Local studies libraries preserve and make accessible the published local history of an area. They are part of the local authority’s library provision, but are often combined local archive services and museums. They preserve a wide range of materials including books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, microfilms, digital publications, photographs and other images, oral history interviews, sound recordings and many others. All these have their own conservation requirements and need expertise to allow library users to get full value from them.
Community engagement is a vital part of a local studies librarian’s role as collections are important in building up local identity and pride and helping foster social inclusion. This requires working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and involvement with local societies and organisations. There will also be a role in developing specific projects and managing volunteers.
Depending on the size of the service, staff management and service development may be required.
- An accredited library and information qualification is usually required
Chartered Membership of CILIP (MCLIP) is advantageous in demonstrating an ongoing engagement with the profession.
- An IT qualification such as ECDL or equivalent is often required
- A history qualification may be required
- Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with all members of the community
- Excellent customer care skills
- Good IT skills
- Ability to teach historical research skills
- Ability to deliver services to the public, demonstrating good practice especially in relation to disadvantaged groups
- An enthusiasm for local history and family history
- Ability to build and maintain partnerships with internal and external partners
- Awareness of national and regional issues in the library, local studies and archives sectors
- Ability to manage projects and deliver them on time
- Ability to plan services, meet targets and constantly improve performance
- Commitment to continuing professional development
Related books and publications
- Local Studies Group (CILIP) Local Studies Libraries Guidelines (2002)
- Cloonan, Michele V. Preserving Our Heritage (2015)
- Dewe, Michael Local Studies Collection Management (2002)
- Dixon, Diana Local Studies Librarianship: A world Bibliography (2001)
- Hunter, Gregory S. Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: a how-to-do it manual for librarians 3rd ed (due Sept 2015)
- Ruthve, Ian and Chowdhurt, G.G. (eds) Cultural Heritage Information (2015)