Working as a Library Assistant

What Does a Library Assistant Do

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library. They assist patrons, organize library materials and information, and perform clerical and administrative tasks.

Duties

Library technicians and assistants typically do the following:

  • Loan library materials to patrons and collect returned materials
  • Sort and reshelve returned books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Catalogue and maintain library materials
  • Handle interlibrary loans
  • Register new patrons and issue library cards
  • Answer routine reference questions
  • Teach patrons how to find and use library resources
  • Maintain computer databases used to locate library materials
  • Answer the phone, organize files, and perform other routine clerical tasks
  • Help plan and participate in special programs, such as used-book sales, story times, and outreach programs

A librarian usually supervises library technicians and assistants. Library technicians and assistants usually help patrons find information and organize library materials. However, library technicians typically have more responsibilities than do library assistants, such as administering library programs and overseeing lower level staff.

Library technicians and assistants in smaller libraries have a broader range of duties. In larger libraries, they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as user services or technical services. Technicians and assistants specializing in user services assist library patrons with locating resources and information. Those specializing in technical services research, acquire, catalog, and process materials to be added to the library’s collections.

The following are examples of types of library technicians and assistants:

Academic library technicians and assistants help students, faculties, and staff in colleges and universities access resources and information related to coursework or research projects. Some help teach students how to access and use library resources. They may work at service desks for reserve materials, special collections, or computer labs.

Public library technicians and assistants work in community libraries to serve members of the public. They help patrons find books to read for pleasure; assist patrons with their research; and teach patrons how to access the library’s resources. Some technicians in public libraries may help plan programs for users, such as story time for children, book clubs for teens or adults, or other educational or recreational activities.

School library technicians and assistants show students how to find and use library resources, maintain textbook collections, and they help teachers develop curriculum materials.

Special library technicians and assistants work in libraries in government agencies, corporations, museums, law firms, and medical centers. They assist users, search library resources, compile bibliographies, and provide information on subjects of interest to the organization.

How To Become a Library Assistant

Most library technicians need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. Library assistants typically need a high school degree and usually learn through short-term on-the-job (OTJ) training.

Education                                                                                               

Most libraries prefer to hire library technicians who have a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. However, some smaller libraries might hire prospective technicians with only a high school diploma. Certificate and associate’s degree programs in library technology include coursework in acquisitions, cataloguing, circulation, reference, and automated library systems. In some cases, library technicians who work in public schools must meet the same requirements as teacher assistants.

Most library assistants typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Library assistants usually receive some short-term OTJ training to learn about libraries and library resources.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Library technicians and assistants need to listen to and understand patrons’ needs, provide clear answers to questions, and teach them how to use library resources.

Detail oriented. Library technicians and assistants must pay close attention to ensure that library materials and information are organized correctly and according to the library’s organizational system. Cataloging and processing library materials also requires attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Library technicians and assistants provide customer service to library patrons and work with librarians, teachers, or researchers.

Technology skills. Library technicians and assistants use computers to help patrons research topics. They also use technology to maintain the library’s database of collections.

Advancement

Library technicians and assistants can advance as they assume additional responsibilities in other areas of the library. Some eventually become supervisors and oversee daily library operations. To become a librarian, technicians and assistants need to earn a master’s degree in library science.

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Average Salary$28,133
Job Growth Rate-3%

Library Assistant Jobs

Library Assistant Career Paths

Top Careers Before Library Assistant
Cashier12.4 %
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Top Careers After Library Assistant
Cashier11.2 %
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What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Library Assistant

Library Assistants in America make an average salary of $28,133 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $39,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $19,000 per year.
Average Salary
$28,133

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Library Assistant
Library Assistant
Geo Group Inc.
Geo Group Inc.
07/26/2020
07/26/2020
$33,37107/26/2020
$33,371
Library Assistant
Library Assistant
City of Carson City, Nv
City of Carson City, Nv
07/18/2020
07/18/2020
$38,32607/18/2020
$38,326
KUC Library/Yp Cultural Center Assistant
KUC Library/Yp Cultural Center Assistant
University of Alaska
University of Alaska
07/07/2020
07/07/2020
$32,62007/07/2020
$32,620
Library Assistant-Bookmobile
Library Assistant-Bookmobile
City of Bozeman
City of Bozeman
07/03/2020
07/03/2020
$33,47507/03/2020
$33,475
Library Assistant
Library Assistant
City of Destin
City of Destin
06/30/2020
06/30/2020
$23,50006/30/2020
$23,500
See More Recent Salaries

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Library Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

67.0 %

Male

28.0 %

Unknown

4.9 %
Ethnicity

White

59.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.9 %

Black or African American

11.8 %
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.3 %

French

12.5 %

Mandarin

4.6 %
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Library Assistant Education

Schools

Florida State University

8.0 %

San Jose State University

7.3 %

University of California - Los Angeles

7.0 %

University of North Texas

6.5 %
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Majors

Business

14.6 %

Psychology

11.0 %

English

8.5 %

Criminal Justice

5.7 %
Show More
Degrees

Bachelors

53.5 %

Associate

16.1 %

Masters

11.5 %

High School Diploma

10.5 %
Show More

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Library Assistant

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Library Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 30.2% of library assistants listed library materials on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and detail oriented are important as well.

Best States For a Library Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a library assistant. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Library assistants make the most in California with an average salary of $39,067. Whereas in New York and New Jersey, they would average $36,463 and $36,335, respectively. While library assistants would only make an average of $34,268 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Library Assistant Jobs:
231
Highest 10% Earn:
$64,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Library Assistant Jobs:
458
Highest 10% Earn:
$66,000
Location Quotient:
1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Ohio

Total Library Assistant Jobs:
185
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Library Assistant Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a library assistant. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless library assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Library Assistant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless library assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

How Do Library Assistant Rate Their Jobs?

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5.0

Tech clerkOctober 2019

5.0

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What do you like the most about working as Library Assistant?

pay Invoice on spreadsheet , sort open shipment from Baker Taylor warehouse , process books and DVD , put new barcode and labels on all books and av material

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Top Library Assistant Employers

1. University of California Press
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$48,267
Library Assistants Hired: 
59+
2. Birmingham Public Library
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$33,838
Library Assistants Hired: 
48+
3. Cleveland Public Library
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$39,573
Library Assistants Hired: 
43+
4. Miami-Dade Public Library System
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$36,852
Library Assistants Hired: 
40+
5. Ivy Tech Community College
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$45,335
Library Assistants Hired: 
38+
6. Greenville County Library System
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$41,002
Library Assistants Hired: 
38+

Recently Added Library Assistant Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020