Career Development

What Does a Library Assistant Do?

Find out what a library assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a library assistant.

Library assistants are the behind-the-scenes workers of the library world. They help to keep libraries organized and running smoothly by performing a wide range of duties, from organizing books on shelves to assisting patrons with research or technology issues.

Library assistants may work directly with patrons, but they also spend a lot of time working independently on tasks like filing paperwork or updating databases.

Library Assistant Job Duties

Library assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Responding to patron questions about library policies and procedures or providing assistance in using library resources
  • Maintaining a clean and orderly environment in the library by cleaning shelves or shelves, dusting shelves, or arranging books on shelves
  • Processing new materials into the library collection according to established protocols and procedures
  • Processing interlibrary loan requests and other special requests for materials from other libraries
  • Assisting with the cataloging of new materials into the library system’s catalog
  • Updating computerized library catalogs with bibliographic information about new books and other materials
  • Assisting patrons with locating books in the library collection by locating books on shelves or in storage areas
  • Scheduling computer lab time for library patrons, including reserving computers and printers for individual use
  • Assisting patrons with computing tasks by helping them to install software or troubleshoot problems with their computer

Library Assistant Salary & Outlook

Library assistants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of library they work in. They may also receive benefits, such as health insurance, 401k contributions, and paid vacation days.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $67,500 ($32.45/hour)

The employment of library assistants is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Library circulation and collection sizes are expected to continue to grow over the next decade, which should lead to some job growth for library assistants. However, automation may limit the need for library assistants in libraries. Automated circulation systems allow patrons to check out books and other materials themselves.

Related: In-Depth Library Assistant Salary Guide

Library Assistant Job Requirements

A library assistant typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Library assistants need at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in library science. These programs teach students about the different types of libraries, how to use library resources and how to assist library patrons.

Training & Experience: Many employers will provide on-the-job training for newly hired library assistants. Training may include learning how to use the library’s computer systems, how to organize and file books and how to assist patrons with their research. Training may also include learning how to use the library’s website and how to assist patrons with the library’s online resources.

Certifications & Licenses: Library assistants do not need any certifications to earn their position. However, library assistants can earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Library Assistant Skills

Library assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Organization: Library assistants often have to keep track of many different types of information, including library materials, student records and other important documents. Being able to organize your work space and files is an important skill for a library assistant.

Interpersonal skills: Library assistants work with many different people throughout the day, including patrons, other library staff and volunteers. Having strong interpersonal skills can help you work with others in a positive and professional manner.

Computer proficiency: As an assistant, you may be required to perform basic computer tasks like typing, using a mouse and navigating a website. It’s important to be familiar with computer programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and Google Docs.

Patience: Library assistants often work with patrons who are new to using computers or library resources. Patience is important when working with patrons who need help navigating the library’s resources or technology.

Attention to detail: As an assistant, you may be responsible for maintaining records and files. This requires you to have excellent attention to detail so you can accurately update files and records. You may also be responsible for scanning and filing documents, so attention to detail is important for this task as well.

Library Assistant Work Environment

Library assistants typically work in public, school, academic, and special libraries. They may work in a variety of settings, such as the children’s room, the reference desk, the circulation desk, or the audio-visual department. They may also work in the library’s office, where they help with administrative tasks. Library assistants typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may work evenings or weekends to accommodate the library’s hours of operation. They may also work overtime during busy periods, such as the start of the school year or summer vacation.

Library Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how library assistants work. Library assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Digital Content

As the world becomes increasingly digital, libraries are facing a challenge: they need to provide more digital content to keep up with the demands of their patrons. This means that library assistants will need to be well-versed in creating and managing digital content.

In order to meet the needs of their patrons, libraries will need to create digital collections that include e-books, audiobooks, and other forms of media. Library assistants can help to manage these collections and make them easy to find and access. They can also help to create digital resources that are useful for patrons, such as databases and search engines.

The Importance of Data Analysis

Libraries have always been important institutions, but in today’s world they are even more vital. Libraries are now centers for information and data analysis, which makes them essential for businesses and organizations that need to stay competitive.

Library assistants can take advantage of this trend by becoming experts in data analysis. They can learn how to use software tools to extract information from large datasets, and they can also become familiar with common data formats so that they can work with data from different sources.

More Collaboration Between Librarians and Other Professionals

Librarians are increasingly collaborating with other professionals in order to provide better services to their patrons. This is especially true in schools, where librarians are working with teachers and administrators to create learning environments that are both educational and enjoyable.

Library assistants can take advantage of this trend by developing strong relationships with other professionals in their community. This will allow them to collaborate on projects and come up with new ideas for improving the library experience for everyone.

How to Become a Library Assistant

A career as a library assistant can be a great way to get started in the field of librarianship. It’s a chance to learn about different types of libraries and how they work, as well as about the many different types of information that are available. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet and work with people from all walks of life who come to the library for information.

As you progress in your career, you may want to consider becoming a certified library technician (CLT). This certification shows that you have the skills and knowledge needed to perform the duties of a library technician.

Related: How to Write a Library Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

Library assistants typically start out in entry-level positions. With experience, they may advance to positions with more responsibility, such as lead library assistant or supervisor. Some library assistants may also move into related occupations, such as librarian, archivist, or museum worker.

Those interested in becoming a librarian typically need a master’s degree in library science. Some library assistants with a bachelor’s degree in another field and some on-the-job training may qualify for positions as assistant librarians.

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