Library assistant
Administration

Library assistants/information assistants help people to use the resources of the library or information centre. Do you enjoy helping people to find out what they need to know?

Library/Information Assistants work as part of a team running a library or centre that enables users to gain access to information. Originally, most information was in the form of books or magazines but increasingly this information is in digital form.

Work Activities

Tasks may include:

  • Answering queries, either face to face, by phone or email
  • Ordering resources
  • Keeping records of stock
  • Disposing of out-of-date or damaged stock
  • Tidying away resources after they have been used
  • Putting on events targeted at specific groups, such as reading stories to a group of toddlers.

You will work indoors. You may have to work shifts during the day or evening but are less likely to have to work night shifts.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for library and information professionals

  • You need to have a helpful disposition
  • You need good communication skills
  • You need good IT skills
  • You should be well-organised with a methodical approach to work

If you are looking for work in Wales, it may be an advantage to speak or write Welsh.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of library and information assistants

  • Public Libraries
  • School Learning Resource Centres
  • College Libraries
  • Academic Libraries
  • Civil Service
  • Specialist Libraries, such as Music Libraries
  • Commercial Libraries eg solicitors and accountants
  • Knowledge Management Centres

Qualifications

Qualifications and training required

There is no minimum entry requirement for voluntary work. In practice, many employers would ask for 5 GCSEs A*-C/ 9-4 or experience with IT or dealing with members of the public.

Many university courses in Librarianship and Information Science/Management require practical experience in a library as well as academic qualifications, so many applicants for library assistant jobs are qualified to A level or equivalent standard or above.

Library/Information assistants can progress to more senior roles, such as senior librarian. It can be helpful to obtain qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). CILIP does not ask for specific academic qualifications for entry on to any of its courses.

“Certification” is aimed at those starting out on their career in knowledge management or those in entry level jobs.

“Chartership” is for people holding a responsible position in knowledge management. This could be for people without academic qualifications but with experience. Many librarians have a degree or postgraduate course accredited by CILIP, such as

  • First degree in Librarianship or Information Science/Management.
  • A degree in any subject followed by a postgraduate diploma or masters in Librarianship or Information Science/Management.
  • Degree followed by a placement with a company on a Graduate Training Job.

“Fellowship” is awarded to chartered librarian who have made a significant contribution in their field.

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