Knowledge and library services

Knowledge and library service staff make sure crucial evidence and information is available and accessible when and where NHS staff need to use it.  

Their work supports decisions about patient treatments and care, funding, policy, research and innovation.

Working life

Information has never been available in such abundance or variety, but evidence does not speak for itself. Knowledge and library staff deal with information in lots of formats (such as online journals, databases, books, websites and social media) to ensure that healthcare staff can find, access and use the best available information to do their jobs. 

Staff might work in a physical library space handling enquiries from healthcare staff, supporting users and promoting the service. Or they might work in a virtual service helping maintain online resources and offer training on how to use a range of digital resources to find information.

The work is varied, stimulating and rewarding. Knowledge and library staff:

Roles in knowledge and library services

Knowledge and library staff work in different types of knowledge and library services. Individuals might be based in a hospital with a physical library base, or an office with other healthcare staff delivering virtual and in-person services for colleagues.

You could work with staff out in the community or with specific healthcare disciplines such as public health, healthcare science or mental health.

Library assistants

Library assistants are the front-line staff of the knowledge or library service. The role involves:

Senior library assistants may supervise library assistants and take on additional responsibilities, such as managing more complex requests for resources or liaising with more senior staff.


Healthcare librarians have a variety of roles in different settings, for example hospitals, community, mental health or public health settings. You might:

Clinical librarians attend clinical meetings and accompany staff on ward rounds when they visit patients. Outreach librarians go out and about a lot, working with a range of staff such as GPs, paramedics or IT managers. And knowledge specialists take the lead on organising activities and events that help capture, disseminate and share knowledge in an organisation. 

Knowledge and library services manager

As a knowledge or library services manager, you’ll:

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