How do I Become a Librarian Assistant?

Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer
In most libraries, old fashioned card catalogs have been replaced with computer systems.
In most libraries, old fashioned card catalogs have been replaced with computer systems.

To become a librarian assistant, you do not need a college degree or specific certification. A library assistant is most often trained on the job by a certified librarian. Basic clerical skills such as filing and data entry are generally recommended, as are other computer skills. An assistant also needs to have good organizational skills, attention to detail, interpersonal communication skills, and the ability to learn quickly.

A library assistant might be hired by a law firm to work in a law library.
A library assistant might be hired by a law firm to work in a law library.

The first step to becoming a librarian assistant is to acquire familiarity with the types of computer software commonly used in libraries. Librarians seeking a library assistant often look for prior experience in database and word processing programs. While many tutorials are available online for these programs, community colleges also offer courses in them.

A library assistant may be responsible for assisting patrons with book needs.
A library assistant may be responsible for assisting patrons with book needs.

Once you feel comfortable using these computer programs, research the types of library assistant jobs that are available in your area. Take some time to consider the library environment in which you would like to work. Working in a small public library can be quite different from working in a larger one. Law libraries, museum libraries, and school libraries can also have library assistant job openings.

Library assistants are often responsible for ensuring books are organized correctly and re-shelved properly.
Library assistants are often responsible for ensuring books are organized correctly and re-shelved properly.

Applying for a library assistant position typically involves filling out an application form and then interviewing with the hiring librarian or library manager. Many libraries have their job application forms online, though some may require paper applications delivered in person. A resume may not be required to become a librarian assistant, but bringing one to the interview anyway shows initiative and genuine interest in the job.

While it takes less formal education to become a librarian assistant, willingness to keep learning is an important part of succeeding in this type of job. Experienced librarians often began their careers as assistants; many of them enjoy training and mentoring new assistants as a result. Assistants who complete a two-year degree or certificate program in library science, information technology, or related fields are more often eligible for promotions to library manager or technician jobs.

When you first become a librarian assistant, you will typically start with checking patrons' books in and out at the front desk. As you gain more experience, you may take on additional duties and responsibilities such as shelving books and helping patrons find specific materials. A seasoned and dependable library assistant can also be trained as a reference assistant or an information specialist. These more advanced positions can involve helping patrons with their research projects by recommending and locating appropriate, helpful source material for them.

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    • In most libraries, old fashioned card catalogs have been replaced with computer systems.
      By: Andrey Kuzmin
      In most libraries, old fashioned card catalogs have been replaced with computer systems.
    • A library assistant might be hired by a law firm to work in a law library.
      By: jarek2313
      A library assistant might be hired by a law firm to work in a law library.
    • A library assistant may be responsible for assisting patrons with book needs.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      A library assistant may be responsible for assisting patrons with book needs.
    • Library assistants are often responsible for ensuring books are organized correctly and re-shelved properly.
      By: anyaberkut
      Library assistants are often responsible for ensuring books are organized correctly and re-shelved properly.