What is a Library Assistant?

If you've always wanted to work in a library but haven't made the commitment to become a librarian yet, you may want to consider starting out as a library assistant.

Library assistants help librarians keep a library running efficiently by carrying out clerical duties, and also are available to help visitors/students find the resources and materials they are looking for.

What does a Library Assistant do?

Keeping a library organized is the main function of a library assistant. They perform clerical functions within a library, and are typically supervised by library technicians or librarians. They help visitors find books or materials, check out or check in materials, answer questions, take incoming calls, keep things orderly by shelving books and materials, and take care of fines for overdue material.

A library assistant helping a patron with checking out a book.

Library assistants typically do the following:

  • Loan library materials to patrons and collect returned materials
  • Sort and re-shelve returned books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Organize and maintain library materials
  • Handle inter-library loans
  • Register new patrons and issue library cards
  • Answer patrons’ questions and help them find library resources
  • Maintain computer databases used to locate library materials
  • Help plan and participate in special programs, such as used-book sales and outreach programs

Are you suited to be a library assistant?

Library assistants have distinct personalities. They tend to be conventional individuals, which means they’re conscientious and conservative. They are logical, efficient, orderly, and organized. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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What is the workplace of a Library Assistant like?

Library assistants can be found in public libraries; elementary and secondary schools; colleges, universities, and professional schools; corporate libraries; and bookmobiles.

Except for those who work in bookmobiles, library assistants generally work indoors. They spend much of their time at a desk or on a computer. Most also spend time in the library stacks while cataloguing or re-shelving books, a task that may require bending or stretching to reach the shelves.

Library assistants in school libraries work during regular school hours. Those in public or college libraries work weekends, evenings, and some holidays. In corporate libraries, they work normal business hours but may be asked to work overtime. The schedule of library assistants who work in bookmobiles is dependent on the locations they serve.

Library Assistants are also known as:
Library Technical Assistant Library Clerk Library Aide Library Services Assistant Library Clerical Assistant