Library Technical Assistant: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a library technical assistant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and skills required to find out if this is the career for you.

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Library technical assistants aid head librarians with a variety of duties that may range from clerical to guest services and working with library equipment or databases. Education prerequisites range, and while a GED may be the minimum for some positions, experience would most likely be required, too.

Essential Information

Library technical assistants help head librarians by performing an array of daily duties regarding materials, equipment and visitors. Some job postings require that candidates have just a high school diploma or GED certificate; others require them to hold a certificate or associate's degree in a related field. Experience is typically required for job candidates without a postsecondary education.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; educational certificate or associate's sometimes required
Other Requirements Experience usually needed for job candidates without a postsecondary education
Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)* 5% for clerical library assistants and for library technicians
Median Salary (2015)* $24,480 annually for clerical library assistants; $32,310 annually for library technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Library Technical Assistant Job Description

Library technical assistants help the librarian with a variety of functions; in some cases, this involves specialized duties and the title may be more advanced than that of library assistant. In fact, they may supervise other staff members such as library assistants and volunteers.

Typically, library technical assistants aid pupils and instructors with locating resources and working equipment and databases. They also utilize the library's computerized system to check out and return books and periodicals. If the role isn't assigned to an assistant, they may keep detailed records of overdue books and fines and return materials back to the shelves. Other duties include ordering, processing and maintaining periodicals, new media and machines. This can include procuring materials from other libraries. Library technical assistants also help with cataloging duties by taking inventory of the library's contents.

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Job Requirements

Although libraries may ask for job-seekers to have an educational background ranging from a GED certificate to an associate's degree, levels of experience may also come into play. For example, jobs not requiring postsecondary work generally also require two years of hands-on computer or library experience.

Undergraduate programs consist of courses in the liberal arts and subjects related to libraries. Certificate program classes cover library resources, library technical service, audio-visual equipment, library management and library services for children. A foundational course may encapsulate the duties of the library technician assistant.

An Associate of Applied Science in Library and Information Technology program may have similar introductory courses to those found within a certificate program, but offers more skill-specific topics. For example, lessons may discuss the acquisition of library material and introduce learners to computer information systems, cataloging and classification. An associate's degree involves more credits than a certificate program, including electives. General education requirements cover sciences, fine arts, math, communication and social sciences. Emphases may also be available in areas such as human services, library marketing, library technology or public relations.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 5% employment growth for library assistants, and 5% expansion of job opportunities for library technicians, from 2014-2024. The BLS recorded annual median salaries of $24,480 for clerical library assistants and $32,310 for library technicians in 2015.

A library technical assistant may start out with a GED and work experience, or an undergraduate degree in library science or a related topic. They help head librarians with many duties, including helping students and visitors with resources and technology, overseeing staff, keeping records or shelving. Salaries vary, depending on the job title.

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