Library Assistant  What They Do

Just the Facts


Compiles records, sorts and shelves books, and issues and receives library materials such as pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locates library materials for loan and replaces material in shelving area, stacks or files according to identification number and title. Registers patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.

This career is part of the Business, Management and Administration cluster Administrative Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Instructs patrons on how to use reference sources, card catalogs, and automated information systems.
  • Opens and closes library during specified hours and secures library equipment, such as computers and audio-visual (AV) equipment.
  • Locates library materials for patrons, including books, periodicals, tape cassettes, Braille volumes, and pictures.
  • Answers routine inquiries and refers patrons in need of professional assistance to librarians.
  • Maintains records of items received, stored, issued, and returned and files catalog cards according to system used.
  • Performs clerical activities, such as answering phones, sorting mail, filing, typing, word processing, and photocopying and mailing out material.
  • Processes new materials including books, audio-visual materials, and computer software.
  • Provides assistance to librarians in the maintenance of collections of books, periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and audio-visual and other materials.
  • Takes action to deal with disruptive or problem patrons.
  • Sorts books, publications, and other items according to established procedure and returns them to shelves, files, or other designated storage areas.

Related Careers


Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Circulation Clerk -- Organizes library materials that are checked in from patrons and delivered from vendors.
  • Cataloging Assistant --