Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site


Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for librarians are average, and income is average. Employment is expected to increase in the coming years, leading to more opportunities for younger librarians. The nature of the work is changing, however, and is increasingly becoming less based on paper and more on digital solutions.

How to become a librarian

What they do

Librarians maintain and develop library services. This includes organising the stock of books, buying new books, organising events to promote reading and library services, and offering information to library users. Librarians in corporate, law or other specialist libraries may also help users do research (some of public libraries also offer research expertise).

Their tasks may include:

  • developing and implementing library and information policies and services
  • examining publications and materials, interviewing publishers' representatives, and consulting with others to select library materials
  • reviewing, evaluating and modifying services in response to user needs
  • providing assistance to clients in accessing library resources
  • managing library systems for recording and organising library holdings, acquisitions and purchases, reader registrations and loan transactions, and supervising indexing, filing and retrieval activities
  • managing inter-library loan systems and information networks
  • undertaking information research activities on behalf of clients
  • selecting, ordering, classifying and cataloguing library and information resources
  • monitoring collection development and culling programs
  • supervising and training other library staff
  • planning and directing library promotion and outreach activities


Librarians usually need a New Zealand Certificate in Library and Information Studies (Level 5), or a degree in Information Studies. For students who want to complete a degree, there are bachelor’s degrees is (in both applied science and arts), where a possible major is in a library-related field. Students wanting to complete a postgraduate degree – such as a master’s degree - must have already have a bachelor’s degree, although this can be in any subject.

Cost of study

Diploma in Information and Library Studies (Level 5)Master of Information Studies
$4,380 over two years $26,600 over two years

 Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free
tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

A Level 5 Diploma in Information and Library Studies is the cheapest way to get a library qualification. The Master of Information Studies costs more, but usually also leads to better paid jobs after graduation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

The Open Polytechnic offers diplomas, certificates and bachelor’s degrees in relevant subjects at Levels 5-7. These are distance courses and can be completed from anywhere in New Zealand.

Victoria University of Wellington offers postgraduate degrees in information studies. These are also available by distance from anywhere in the country.

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the average annual income for librarians is estimated to be around $50,300.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Librarians’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
4,299 4,167 4,790 5,240
  -0.4% 2.3% 1.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the broader category “Information and Organisation Professionals”.

The number of librarians in employment was reasonably stable between 2006 and 2013. However, this is projected to change, with growth of at least 1.5% per year projected until 2028. This means there should be opportunities available for new librarians in the coming years.

The nature of librarians’ work has changed and is still changing. Organising books is becoming a smaller part of the job, whereas information technology is becoming increasingly important. As ways of storing information continue to change, librarians’ jobs will change too.

 Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Librarians are not on Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage list

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Since 2013, the number of online job vacancies for librarians has grown at a rate similar to the average for all vacancies. There were slightly fewer vacancies in 2018 than there were in the previous 3 years, but the number of vacancies has increased this year.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Librarian vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

Most librarians work in public libraries, but there are many other options for librarians. Librarians are needed in corporate libraries, law libraries, university libraries, prison libraries, museums, and in other kinds of libraries.

As they gain experience, librarians can also get more responsibility. This can include being a team leader, sole-charge librarian, or chief librarian at a larger library.

Some librarians, especially those with postgraduate degrees, can go on to other kinds of work (for example, consulting or information management).

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level librarians.

  • Archivist
  • Curator
  • Historian
  • Library Assistant
  • Records Adviser
  • Systems Administrator

Other information


More information on librarians is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of librarians has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

2246 –Librarians
599711 –Library Assistant
224211 –Archivist
224212 –Gallery or Museum Curator
224214 –Records Manager