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You are here: Home » Career Sector Information » Culture & Art » Libraries and Archives

Culture & Art

Culture & Art

Libraries and Archives

Yorkshire is second only to London in the size and complexity of its archives with around 200 archives of all types and sizes based in the region and attracting thousands of visitors from the UK and worldwide every year.

Plans, letters, maps and other manuscripts document the social, domestic, business and political life of the region. The Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York specialises in the study of ecclesiastical history, in particular that of the Province of York and acts as the diocesan record office. The Yorkshire Film Archive, based at York St John College provides state of the art conservation, storage and access facilities.

Although competition isn't generally touch for this kind of profession opportunities can be scarce so it's really important to be able to show a future employer that you've gone that extra mile to gain experience and an insight into the sector.

Many archives offer work experience placements to both students and graduates which is a great way to get your foot in the door with an archive as well as gaining some hands on experience for your CV. Check out Yorkshire Signpost, which is an electronic guide to all the regions publicly accessible archives and can be downloaded via the web, for places to start. Many Universities offer postgraduate courses in archives and records management which can enhance your employment prospects in the profession.

Yorkshire has 357 public libraries and 43 mobile libraries with around half of the region's residents being members of a public library. As well as a great network of local libraries the county also houses a few special collections. York Minster Library is the largest cathedral library in the country, with a collection of over 120,000 volumes, with over 25,000 books printed before 1801. The Minster archive contains a variety of archive and manuscript collections. The British Library Document Supply Centre is based at Boston Spa in West Yorkshire and contains over 260,000 journal titles and over 3 million books. There are also libraries at the various Universities and Higher Education Colleges in the region. Details of these can be found via the ARCHON list below.

There have been changes in the way people find information in recent years with more and more turning to the web which means that jobs in this area are likely to have a strong focus on digital media as well as traditional books.

If you want to work in libraries you're going to need to be a highly organised and motivated individual and be able to demonstrate these skills to future employers. Many libraries offer internships as well as volunteer opportunities that can be great to gain some hands on experience for your CV.


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Useful links:

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

CILIP is the professional body formed following the unification of the Institute of Information Scientists and The Library Association. It provides information, advice, news and networking opportunities to those working in the information sector.

Records Management Society of Great Britain

Membership of the Society is open to all those working with records and information. Website has a RM bulletin and an RM Jobs section with details of records management recruitment specialists.

Museums, Libraries and Archives Yorkshire

The lead agency for museums, libraries and archives in Yorkshire.

British Library, Boston Spa

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest libraries. The Reading Room at Boston Spa has collections of over 7 million publications and the Document Supply Centre is based here.

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York

The Borthwick Institute for Archives is one of the biggest archive respositories outside London.

ARCHON Directory for Yorkshire and Humber

The ARCHON Directory from the National Archives includes contact details for record repositories in the UK which have substantial collections of manuscripts noted under the indexes to the National Register of Archives.

Yorkshire Film Archive

The Yorkshire Film Archive is the public access film archive for Yorkshire and the Humber with more than 14,000 items of film and video tape, dating from the earliest days of film making in the 1880s to the present day.

Libraries & Archives

City of York Council Libraries

North Yorkshire

Harrogate & surrounding area

Richmond & surrounding area


Rotherham & surrounding area


East Yorkshire Libraries & Archives

Hull & surrounding area

Leeds & surrounding area

Bradford & surrounding area

Huddersfield & surrounding area

Halifax & surrounding area

Wakefield & surrounding area