librarian

Local Studies Librarian

Local studies librarians have three main roles - collecting local studies materials relevant to the whole of their community, making them accessible to as wide a range of users as possible and preserving those materials for the future. This often entails a balancing act juggling the needs of present and future users, often digitisation and other surrogates can provide a solution. Local and family history are important forms of self-directed informal learning and they promote a feeling of local identity which can help local authorities develop social cohesion.

Local studies materials come in a wide variety of formats and can include books, pamphlets, maps, photographs and other illustrations, oral history and sound recordings, ephemera etc. Many are locally produced so the librarian will have to create finding aids using IT skills.

Most local studies librarians will also have a role promoting their collections through events, publications, IT initiatives and community projects. Local studies collections attract many volunteers and the librarian will have a role managing them along with any paid staff. Local studies collections are increasingly jointly managed with archive collections so liaising with fellow professionals in the heritage field is also important.

Qualifications and experience

Library assistant posts in this sector usually do not require formal qualifications and some trainee or apprentice positions are available. An accredited postgraduate qualification in library and information science is usually required for more senior posts. Many employers also look for CILIP Chartership or a willingness to work towards Chartership for higher-grade roles. An interest or qualification in history would usually be seen as an advantage.

Relevant Special Interest Group

Local Studies Group

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