Clerical Library Assistants: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Clerical Library Assistants

Clerical Library Assistants 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.

Becoming One
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth


Job description

Clerical Library Assistants compile records, 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.

  • 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.
  • Classify and catalog items according to content and purpose.
Read more about what does a Clerical Library Assistant really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$28960 per year

Average hourly wage
$14 per hour

Clerical Library Assistants with little to no experience tend to make between $18810 and $21670 while the more experienced ones can earn over $34500 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $24 $50,420
NV $17 $36,280
OR $17 $35,820
CA $17 $35,540
AK $17 $35,200

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Clerical Library Assistant is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Clerical Library Assistants are DC, NV, OR, CA and AK.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Clerical Library Assistant is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Clerical Library Assistants what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a College Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

No degree required
Read more about how to become a Clerical Library Assistant and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Clerical Library Assistant.

Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
One of the lowest paying jobs

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

70% of Clerical Library Assistants said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Josie Cornhill
Public libraries

I’m Josie Cornhill, a former Library assistant who went on the become a librarian.

I worked in public libraries and my typical day included:

  • Unloading books sent by other libraries and either putting them back on the shelves or labeling them ready for customer collection
  • Working at the issue desk, issuing and returning patrons books-Helping patrons use the self-service machines to issue and return their own books
  • Working on the enquiry desk to help patrons find or order specific books or find the answers to particular questions
  • Helping patrons use the library’s computer system
  • Putting returned books back on the shelves
  • Locating books on the shelves to be sent to other libraries


Having easy access to any book you could ever want to read: Even if the library you work in doesn’t have a copy of the book you want, you’ll almost certainly be able to get it through the inter lending service where libraries lend books to each other. The only trouble is that being around books all day, you’ll constantly be seeing new ones you want to read, not to mention all the ones that get recommended to you!

A good team atmosphere: There is something very pleasant about the atmosphere of a library. It’s very calm and ordered and while it can be busy, it rarely feels chaotic. Library assistants work as part of a team and in my experience have always been very supportive of each other, this makes for a very pleasant work environment.

The satisfaction of helping people: Many of the people you deal with in your work day will need your help in some way and being able to assist them is very satisfying. If you work for a commercial organisation the goal really is to make money but in a library, the goal is essentially to help people and that leads to a great deal of job satisfaction.


The lack of funding for libraries: Unfortunately funding for libraries has decreased year on year almost everywhere and this can make it difficult for them to provide the services they are tasked with. As a library assistant, you are on the frontline of this and are often the person explaining to patrons why there aren’t enough computers or enough copies of popular books.

The computers often break and patrons are upset by this: For many people, the library represents their only access to the internet and with more and more services being delivered online, problems with library computers have a bigger and bigger impact on those people’s lives. Sometimes the frustration of that gets taken out on library assistants.

The low wages: Library assistants don’t earn very much money, like most jobs with fairly low entry barriers that offer a good level of job satisfaction, they don’t need to offer a financial incentive to attract good candidates, so wages reflect that.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Clerical Library Assistants

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Clerical Library Assistants job description, Clerical Library Assistants salary, Clerical Library Assistants information, what is the job of a Clerical Library Assistant like, pros and cons about Clerical Library Assistants, colleges and universities for Clerical Library Assistants, is Clerical Library Assistants the right career for me, careers in Office and Administration

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Access Services Assistant, Acquisitions Assistant, Administrative Library Assistant, Assistant Librarian, Bibliographic Services Specialist, Book Sorter, Bookmobile Driver, Braille and Talking Books Clerk, Catalog Library Assistant, Cataloging Assistant

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