What does a library assistant do?

Library assistants aid in the general duties necessary for the day-to-day functioning of libraries. A large part of a library assistants role is helping members of the public with general enquiries, loans and membership applications. They are also responsible for assisting with ongoing stocktake, resource management and database upkeep. Daily duties may also include re-shelving items that have been loaned out and checking returned items for wear or signs of mistreatment.

Tasks:

  • Sorting and reshelving returned items
  • Assisting library goers with information systems
  • Answering general enquiries
  • Providing membership assistance

What skills do I need to be a library assistant?

Library assistants must possess a friendly, helpful and personable demeanour. Library assistants will often be required to converse and assist members of the public with general enquiries and information - maintaining a helpful attitude whilst doing so is a necessity. Library assistants must be familiar with the library cataloguing system in use at their library (generally the Dewey Decimal System in Australia) in order to maintain resource accessibility. 

Skills/attributes
  • Familiar with library cataloguing systems
  • Friendly, helpful attitude
  • Organised and methodical
  • Able to demonstrate information services

Specialisations

There are a number of specialised pathways available to library assistants if they feel inclined to explore new career territories. With your experience as a library assistant, coupled with the relevant qualifications you may be able to consider some of the following career paths. 

Librarian

Librarians are responsible for overseeing the daily running of libraries. Librarians develop and manage many of the information systems that are available to library users. In addition to this, they are responsible for the storage and cataloguing systems in place within the library, as well as ensuring the accessibility and quality of these resources.

Teacher librarian

Teacher librarians work within educational organisations in both primary and secondary schools. They assist in the educational development of a school’s pupils by managing library resources and promoting literacy. Teacher librarians instruct students on how to access and navigate the information systems that are available within a library.

Archivist

Archivists are responsible for the maintenance and storage of important documentation. Archivists can work within a number of organisations that require the ongoing storage of documentation that is deemed as being important. Archivists develop and maintain storage systems to ensure the safety and accessibility of documents.

Study pathways for library assistants

There are a number of study pathways available to you if you are considering a career as a library assistant. You can choose a course that will equip you with the qualifications you need to get a start within your chosen vocation.

Getting Started

Choose a course that will help you build an information services career

Skill Building

With targeted study options, work towards your library career goals

Professional Development

Gain relevant professional skills with industry recognised courses

Industry Recognition

Improve your professional standing by joining the professional library and information services association that best aligns with your career goals and expected work environment.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your library and information services career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

While there has been employment growth over the last two years, this trend is expected to reverse. Employment opportunities may differ across states and type of library environment.