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USA Regional Directory > Libraries > About Library Assistants

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a smiling library assistant with a stack of books Library assistants help librarians and other library staff to organize books and other materials, and also assist students, researchers, and other patrons looking for particular materials.  Library assistants are often behind the library desk, where they check out books and accept returned books.  Using computers and other automated equipment, library assistants scan library books and cards, record transactions, and print receipts.  They may also note damage done to books and make repair notices, as well as ensure that overdue library notices are accurate and sent out on time to the correct recipients.  Library assistants are employed by local governments in public libraries, as well as by schools, universities, and colleges.

No specific level of education is required for library assistants.  Typically, a library assistant is expected to learn on the job.  Most library assistants have a high school diploma or GED, though some libraries are willing to hire interested high school students on a part-time basis.  Library assistants usually start with simple jobs, such as shelving books, and advance as their skill and experience level increases.  Some library assistants choose to get the education they need to become library technicians or librarians.

Library assistants spend a good portion of their time behind desks and in front of computers, although they also interact with the public.  Most library assistants work during the 40-hour workweek, and part-time positions are common.

library assistant scanning books for check out A library assistant be detail-oriented, must have excellent clerical skills, and must be interested in and willing to help patrons.  Because many library programs are automated, library assistants must have good computer skills, or show good aptitude for developing them.

Library assistant positions are typically linked to government budgets.  When budgets are cut, library assistant positions, which cost less than librarian or library technician positions, tend to increase.  The job outlook of library assistants is also tied to technology.  As technology allows for more library automation, opportunities for library technicians will increase.

For more information about library assistant careers, please visit the ALA Education and Careers web page and the Library/Media Technology Council website.  Public libraries and institutional libraries can provide information about library assistant job openings.

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About Library Assistants' Job Responsibilities, Educational Requirements, and Working Conditions

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