Library Assistants, Clerical
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Acquisitions Assistant, Cataloging Assistant, Library Aide, Library Assistant, Library Associate, Library Circulation Assistant, Library Clerical Assistant, Library Clerk, Library Services Assistant
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Sort books, publications, and other items according to established procedure and return them to shelves, files, or other designated storage areas.
- Open and close library during specified hours and secure library equipment, such as computers and audio-visual equipment.
- Locate library materials for patrons, including books, periodicals, tape cassettes, Braille volumes, and pictures.
- Enter and update patrons’ records on computers.
- Answer routine inquiries and refer patrons in need of professional assistance to librarians.
- Manage reserve materials by placing items on reserve for library patrons, checking items in and out of library, and removing out-of-date items.
- Lend, reserve, and collect books, periodicals, videotapes, and other materials at circulation desks and process materials for inter-library loans.
- Instruct patrons on how to use reference sources, card catalogs, and automated information systems.
- Inspect returned books for condition and due-date status and compute any applicable fines.
- Maintain records of items received, stored, issued, and returned and file catalog cards according to system used.
- Perform clerical activities, such as answering phones, sorting mail, filing, typing, word processing, and photocopying and mailing out material.
- Register new patrons and issue borrower identification cards that permit patrons to borrow books and other materials.
- Process new materials including books, audio-visual materials, and computer software.
- Provide assistance to librarians in the maintenance of collections of books, periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and audio-visual and other materials.
- Review records, such as microfilm and issue cards, to identify titles of overdue materials and delinquent borrowers.
- Send out notices and accept fine payments for lost or overdue books.
- Maintain library equipment, such as photocopiers, scanners, and computers, and instruct patrons in proper use of such equipment.
- Schedule, supervise, and train clerical workers, volunteers, student assistants, and other library employees.
- Repair books using mending tape, paste, and brushes or prepare books to be sent to a bindery for repair.
- Take action to deal with disruptive or problem patrons.
- Prepare, store, and retrieve classification and catalog information, lecture notes, or other information related to stored documents, using computers.
- Select substitute titles when requested materials are unavailable, following criteria such as age, education, and interests.
- Prepare library statistics reports.
- Deliver and retrieve items to and from departments by hand or using push carts.
- Assist in the preparation of book displays.
- Classify and catalog items according to content and purpose.
- Operate small branch libraries, under the direction of off-site librarian supervisors.
- Plan or participate in library events and programs, such as story time with children.
- Perform accounting and bookkeeping activities, such as invoicing, maintaining financial records, budgeting, and handling cash.
- Operate and maintain audio-visual equipment.
- Place books in mailing containers, affix address labels, and secure containers with straps for mailing to blind library patrons.
- Design or maintain library web site and online catalogues.
- Acquire books, pamphlets, periodicals, audio-visual materials, and other library supplies by checking prices, figuring costs, and preparing appropriate order forms and facilitating the ordering process by providing such information to others.
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- Data base user interface and query software — Database software ; Microsoft Access ; Recordkeeping software
- Desktop publishing software — Microsoft Publisher
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Information retrieval or search software — Video retrieval systems
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Library software — Cataloging software; Online Computer Library Center OCLC; ResourceMate Plus; WorldCat (see all 6 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — C++
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
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- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Maintain security.
- Sort materials or products.
- Enter information into databases or software programs.
- Track goods or materials.
- Distribute materials to employees or customers.
- Refer customers to appropriate personnel.
- Calculate financial data.
- Demonstrate activity techniques or equipment use.
- Inspect items for damage or defects.
- Maintain inventory records.
- Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information.
- Issue documentation or identification to customers or employees.
- Sort mail.
- Type documents.
- Manage clerical or administrative activities.
- Process library materials.
- Collect deposits, payments or fees.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Send information, materials or documentation.
- Maintain office equipment in proper operating condition.
- Plan educational activities.
- Plan special events.
- Prepare employee work schedules.
- Repair books or other printed material.
- Supervise clerical or administrative personnel.
- Maintain electronic equipment.
- Maintain financial or account records.
- Operate office equipment.
- Attach identification information to products, items or containers.
- Develop computer or online applications.
- Package objects for shipping.
- Store records or related materials.
- Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
- Prepare documentation for contracts, transactions, or regulatory compliance.
- Provide customer service to clients or users.
- Prepare research or technical reports.
- Deliver items.
- Arrange items for use or display.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 65% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 71% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 36% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Deal With External Customers — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 52% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 40% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 29% responded “Very important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 29% responded “Important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 42% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 42% responded “About half the time.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 28% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|50||High school diploma or equivalent
|14||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: CRS Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
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- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$13.81 hourly, $28,730 annual|
|Employment (2020)||88,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Little or no change|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||13,400|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association of Law Libraries
- American Library Association
- Council on Library/Media Technicians
- Medical Library Association
- Music Library Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Library technicians and assistants
- Service Employees International Union
- Special Libraries Association
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