Prison librarian

Prison librarians are responsible for the day to day running of the prison library, providing a neutral and non-judgemental environment for prisoners, outside the formal education and learning provision within the prison. This role is about providing access to books and improving information and digital literacy skills. These are skills that have a significant impact upon the employment opportunities for prisoners on release especially their ability to apply for jobs online.

The librarian is also responsible for the line management of library staff and volunteers and will need to manage the library budget. Service delivery, collection management and reader development will also fall under their remit. Reader development activities may include the Storybook Dads and Six Book Challenge initiatives.


  • 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 ECDL or equivalent may be desirable


  • An ability to identify needs and relevant sources of information and organise and disseminate information
  • An ability to select stock and make decisions about different types of materials
  • A passion for literacy and reading
  • An ability to manage budgets
  • An ability to develop effective partnerships
  • An ability to demonstrate social inclusiveness in the way the library delivers services to the prison community
  • Good IT skills specifically with the Internet, Microsoft Office and library management systems
  • An ability to teach information and digital literacy skills
  • An ability to line manage library staff and volunteers
  • An awareness of current developments in Prison Library and Public Library Services
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • A commitment to the Skills for Life agenda and Lifelong Learning
  • A resilience to cope with the unique requirements of working within the prison environment

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