Library assistant

Library para-professional Information assistant

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would support the day-to-day running of a library. You’d help people find and borrow the information they want.

You could work in a public library or in a library in a large business, university, college or school, as part of a team.

There are a lot of different materials you might work with, including:

  • Books and journals
  • Newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets
  • Maps and photographs
  • Video, film, DVDs and CDs
  • Microfiche and computer databases

You would:

  • Help library users to find the items they need
  • Check materials in and out
  • Put returned items back on the shelves or in store
  • Answer enquiries by telephone, email or post
  • Add new materials to the library catalogue
  • Keep databases and records up to date
  • Get damaged items repaired

In a public library, you might help with community events such as story readings.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work shifts, including weekends or evenings, especially in a public or academic library, although some assistants may work normal office hours. Part-time or term-time work is common.

Travel

You may have the opportunity to work in a mobile library, travelling around the local area.

Environment

You would be based indoors.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Using computers
  • Being logical
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications for this role. Most employers look for:

  • National 4 or 5 qualifications including English and maths
  • IT skills
  • Customer service skills

You could get this job through a Modern Apprenticeship.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many employers and courses)
  • Maths (required by many employers and courses)
  • ICT
  • Business
  • Social subjects
  • Languages

You will also need

For some jobs, you will need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Once in the job with experience, you can apply for Affiliate membership of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (ACILIP) and work towards their Certification award. This can be a useful stepping stone to becoming a fully-qualified librarian.

Once in the job you may be expected to gain further qualifications such as:

  • Professional Development Award (PDA) in Applications of ICT in Libraries at (SCQF level 7/8)
  • Certificate in Libraries, Archives and Information Services at QCF level 2 / SCQF level 5
  • Diploma in Libraries, Archives and Information Services at QCF level 3/SCQF level 6.