Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library.
Circulation Clerk, Library Aide, Library Assistant, Library Associate, Library Clerk, Library Media Technician, Library Specialist, Library Technical Assistant (LTA), Library Technician, Page Technician
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
- Catalog 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. Both technicians and assistants help patrons find information and organize library materials. However, library technicians typically have more responsibilities than library assistants.
Library technicians and assistants in small libraries have a broad range of duties. In large libraries, they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as user services or technical services. Those 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 or book clubs for teens or adults.
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 settings other than schools or public libraries, including 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.
Communication skills. Library technicians and assistants must be able to answer patrons’ questions clearly and explain the use of 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.
Interpersonal skills. Library technicians and assistants need to work with library patrons, librarians, teachers, or researchers.
Listening skills. Library technicians and assistants need to listen to patrons to help them with research topics or with finding materials.
- Local government, excluding education and hospitals
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
- Elementary and secondary schools; local
- Other information services
Library technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate in library technology, which may include coursework in acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, reference, and automated library systems. The American Library Association has information about certificate programs available by state.
Most library assistants typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Library assistants usually receive short-term on-the-job training to learn about libraries and library resources.