Library assistant

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Information assistant, learning resource centre assistant

Library assistants help librarians to manage the day-to-day running of a library.

Salary Range: £14,000 to £25,000

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How to become a library assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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College

You could do a Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Libraries, Archives and Information Services.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You could do a library, information and archive services intermediate or advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

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Direct application

You can apply to a library service for a job as an assistant if you have some experience of working in one, or in an archive or information service, for example as a volunteer. You may need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English, to apply.

Experience working in an administration, customer services or IT role would also be useful for applying directly.

For some assistant jobs, for example in industrial or commercial libraries, you may need qualifications at A level standard or higher. You may also need specialist knowledge like languages or science, depending on the job.

More information

Career tips

A knowledge of information classification systems, like the Dewey Decimal Classification, may be useful, though not essential, as training would be given.

Further information

You can find more details about working in libraries from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • helping users find what they need, in print and online
  • organising IT access and solving user problems
  • checking materials in and out and cataloguing new items
  • shelving returned items and arranging repair of damaged materials
  • dealing with counter, phone and email enquiries
  • making sure copyright licence agreements are followed
  • maintaining databases and records
  • helping with community events and activities like reading sessions

Working environment

You could work at a library, at a school, at a college or at a university.

Career path and progression

With experience and qualifications, you could become a librarian. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has more information.