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Library Assistants, Clerical Job Description, Career as a Library Assistants, Clerical, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High School

Salary: Median- $22,270 per annum

Employment Outlook: Fair

Library assistants are the people involved in day to day activities of a library. They perform tasks such as collecting returned books, lending out books or periodicals and other library materials. They also register new library members and help them use library facilities.

Library assistants are the people behind the meticulous ordering of book titles. They sort the books or periodicals and arrange them in shelves. They help to make the experience of a library patron less tedious. A library assistant is always available to help members locate desired titles, and answer their queries. They also inspect returned items for damages.

Library assistants work to restore dilapidated books as well as repair damages done to a book by a borrower. They are required to maintain meticulous records of all data pertaining to the works of a library. They catalog books, file identification tags of items being lent, and match returned items with issuing details.

Library assistants can impose fines on members for damages to borrowed items, or for returning items past the due date. Some library assistants specialize in helping patrons and members with vision problems. They are responsible for reviewing the borrower’s list of desired materials and locating them from the library’s collection of Braille volumes or book tapes.

Education and Training Requirements

A library assistant requires virtually no special training to be eligible for the job. This job is ideal for students seeking some form of part-time work. All that a library assistant needs to know about the job is learned while working. However, a high school diploma holder is preferred by most employers. Since most libraries have computerized catalogs, interested candidates should also be well versed with the use of computers. Larger libraries usually prefer a candidate with prior experience.

Getting the Job

Public libraries post vacancy notifications in a number of employment journals and Internet portals. One should also closely check the classified sections of daily newspapers for job listings. Check with libraries in your area for any openings. Since most of these jobs are part-time, students can also apply for such posts at local and college libraries.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement possibilities for a library assistant usually come in the form of additional responsibilities. An entry level library assistant starts out with the routine jobs of organizing and arranging library items. Such people advance to positions at circulation or staffing desks after gaining adequate experience.

Library assistants who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can also opt for the position of a library technician. Some employees rise to supervisory positions as well. However, it must be kept in mind that the chances of advancement are dependent on the nature and size of the library.

The field of library assistants is expected to grow by 8% in the coming years. The highest number of library assistants will be recruited by local government, and elementary and secondary schools.

Working Conditions

Most library assistants enjoy a flexible working schedule. Library assistants generally work in a pleasant atmosphere and interact with a large number of people. The job may, at times, seem repetitive due to the fact that long periods of time are spent labeling or tagging library items according to certain protocols. Library assistants also need to carry books to designated shelves. They may also be required to reach up to higher shelves or stoop to access the lower ones.

The working hours of a library assistant depend on the place of employment. For example, the work schedule a person employed in a school library will correspond to school hours.

Where to Go for More Information

Special Libraries Association
331 South Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3501

Public Library Association,
50 East Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611.

American Library Association

Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary for library assistants in May 2006 was $22,270. The annual salary of a library assistant is dependent on the place of employment and experience level. An entry-level employee can expect to earn around $14,890 per annum, whereas a highly experienced employee may earn up to $35,950 annually.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training