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 $13.22. The median hourly wage for library technicians is $16.78.

Job Outlook: Overall employment of library technicians and assistants is projected to decline 4 percent over the next ten years. Although communities have tried to rebrand libraries for a variety of services and activities, library use has decreased.

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

  • CDOC Library Technician III - Limon, CO - Colorado Secretary of State - Limon, CO

    Oversee Library Technician II's to include: scheduling, assigning & monitoring work tasks, provide training on library skills and participate in evaluation process; * Hire, train and supervise ...

  • Grounds Assistant - Timberland Regional Library - Olympia, WA

    Timberland Regional Library is an intercounty public library system whose service area spans from ... This position receives daily direction from the Operations Technician 3 and is supervised by and ...

  • Librarian III - City of New Haven - New Haven, CT

    NEW HAVEN FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY SALARY: Minimum $54,158 ANNUALIZED REMOVAL DATE: DECEMBER 18, 2020 NATURE OF WORK: This is advanced level professional library work involving the planning and ...

See all Library Technician jobs

Top 3 Library Assistant Jobs

  • Library Specialist - Inspire Charter Services - Fresno, CA

    They assist the homeschool community with professionalism, patience, and guidance. Lending Library Specialists are responsible for communicating effectively with the Principals, Administrators, and ...

  • Records Coordinator/Admin Assistant - LTD GLOBAL, LLC - Los Alamos, NM

    Perform updates to the electronic index of records for new and changed files. * Assist office staff ... Perform a semi-annual folder level inventory of the central records library to ensure proper ...

  • Reference & Instruction Librarian - California Institute of Integral Studies - San Francisco, CA

    ... assist patrons at Circulation Desk with locating materials and in related matters. * Participate in staff meetings, planning, and problem-solving meetings; in general work as a member of the Library ...

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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 90,500 jobs. The largest employers of clerical library assistants are as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 61%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 14%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 11%
Other information services 9%

Library technicians hold about 94,100 jobs. The largest employers of library technicians are as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 52%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 17%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 14%
Other information services 10%

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.

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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 $13.22. 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 $9.15, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.62.

The median hourly wage for library technicians is $16.78. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.58, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.00.

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 $15.48
Elementary and secondary schools; local $14.01
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $12.73
Other information services $12.16

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 $19.81
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $17.14
Other information services $17.05
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $15.44

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.

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

Overall employment of library technicians and assistants is projected to decline 4 percent over the next ten years.

Although communities have tried to rebrand libraries for a variety of services and activities, library use has decreased. This reduces the need for library technicians and assistants to help patrons find information and operate the libraries on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, budget constraints may limit the number of library technicians and assistants in local government and education services.

Job Prospects for Library Technicians and Assistants

Despite projected employment declines, about 24,900 openings for library technicians and assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

All 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.

Candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree may have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for Library Technicians and Assistants, 2019-29
Occupational Title Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29
Percent Numeric
Library technicians and assistants 184,600 177,500 -4 -7,100
  Library technicians 94,100 90,500 -4 -3,600
  Library assistants, clerical 90,500 87,000 -4 -3,500


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


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