Library Carpentry Workshop Overview

Library Carpentry’s aim is to teach people working in library- and information-related roles how to automate tasks, create, maintain, and analyze sustainable and reusable data, work effectively with IT and systems colleagues, and better understand the use of software in research. Training takes place mainly in face-to-face workshops. To learn more about our workshops, see The Carpentries Handbook.


Library Carpentry lessons are for people working in library- and information-related roles. See Our Audience and Our Learner Profiles (Draft) for more information.

Prerequisites & Tools

There are no pre-requisites, and the materials assume no prior knowledge about the tools.


The data used in this workshop are often in the form of bibliographic metadata and text-based data. See each lesson for the specific datasets and sources used.


Lesson materials are all available online, under a CC BY license, for self-directed study or for adaptation and re-use (as “Carpentries-based” training).

Workshop Structure

Parts vs Days

Feedback from the Library Carpentry community points to the importance of offering greater flexibility in the delivery of Library Carpentry training, citing the difficulty that many in library- and information-related roles have in getting time off for training. This might mean running training in half day blocks, rather than as a two-day chunk. In addition, flexibility may be needed to meet the needs or preferences of the community and host/organiser.

Instead of requiring “Days” like Data Carpentry or Software Carpentry, “Parts” are used to allow for the flexibility desired by the Library Carpentry community. If a standard workshop (which includes three of the four core lessons) cannot be held across two consecutive days, then alternatively, it can be run in parts across a number of days. As long as three of the four core lessons are taught, it makes no difference whether the workshop is run in one day, two days, or multiple days.

Based on the feedback from Library Carpentry (and the greater Carpentries) community, The Carpentries is doing more to include flexibility in the organisation of workshops. See Upcoming Updated Forms for Workshops & Workshop Section of The Carpentries Website.

Core Lessons

For a standard Library Carpentry workshop, three of the four parts below must be taught in addition to having at least one certified Carpentries instructor teach the workshop. Alternatively, a Library Carpentry-based workshop can be considered, where part(s) of the core lessons are combined with the extended lessons to suite the needs of the community.

Part 1: Introduction to Working with Data

The lesson begins with a question and answer activity that allows participants to explore concepts or jargon around software development and data science. Then, the reasons behind why taking a computational approach is beneficial are covered. The latter half of the lesson explores regular expressions or pattern matching to find, manage, and transform data and files.

The following lesson episodes are optional:

Part 2: The UNIX Shell

This lesson includes information on navigating/working with files and directories, scripting, and finding things on the command line (shell).

Part 3: Introduction to Git

This lesson introduces git on the command line and moves to using GitHub to collaborate, manage, version, and share your project or repository work.

Part 4: OpenRefine

This lesson introduces OpenRefine, a software program that helps with transforming, cleaning, filtering, and analysing data files.

Beyond the Standard Workshop

When requesting a workshop from The Carpentries, staff will assist with the logistics surrounding a standard workshop (three of the four core lessons). Anything outside of the standard offering is a self-organised workshop, meaning, you are responsible for the organisation. This includes finding instructors (you can reach out to several venues listed under Library Carpentry Contact and the Discuss Library Carpentry Topicbox reaches the most people) and reimbursing their travel. You will also be responsible for setting up the workshop website, registration, and other items referenced in the Handbook.

Recently, the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) voted to expand the standard workshop offering to include another curriculum, Introduction to Library Carpentry and OpenRefine. This offering satisfies a common request from community members wishing to run a shorter, pilot workshop at their institution or in connection with an event. We will be working to include this offering in The Carpentries materials and request form. The CAC is also exploring additional curricula and standard offerings as more lessons reach the stable status.

Extended Lessons

There are a number of extended Library Carpentry lessons, in alpha and beta form, that are used to supplement and tailor workshops to the local needs of the community being taught. The lessons include:

Conceptual Lessons

In addition, the following lessons are conceptual (pre-alpha) and still in a design phase where community members are discussing them and/or lesson development is still in an early phase: