How Can I Become a Library Aide?

Research what it takes to become a library aide. Learn about the education requirements, job responsibilities, opportunities for advancement and how much average earnings vary by employer to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Library Aide?

Library aides include library technicians and library assistants. Library aides work under the supervision of a librarian and help the library to run smoothly. Some of their tasks include cataloguing new materials the library receives, returning materials to where they belong after they've been used, and helping patrons locate materials. They may also help patrons check out materials or sign up for a new library card. Those that work in large libraries may specialize in a specific area, and may only focus on helping patrons locate and sign out materials, or may strictly focus on obtaining and cataloguing materials for the library. Library technicians have more responsibilities than library assistants, and may supervise library assistants as part of their duties.

Library Technician Library Assistant
Education Required Certificate or associate's degree High school diploma or equivalent
Education Field of Study Library technology or closely related field N/A
Training Required On-the-job training On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%* 5%*
Average Salary (May 2015) $34,200* $26,580*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Education is Required to Become a Library Aide?

Educational requirements for library aides are variable, and library aides may go by the title library assistants or library technicians. As a library technician, you have more responsibilities and different educational requirements than a library assistant. To become a library technician, you should acquire either a certificate or an associate's degree in a library-related area. Working as a library assistant, you can acquire jobs with a high school education and receive on-the-job training.

Library technicians who work in public school systems are required to hold at least a 2-year associate's degree. Community colleges offer associate's degree programs that are transferable to four-year universities. Your curriculum should include liberal arts courses, as well as subjects such as introduction to media technology, library public service, audiovisual management and reference resources.

What Job Responsibilities Might I Have?

Your responsibilities as a library aide will entail instructing library patrons in the use of computers and information systems, and locating requested materials such as books, pictures and cassettes. You may scan borrowers' library cards, loan books, update computer software and inspect returned items for damage. Aides also assist librarians with the care and maintenance of printed materials and electronic media equipment.

Other responsibilities include sorting returned materials, putting materials back on the proper shelves, and helping patrons operate microfiche readers, movie projectors or DVD players. You may also have to catalog materials, make adjustments to electronic databases and oversee the library's official website. Some of your clerical tasks might include typing and word processing, answering phones, filing records and sending out mailings.

What are the Advancement Opportunities?

As you take on additional responsibilities and acquire sufficient experience, you may find promotional opportunities. For example, you may become a department supervisor or move into an area such as library budgeting. Ultimately, you could become a librarian after continuing your education and acquiring a master's degree in library science.

How Much Money Could I Earn?

Industries that employed the highest number of library technicians and assistants were colleges and universities, junior colleges, elementary schools and local government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), library technicians who were employed by local government agencies earned average annual salaries of $32,710 in 2015. Library technicians who worked in junior colleges earned $38,640, and those who worked in colleges and universities were paid $39,730. The mean salary across all industries in 2015 was $34,200.

For library assistants at local government agencies, the BLS reported that the average annual salary in 2015 was $25,840. The average salary at junior colleges was $27,240, and at colleges and universities, it was $30,140. The mean salary across all industries in 2015 was $26,580.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The key components of a library aide's work involve administrative tasks, such as acquiring and cataloging materials or helping patrons locate and sign out materials. In this respect, the work that receptionists do is similar to the work of library aides. Receptionists order supplies, organize materials and file documents, answer phones, and assist patrons as needed. The work that medical records and health information technicians do is similar to the administrative work of library aides. These technicians update and classify records. Like library aides, medical records and health information technicians and receptionists need some postsecondary training, although a degree is not necessarily required.

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