Librarian Assistant: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a librarian assistant. Learn about career options along with degree requirements, responsibilities, and career growth 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 Librarian Assistant?

Librarian assistants work under a librarian's supervision. They perform a range of duties. They may help patrons find materials in a library and return items to their appropriate shelves after they've been checked in. They may also register new library patrons and get them library cards or make arrangements to borrow materials from another library. Their duties may vary depending on the type of library they work in. Those who work in larger libraries may only assist patrons with locating and checking out materials, while others may focus solely on acquiring and cataloguing materials for the library.

Degree Required Certificate or an associate's degree
Education Field of Study Library technology, library science
Key Responsibilities Perform clerical duties, help keep library records, order books, reshelve materials
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for all clerical library assistants*
Median Wage (2015) $24,480 for all clerical library assistants*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Library Assistant Programs

Becoming a librarian assistant doesn't require formal education beyond a high school diploma. Most professionals are trained on the job; however, a number of schools offer certificate programs in library technology and associate's degree programs in library science that can enhance your prospects for entry-level employment or promotion.

Possible program courses include library computer applications, reference and information services, technical services, classification systems, cataloging procedures, acquisitions management and Web resource management. A certificate may be completed in less than a year. Associate's degree programs can typically be completed in two years.

Career Options

A majority of employment opportunities come from public libraries operated by local governments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), approximately 100,090 people were employed as clerical librarian assistants in 2015, with local government employing the highest amount of these professionals. Opportunities are also available with college and university libraries, non-profit organizations, school districts, private companies, hospitals and federal agencies (www.bls.gov). The BLS projects that overall employment of clerical librarian assistants will increase by 5% over the 2014-2024 decade.

Job Duties

As a library assistant, you'll perform a variety of clerical, circulation management and record keeping duties. Some libraries will also have you provide support to their multimedia services. Clerical duties might include ordering books and other materials, unpacking shipments and filing. Duties related to circulation management encompass reshelving books, periodicals and videos, issuing library cards, checking out books and other materials, accepting returns, and repairing damaged books.

Record keeping duties include entering additions and deletions into the catalog system, tracking inter-library loans, maintaining contact lists and scheduling library room reservations. Providing multimedia support services might entail demonstrating the proper use of AV equipment, checking out equipment, maintaining inventory records and performing light maintenance.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2015, clerical librarian assistants earned a median salary of $24,480 (www.bls.gov). October 2016 figures from Payscale.com showed a salary range of $19,389 to $42,210 for most library assistants.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Receptionists and medical records and health information technicians have aspects of their work that are similar to the work of a librarian assistant. Receptionists may greet clients and schedule appointments for them or process paperwork, which is similar to the work that a librarian assistant may do if they help patrons sign out materials. Medical records and health information technicians update patient files and classify treatment information. This is similar to the work that librarian assistants do when they acquire and catalogue materials. While receptionists typically need only a high school diploma, medical records and health information technicians need some postsecondary training, such as a certificate in their field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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