Inside Library Assistant Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"There's More To The Library Than Just Books...
I was surprised how much more work is involved in libraries besides just checking in and out books." (Law Library Supervisor; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Criminal Justice at Cleveland State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"I was surprised to find that I could get a career in library science with just a B.A. in English. A degree in English is a gateway to a lot of other career areas, such as law and education. Also, it is a good foundation for going into graduate studies." (Library Assistant; 2012)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied English at Chatham College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2003

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Librarian Assistant In Youth Services: "I simply love working with the children, preparing and especially presenting the storytime programs for their education and enjoyment. It is a true delight to watch a child get turned onto reading and the world of books. Of course the love of reading results in lots of books being checked out (hurrah!) and later returned in a massive pile that needs to be collected, checked in, sorted, and then replaced on the shelves. While the sheer number of books circulated each day is massive, after a holiday weekend, it is absolutely daunting!" (2009)

Library Assistant: "the best part of my job? I love the story times. I work with infants to 5 year olds at story times and it is so great to watch them grow up and enjoy silly rhymes, books, and music. It's like being a children's celebrity for local pre-schoolers. If I go to the store, I always see kids I know who are so excited to see me! It's so rewarding to me. I also love the variety of people, working with diverse races, religions, people who all come together around books and reading. Plus, everything is free to everyone...and there just aren't that many places that can say that. The worst part of my job is the vigilance it requires. Because we serve the public, anyone is allowed to use the library, which is great, except on occasion when you have some criminals, especially former child sex offenders, using the library during story time. That can get creepy. Occasionally we have to kick people off of computers or out of the library for illicit activities: looking at pornography in a place where minors have access, belligerent and aggressive behavior, gang-related tagging -- of graffiti -- in the bathrooms, etc." (2009)

Career Background

Library Assistant

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Learning Online Resources Are Valuable...
I would make sure that you are well versed in many online resources that the library has to offer. I would also make sure that you are able to work with many different types of people." (Law Library Supervisor; 2013)

"Excel At And Appreciate Customer Service...
1. 99% of the public library workers' tasks are simple customer service. If you are not a people person, or do not have people skills, consider another aspect of librarianship. Researcher. Cataloger. 2. Librarians, especially those desiring to work with young children, should understand the developmental stages of children and what capabilities they have. Take early childhood development classes as part of your undergraduate electives. Or if you prefer to work with teens, take classes in understanding an adolescent's mental and physical growth processes. 3. Enjoy books and love reading!" (Librarian Assistant In Youth Services; 2009)

"Get An ALA Certified Grad Degree...
1. Read what you like, and read a lot .... people love a personal recommendation. 2. If possible, get an ALA certified Master's degree (there are no bachelor's degrees for Library Science) and become a librarian. Librarian's get paid about 25% more for the same work as Library Assistants. 3. Volunteer at a library or ask to do an internship, even though it's unpaid. You will get a great idea of the work, and it looks great on college applications and resumes even if you decide it's not for you!" (Library Assistant; 2009)