Clerical Library Assistants
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Compile records, and sort, shelve, issue, and receive library materials such as books, electronic media, pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($37K): Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
Largest undergraduate program (11.7% of workers): English Language and Literature
Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Library technicians and assistants typically do the following:

  • Loan library materials to patrons and collect returned materials
  • Sort and reshelve returned books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Catalogue and maintain library materials
  • Handle interlibrary loans
  • Register new patrons and issue library cards
  • Answer routine reference questions from patrons
  • Teach patrons how to use library resources
  • Maintain computer databases used to locate library materials
  • Perform routine clerical tasks such as answering phones and organizing files
  • Help plan and participate in special programs, such as used-book sales, story times, or outreach programs

A librarian usually supervises library technicians and assistants. Both technicians and assistants help patrons find information and organize library materials. However, library technicians typically have more responsibilities than library assistants.

Library technicians and assistants in small libraries have a broad range of duties. In large libraries, they tend to specialize in a particular area, such as user services or technical services. Those specializing in user services assist library patrons with locating resources and information. Those specializing in technical services research, acquire, catalog, and process materials to be added to the library’s collections.

The following are examples of types of library technicians and assistants:

Academic library technicians and assistants help students, faculties, and staff in colleges and universities access resources and information related to coursework or research projects. Some teach students how to access and use library resources. They may work at service desks for reserve materials, special collections, or computer labs.

Public library technicians and assistants work in community libraries to serve members of the public. They help patrons find books to read for pleasure, assist patrons with their research, or teach patrons how to access the library’s resources. Some technicians in public libraries may help plan programs for users, such as story time for children or book clubs for teens or adults.

School library technicians and assistants show students how to find and use library resources, maintain textbook collections, and help teachers develop curriculum materials.

Special library technicians and assistants work in settings other than school or public libraries, including government agencies, corporations, museums, law firms, and medical centers. They assist users, search library resources, compile bibliographies, and provide information on subjects of interest to the organization.

Median salary: $28,730 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $23,240 and $36,570.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for clerical library assistants
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Clerical Library Assistants
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of clerical library assistants who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (52%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (44%)
  • Unpleasant or Angry People (42%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (38%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Clerical Library Assistants? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Communication skills
Library technicians and assistants must be able to answer patrons’ questions clearly and explain use of library resources.
Detail oriented
Library technicians and assistants must pay close attention to ensure that library materials and information are organized correctly and according to the library’s organizational system.
Interpersonal skills
Library technicians and assistants need to work with library patrons, <a href="/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm" title="Librarians and Library Media Specialists">librarians</a>, teachers, or researchers.
Listening skills
Library technicians and assistants need to listen to patrons to help them with research topics or with finding materials.
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by clerical library assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clerical library assistants typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as clerical library assistants as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Education level of Clerical Library Assistants
Only 43% of clerical library assistants have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by clerical library assistants
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 42% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. English Language and Literature
  2. History
  3. Psychology
  4. Political Science and Government
  5. Business Management and Administration
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The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as clerical library assistants, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
Expand degrees
English Language and...HistoryPsychologyPolitical Science an...Business Management ...Elementary EducationFine ArtsLiberal ArtsCommunicationsSociologyAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
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Number of Clerical Library Assistants per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most clerical library assistants? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as clerical library assistants. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where clerical library assistants earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for clerical library assistants compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for clerical library assistants.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which clerical library assistants earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Clerical Library Assistants (ACS)
61% of Clerical library assistants are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 61% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 98% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of clerical library assistants by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$30K$30K$27K$30K$30K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Clerical library assistants and gender
With 82% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 92% of careers.
Gender of Clerical library assistants
Men (18%)
Women (82%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for clerical library assistants tops that, with the median salary for men 21% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Clerical library assistants
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Clerical library assistants.
Race/origin of clerical library assistants
White (75% )
Black (12% )
Asian (5% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (3% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.