Salary and Career Information for a Library Assistant

May 11, 2021

Library assistants work in libraries assisting with patron requests as well as the general duties of the library like sorting and restocking books. They can work in libraries in many settings including schools, public libraries, and corporate libraries. This position requires only a high school diploma or a GED with no special training.

Essential Information

Library assistants work in a variety of institutions and industries, from elementary and secondary schools to hospitals and legal offices. Their tasks can range from sorting and shelving books to developing and conducting marketing and outreach programs. The required education for library assistants is a high school diploma or GED. Computer skills, experience with library systems and databases, and on-the-job training are also usually necessary.

Required Education High school diploma or GED
Other Requirements Computer skills, on-the-job training and library systems and database experience typically needed
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 4% decline for library assistants, clerical
Mean Salary (2020)* $30,740 annually for library assistants, clerical

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary for Library Assistants

As of May 2020, the mean annual salary for library assistants was $30,740, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Industries offering the largest number of library assistant positions were local government and elementary and secondary schools.

While these fields featured the most job opportunities for library assistants, they also were among the lowest paying. In fact, salaries for library assistants varied greatly by type of employer. Below are some mean annual wages for library assistants by industry, based on May 2020 BLS figures:

  • Legal services, $41,660
  • State government, $36,840
  • General medical and surgical hospitals, $37,650
  • Colleges, universities and professional schools, $34,740
  • Junior colleges, $31,100
  • Elementary and secondary schools, $31,690
  • Local government, $29,950
  • Other information services, $29,440

Career Information for Library Assistants

A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential usually is required for library assistant positions, and computer skills and experience with library systems and databases likely will be useful. Most library assistants also go through on-the-job training.

In addition to working for educational institutions and government offices, library assistants might find jobs with medical and research centers, museums, law firms, private corporations and advertising agencies. Duties tend to vary by employer, with assistants in larger libraries having more specialized roles and those in smaller libraries having a broader range of responsibilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a decline of 4% in employment of library assistants, clerical from 2019 through 2029.

Library assistants' daily tasks often include helping patrons use library databases to browse virtual and physical collections, sorting and shelving books, checking materials in and out, completing interlibrary loan requests and readying materials for binding. They also might plan and participate in a library's outreach services and programs, from reading groups to book sales, and create bulletin boards, fliers, posters and library displays. With advances in technology, some library assistants are now charged with tasks previously handled by librarians, including cataloging and coding new books, magazines, journals and videos.

Library assistants usually receive on-the-job training. Job openings in the field are declining and the mean salary is around $31,000.

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