Library Technicians and Assistants

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library.

Work Environment: Library technicians and assistants work in local public libraries, corporate and specialty libraries, and school and university libraries.

How to Become One: Library technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate. A high school degree combined with short-term on-the-job training is typically required to become a library assistant.

Salary: The median hourly wage for library assistants, clerical is $14.16. The median hourly wage for library technicians is $17.78.

Job Outlook: Overall employment of library technicians and assistants is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of library technicians and assistants with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a library technician and assistant with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Library Technician Jobs

  • Library Technician (Part Time) - City of Carlsbad - Carlsbad, CA

    Library Technicians may be scheduled to work at any of the Carlsbad Libraries (Carlsbad City Library , Georgina Cole Library and the Library Learning Center). Our Organization: Carlsbad is a full ...

  • Music Cataloger and Metadata Technician - University of Oregon - Eugene, OR

    Library Classification: Library Technician 3 Appointment Type and Duration: Regular, Ongoing Salary: $17.67 - $26.64 per hour FTE: 1 Review of Applications Begins Position closes May 17, 2022

  • Automotive Library Research Specialist - ALLDATA - Elk Grove, CA

    Research automotive information for automotive technicians using factory service manuals, electronic media and manufacturers websites. * Utilize proprietary systems to format data and prepare for ...

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Top 3 Library Assistant Jobs

  • Substitute Library Assistant - Sylvan Way - Kitsap Regional Library - Bremerton, WA

    SUBSTITUTE LIBRARY ASSISTANT Sylvan Way ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER: 0522-20N Kitsap Regional Library is looking for an enthusiastic individual who is energized by providing excellent external and internal ...

  • Library Assistant & Campus Receptionist/Administrative Assistant - The Nueva School - Hillsborough, CA

    The Nueva School Library Assistant & Campus Receptionist/Administrative Assistant The Position Nueva seeks a dynamic Library Assistant and Campus Receptionist/Administrative Assistant who loves ...

  • Library Assistant - University of New Mexico - Albuquerque, NM

    Library Assistant - Student AssistantDegree of responsibility and judgment: ModeratePosition SummaryThe University of New Mexico's College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences (UL) seeks ...

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What Library Technicians and Assistants Do[About this section] [To Top]

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library. They assist patrons, organize library materials and information, and perform clerical and administrative tasks.

Duties of Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants typically do the following:

  • Loan library materials to patrons and collect returned materials
  • Sort and reshelve returned books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Catalogue and maintain library materials
  • Handle interlibrary loans
  • Register new patrons and issue library cards
  • Answer routine reference questions from patrons
  • Teach patrons how to use library resources
  • Maintain computer databases used to locate library materials
  • Perform routine clerical tasks such as answering phones and organizing files
  • Help plan and participate in special programs, such as used-book sales, story times, or outreach programs

A librarian usually supervises library technicians and assistants. Library technicians and assistants usually help patrons find information and organize library materials. However, library technicians typically have more responsibilities than library assistants, such as administering library programs and overseeing lower level staff.

Library technicians and assistants in smaller libraries have a broader range of duties. In larger libraries, they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as user services or technical services. Technicians and assistants specializing in user services assist library patrons with locating resources and information. Those specializing in technical services research, acquire, catalog, and process materials to be added to the library's collections.

The following are examples of types of library technicians and assistants:

Academic library technicians and assistants help students, faculties, and staff in colleges and universities access resources and information related to coursework or research projects. Some teach students how to access and use library resources. They may work at service desks for reserve materials, special collections, or computer labs.

Public library technicians and assistants work in community libraries to serve members of the public. They help patrons find books to read for pleasure, assist patrons with their research, or teach patrons how to access the library's resources. Some technicians in public libraries may help plan programs for users, such as story time for children, book clubs for teens or adults, or other educational or recreational activities.

School library technicians and assistants show students how to find and use library resources, maintain textbook collections, and help teachers develop curriculum materials.

Special library technicians and assistants work in libraries in government agencies, corporations, museums, law firms, and medical centers. They assist users, search library resources, compile bibliographies, and provide information on subjects of interest to the organization.

Work Environment for Library Technicians and Assistants[About this section] [To Top]

Clerical library assistants hold about 88,000 jobs. The largest employers of clerical library assistants are as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 62%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 13%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 10%
Other information services 10%

Library technicians hold about 93,100 jobs. The largest employers of library technicians are as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 50%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 16%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 13%
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 3%

Library technicians and assistants generally work indoors. They spend much of their time at public service desks or at computer terminals. Some spend time in the library stacks reshelving books, a task that may require bending or stretching to reach the shelves.

Library Technician and Assistant Work Schedules

Many library technicians and assistants work part time. Library technicians and assistants in school libraries work during regular school hours. Those in public or college libraries often work weekends, evenings, and some holidays. In corporate libraries, library technicians and assistants work normal business hours but may be asked to work overtime.

How to Become a Library Technician or Assistant[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Library Technicians and Assistants near you!

Library technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate. A high school degree combined with short-term on-the-job training is typically required to become a library assistant.

Education for Library Technicians and Assistants

Most libraries prefer to hire library technicians who have a postsecondary certificate. Certificate programs in library technology include coursework in acquisitions, cataloguing, circulation, reference, and automated library systems. The American Library Association has a list of certificate programs available by state.

Most library assistants typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Library Technician and Assistant Training

Library assistants usually receive some short-term on-the-job training to learn about libraries and library resources.

Important Qualities for Library Technicians and Assistants

Communication skills. Library technicians and assistants need to listen to and understand patrons' needs, answer questions clearly, and teach patrons how to use library resources.

Detail oriented. Library technicians and assistants must pay close attention to ensure that library materials and information are organized correctly and according to the library's organizational system. Cataloging and processing library materials also requires attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Library technicians and assistants provide customer service to library patrons and work with librarians, teachers, or researchers.

Technology skills. Library technicians and assistants use computers to help patrons research topics. They also use technology to maintain the library's database of collections.

Advancement for Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants can advance as they assume additional responsibilities in other areas of the library. Some may become supervisors and oversee daily library operations. To become a librarian, technicians and assistants need to earn a master's degree in library science.

Library Technician and Assistant Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median hourly wage for clerical library assistants is $14.16. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.71, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.60.

The median hourly wage for library technicians is $17.78. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.24, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.49.

The median hourly wages for clerical library assistants in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $17.92
Elementary and secondary schools; local $14.27
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $13.97
Other information services $13.92

The median hourly wages for library technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $18.54
Junior colleges; state, local, and private $18.22
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $17.78
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $17.58

Many library technicians and assistants work part time. Library technicians and assistants in school libraries work during regular school hours. Those in public or college libraries may work weekends, evenings, and some holidays. In corporate libraries, library technicians and assistants work normal business hours but may have to work evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook for Library Technicians and Assistants[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of library technicians and assistants is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years.

Despite limited employment growth, about 26,800 openings for library technicians and assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Library Technicians and Assistants

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for library materials. This demand will likely support some growth early in the decade, followed by a decline due to existing factors.

For example, library use has decreased despite community efforts to rebrand libraries for a variety of services and activities. This decrease in use reduces the need for library workers to help patrons find information and operate libraries. Additionally, budget constraints may limit the number of library technicians and assistants in local government and education services.

Employment projections data for Library Technicians and Assistants, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Library technicians and assistants 181,100 180,700 0 -300
  Library technicians 93,100 93,200 0 100
  Library assistants, clerical 88,000 87,500 -1 -500


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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