Library and Archives assistants are a critical part of the library and archival system. They assist professional librarians and archivists in the day to day duties of operating a library or archive. Library assistants may be responsible for stocking shelves, offering instruction on various library services, assisting patrons and managing library assets such as books and periodicals.
Archival assistants will help with the preparation, cataloging, and storage of archive materials. They may be working with unique and valuable documents like first edition books, historical records or other meaningful works of art alongside professional archivists.
While professional librarians often need a master's degree in library science, assistants can often have a less formal education. An education in teaching can help you become a full-fledged librarian while any other related degree can help if you'll be happy as an assistant.
Similar to librarians, archivists often need master's degrees in their related fields. Assistants can likewise get by with fewer years of education although a bachelor's degree will be desired. Courses in the humanities and liberal arts are beneficial to both positions as degrees in these programs can help you think creatively and objectively.
Librarians and archivists have similar sets of required overlapping skills such as attention to detail and communication. Library assistants will need to have excellent verbal and interpersonal skills as helping patrons is a large part of their responsibilities.
The job market demand for librarians is good with average growth over the next ten years compared to all tracked occupations. Archivists will see greater than average growth of about 13% over the next ten years. Although these figures are for full-time professional librarians and archivists, assistants should likewise see similar demand for their services. Library assistants will see an average mid-career salary of about $27,000 while archival assistants can expect about $25,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.