Becoming a Library Assistant or Technician

Library assistants

Library assistants help librarians, and library technicians organize library resources and make them available to users.

At the circulation desk, library assistants lend and collect books, periodicals, videotapes, and other materials.

Training requirements for library assistants are generally minimal.   Most libraries prefer to hire workers with a high school diploma or GED, although libraries also hire high school students for these positions.

Library assistants receive most of their training on the job.  Generally, no formal postsecondary training is expected. Some employers hire individuals with experience in other clerical jobs; others train inexperienced workers on the job.  Familiarity with computers is helpful.

Library technicians

Library technicians help librarians acquire, prepare, and organize materials and help users to find those materials. Library technicians usually work under the supervision of a librarian, although they often work independently. Technicians in small libraries handle a range of duties.  Those in large libraries usually specialize.

The work of library technicians include (but is not limited to) directing library users to standard references, organizing and maintaining periodicals, preparing volumes for binding, handling interlibrary loan requests, preparing invoices, performing routine cataloguing and coding of library materials, and retrieving information from computer databases.

Training requirements for library technicians vary widely, ranging from a high school diploma to specialized postsecondary training. Some employers only hire individuals who have library work experience or college training related to libraries; others train inexperienced workers on the job.

For more detailed information on the work environments, educational programs, salaries, etc. visit the resources listed below.

Resources 

 

For more information, visit the Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT) of ALA.

If you have questions or want to discuss education possibilities, contact Beatrice Calvin,  Program Officer, ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment at 800/545-2433 ext. 4280 or email her at bcalvin@ala.org  .