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Librarian Assistant Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Librarian Assistant. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Librarian Assistant
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Librarian Assistant Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Library assistants, sometimes referred to as information assistants or paraprofessionals, work closely with library/information managers in the day-to-day running of a library or information service. Duties include routine administrative work, such as filing or replacing returned items, dealing with correspondence, ordering books, journals and other materials, as well as liaising with suppliers, cataloguing new materials and maintaining databases and records.

They handle a range of materials including books, journals, newspapers, leaflets, pamphlets and maps as well as video, film, DVDs, photographs, microfiche, CDs and cassettes. If any materials are damaged, the library assistant would arrange repairs. There is increasing involvement with online and CD-ROM facilities, including the internet and computer databases.

A major part of the role is to assist service users to locate information and resources, often requesting items held in other libraries; there is considerable contact with people in other departments, as well as the public. In a public library, assistants may help with community events such as story readings.

Hours and Environment

Most work shifts including weekends or evenings, especially in a public or academic library, although some assistants work office hours.

The work is usually indoors but there may the opportunity to go out in a mobile library. The work can be quite physical with a lot of standing and lifting involved.

Skills and Interests

To be a library assistant you should:

  • be tactful and courteous, and enjoy dealing with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • be methodical and well-organised, with a logical approach
  • be well-motivated and have initiative
  • have good computer skills
  • have specific skills such as knowledge of a foreign language or scientific speciality where appropriate.


Most employers will expect applicants to have at least five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) or equivalent, usually including English. Some assistant posts, for example in industrial or commercial libraries or information centres, may require A levels/Advanced Higher or H grades or equivalent qualifications. Specialist knowledge may also be required.

For senior library assistant vacancies, applicants will often need relevant vocational qualifications. These include: NVQs/SVQs in information and library services; City & Guilds (CGLI) 7371 Library and Information Progression Award; or SQA National (NC) or Higher National (HNC) in Library and Information Science.

Colleges will usually only accept people who are in relevant full-time or part-time employment onto these vocational courses. GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) may also be required, particularly in English.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Some employers may accept fewer, or even no, formal qualifications, provided you have skills relevant to that particular post. In a specialist library you may be accepted if you have knowledge of a particular subject area. Proficiency in IT may also be an advantage.

There is no upper age limit for entry, and many employers welcome applications from people changing career or returning to work after a break.


Most training is in the workplace, under the supervision of a senior library assistant or a professional librarian. While in work, you may study for the following qualifications, usually by day release or distance learning:

City & Guilds 7371 Library and Information Progression Award, a one-year course where competence is assessed through practical coursework and examination
SQA National or Higher National Certificate in Library and Information Science, both one-year full-time or two-year part-time courses.
NVQs/SVQs in Information and Library Services are available at levels 2, 3 and 4 (level 4 is only available as an SVQ).
Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


Employers include local authority public library services, central government departments, national libraries, universities and other educational establishments. Other posts exist in public service industries and corporations; manufacturing and commercial companies; research associations; professional bodies and media companies.

Some graduates apply for paraprofessional posts to gain experience or to get a foot on the career ladder. In a large library, opportunities to progress to more senior grades are available.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

New entrants start at around £7,000 to £10,000 per year.
Experienced assistants can earn between £11,000 and £17,000 per year.
Senior assistants can earn £17,000 or more.

They are likely to earn less in schools or the NHS.

Further information

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
7 Ridgmount Street
Tel: 020 7255 0500

Local Government National Training Organisation *
Layden House
76-86 Turnmill Street
Tel: 020 7296 6600

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Librarian Assistant Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Librarian Assistant job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Librarian Assistant Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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