Summary of occupation
Library assistants support librarians and library technicians by performing routine customer service and library maintenance duties. They work at the loans desk, recording the issuing and returning of books and other library items, sending out overdue reminders and collecting fines when loans are overdue. Library assistants also sort returned materials and re-shelve them in the appropriate location and assist library users to locate particular publications. These assistants may also be responsible for unpacking and preparing new materials, which can include entering their details into the library database, and attaching barcodes and labels to assist with shelving and record keeping. In some cases, they may also inspect materials for damage and make minor repairs.
Issues, receives and shelves library items and maintains associated records.
Library Attendant, Library Clerk
A library assistant needs:
- good communication and interpersonal skills
- excellent organisational skills
- to be comfortable using computers
- the ability to work as part of a team
- an interest in books and other information sources.
Working conditions can vary greatly between libraries, depending on the size, location and type of library. In Western Australia, there are several hundred public libraries located throughout the State, in both regional and metropolitan areas. There are also a large number of university, government and business libraries, though not all libraries will necessarily employ library assistants. The majority of library assistants in Western Australia work in the Perth metropolitan area. Evening and weekend work may be required, however this may vary depending on the size and location of the library. Library assistants may spend long periods standing.
On average, library assistants can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a library assistant develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Library assistants use computers to record the lending and return of library materials, to access information stored in electronic databases and journals. They will also need to be familiar with a number of specialised electronic databases and catalogues used to manage and locate records and information both in their own library, and in some cases, at other locations. Trolleys are often used to transport books around the library for shelving, and ladders may be used to reach high shelves.
You can work as a library assistant without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in library and information services.
The Certificate III in Information and Cultural Services and Certificate IV in Library, Information and Cultural Services are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also become a library assistant by completing a traineeship. The library and information services traineeship usually takes 12 to 36 months to complete. The library and information services (level 2) traineeship available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.