Sunday, February 15, 2009

FAQs - "About Being a Librarian"

OK, so this isn't really a FAQ.

Since I started this blog in 2004, I've received various "being a librarian" type of questions ranging from career opportunities to whether they'd be suitable for a career in librarianship.

This post is more of a compilation of posts from this blog. It isn't intended to provided comprehensive answers. I hope it'll be useful in shedding more light about what "being a librarian" entails.
Disclaimer: I am NOT the only public service librarian around. What I do is NOT the definitive Public Librarian job scope. I do NOT blog everything about what I do as a public service librarian (which means there's a whole lot more about public libraries that I've not blogged about here).

Questions about becoming a librarian (2005, Sept):
  • Part 1 - A rambling introduction
  • Part 2 - What does a librarian do?
  • Part 3 - How does one become a librarian?
  • Part 4 - What makes a good (public service) librarian?
  • Part 5 - Why do people choose to become librarians?
  • Part 6 - [you probably can skip this: "Why I decided to work for a library instead of a bookstore company"]
  • Part 7 - Why do people remain as a Librarians?

Related posts
Singapore Library Week: I don't Shhh! for a Living (2007, Nov)

What I would tell the librarians - (2006, Oct - "The library as a Business; Public Libraries and social media; What should libraries do, if books become digital?; How can libraries use social media to attract and engage young people?; Social media is a reality")

Being a Librarian Vs. Job title = "Librarian" (2006, Apr)

Still Water Runs Deep or, "Wet Blanket Question" (2006, Feb)

Professionalism is an attitude, not a definition - (2004, Jun)

How I came to be a librarian (2004, Jun)

Thoughts on interviewing for (public) librarianship positions (2010, Sept)

Other references:
PDF Brochure: Be A Librarian - Library Association of Singapore (undated)

Feel free to post your questions at the Librarians-In-Singapore discussion group (more about the group, here).

[Updated - 15 Feb 2009]


  1. Anonymous8:57 p.m.


    Just curious to know, is a librarian's job stressful? I mean, does he/she have to work overtime?


  2. Stressful compared to what? We all handle stress differently. If you're asking if librarians have to work more than the stated hours, yes there are bound to be times like that.

  3. Anonymous10:04 p.m.


    Thanks for answering my question. Hmmm, stressful as in, do you have a lot of workload that needs to be done within a stipulated amount of time and find yourself spending extra hours and multitasking many work at the same time?


  4. Hi anonymous, I'm happy to answer your questions but I'm not sure how useful my replies would be to you. As I said, a lot of what you're asking depends on the individual and also how much experience they have in coping. That said, let me try to answer some of your questions (with a bit of rephrasing):
    1) Do librarians have a lot of work that all share the same deadlines?
    Ans: Sometimes there are times like that. It's not all the time. Also depends on certain periods of the year. E.g. during school holidays, librarians may have to conduct more programmes, and that could be in addition to the regular tasks (like weeding, reports to write, projects to handle).

    2) Are there many tasks to be done at almost the same time, i.e. multi-tasking?
    Ans: Yes, work tends to be like that as librarians in public libraries. Of course you don't do it at the same time per se, but in a week you may have several different things to do (not just one single task, for the whole week). So that requires an ability to plan one's time, work efficiently, and still make sure what is being done makes sense and creates meaning.

    OK, hope this helps. If you need further clarifications, you are welcome to email me at Cheers.

  5. Anonymous1:56 a.m.

    Hi Sir!
    I just want to ask if there is a possibility that I can find an employment as a librarian there in Singapore? I am looking for a job, I hope you can give me some information regarding the "how" to apply at Singapore. Please hope you can help me Sir. thank you very much....

  6. Hi Anonymous, a good place to start is the Library Association of Singapore website. They have Jobs page showing recent job vacancies from the library institutions.

    You could also search for the Careers page of the various library institutions (the LAS website has a directory to those organisations as well). Try job portals like or for related job categories.


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