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Exploring the World of Parliamentary Librarians

Open Books in front of tablet

Libraries are some of the most exciting places to work, and as a librarian, you get to use a variety of skills every day. In this blog series, we’ll look at the types of skills and knowledge necessary for working in a library, knowledge or resource center. And we’ll showcase some specific sectors where you’re bound to find a librarian! We’ll start off with the work librarians do in a parliamentary setting. So, if you’ve ever wondered about working in a library, keep reading to learn more about the skills you’ll need to succeed!

Generally, librarians need a variety of soft skills to do their jobs effectively. In fact, there are a few soft skills that are essential for success in this field. Here are five of the most common ones for any librarian.

1. Research Skills

Librarians need to be skilled researchers to help borrowers or users find the information they are looking for. These research skills may extend to deciding on the type of sources needed, effective searching methods and citing sources appropriately. Librarians need to be able to use a variety of research tools, and they need to be able to evaluate the quality of the information they find.

2. Communication Skills

Librarians need to be able to communicate effectively with a variety of people, including children, adults, and seniors. They need to be able to explain complex concepts easily. They also need to be able to listen actively to what borrowers or customers are saying to better assist them.

3. Organizational Skills

Librarians need to be extremely organized to keep the library running smoothly. On an average day they’ll need to be able to keep track of all the books, DVDs, serials, journals, electronic resources, and other materials available for loan. And they need to know where everything is in the library. Librarians also need to be able to keep track of all the events and programs happening at the library and promote them effectively.

4. Interpersonal Skills

Librarians need to have excellent interpersonal skills to deal with their customers, borrowers or users daily. A little bit of patience, friendliness and a helpful attitude is also a ‘must have’.

So, let’s change gears now and look specifically at the kind of work a parliamentary librarian might do day-to-day. They are responsible for providing research and information services to Members of Parliament (MPs) and their staff.

Parliamentary librarians play a vital role in supporting the work of Parliament and ensuring that MPs have access to the information they need to make informed decisions. What are some of the typical duties of a parliamentary librarian?

  • Conducting research on behalf of MPs or their staff
  • Sourcing and supplying information from a range of sources, including print and electronic
  • Providing advice on research strategies and resources
  • Assisting with the use of information resources and technologies
  • Preparing briefing materials for MPs
  • Delivering training sessions on research and information strategies
  • Participating in committees and working groups
  • Writing blog posts, articles or reports on parliamentary library services and resources.

Overall, parliamentary librarians handle a wide range of tasks to help maintain the effectiveness of the library and its services. From providing research and reference services to developing new collections, parliamentary librarians have the unique opportunity to ensure legislators have the necessary information to make informed decisions.

By taking on these important roles, parliamentary librarians help to support the work of our elected officials and ensure that the legislative process is as efficient and effective as possible.

Stay tuned for our next in the series … coming soon!