Library assistant

Library para-professional Information assistant
Heritage, culture and libraries
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Career outlook for library assistant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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.


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


You would be based indoors.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Respecting
  • Filtering
  • Sorting
  • Understanding

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Getting in

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


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.