A library aide assists librarians in finding, preparing and organizing information. A library aide works under the supervision of a librarian, but may sometimes work autonomously. According to the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), a library aide may also be known as a library technician or a library assistant.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), library technicians may be given more responsibilities than library assistants, in some libraries. Technicians may be responsible for carrying out library programs, working with other librarians to obtain new materials and supervise lower level staff members. On the other hand, assistants may have clerical duties that include shelving books, checking in returned materials and assisting patrons.
Environment & Hours
Library aides can be found in school libraries, college and university libraries, corporate libraries, law libraries or public libraries. Aides preparing library materials can be found at desks or computer terminals. Workers can also be found organizing books on shelves and may climb ladders to reach higher stacks. Some workers operate bookmobiles to reach patrons who have difficulty reaching the library, such as handicapped or elderly patrons. Some may even deliver books to nursing homes or hospitals. Aides in school libraries typically work during school hours and those in corporate libraries work business hours. Those in public libraries, colleges and universities may work evenings, weekends and some holidays. According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition, 61 percent of assistants work part-time.
Education & Training
Training requirements vary. Employers may seek library technicians with a high school diploma. Others will look for technicians with specialized post-secondary training in associate programs, such as library science or library technology. Some libraries are willing to offer on-the-job training to inexperienced employees. Library assistants typically receive most training on-the-job. No educational requirements exist; however, knowledge with computers is helpful.
According to the BLS May 2009 Occupational Employment Statistics Survey Program, library technicians earned a national average hourly rate of $14.93 and a national average yearly income of $31,060. Library assistants earned a national average hourly rate of $11.92 and a national average yearly income of $24,790 in 2009.
According to the BLS National Employment Matrix, employment for library technicians is projected to grow as fast as average at a rate of 10 percent through 2018. Employment for library assistants is projected to grow as fast as average at a rate of 11 percent through 2018. Job prospects are expected to be good, since many workers leave this occupation and have to be replaced.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Library Technicians and Library Assistants
- BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2009: Library Technicians
- BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2009: Library Assistants
- Collegeboard.com: Library Technicians
- Occupational Information Network: Library Technicians
- Photo Credit library books image by Daughterson from Fotolia.com
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