How to become a library assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Libraries, Archives and Information Services.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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You could do a library, information and archive services advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Direct Application

You can apply for a job as a library assistant if you have some experience of working in a library, an archive or information service, for example as a volunteer. You may need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English, to apply.

Experience working in an administration, customer services or IT role would also be useful for applying directly.

For some assistant jobs, for example in industrial or commercial libraries, you may need qualifications at A level standard or higher. You may also need specialist knowledge like languages or science, depending on the job.

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Career tips

A knowledge of information classification systems, like the Dewey Decimal Classification, may be useful, though not essential, as training would be given.

Further information

You can find more details about working in libraries from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day you could:

  • help users find what they need, in print and online
  • organise IT access and solve user problems
  • check materials in and out and catalogue new items
  • shelve returned items and arrange repair of damaged materials
  • deal with counter, phone and email enquiries
  • make sure copyright licence agreements are followed
  • maintain databases and records
  • help with community events and activities like reading sessions

Working environment

You could work at a library, at a school, at a college or at a university.

Career path and progression

With experience and qualifications, you could become a librarian. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has more information.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Library Assistant

  • Wage: £194.25 Weekly
  • Location: Cheltenham

Courses In England

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