Library Research Assistant

Last Updated:
July 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Library Research Assistant job description entails supporting educational institutions by assisting students and staff in their research needs. Library Research Assistants help library patrons find and navigate resources accurately and efficiently. They also help in managing and organizing library collections, and may also conduct training sessions for library users.

To be successful in this job, you must have proficiency in library research techniques and experience with reference tools, such as databases, periodicals, and search engines. Library Research Assistants should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills to help library users with their research. Additionally, attention to detail and organizational skills are essential for managing library collections.

If you are passionate about helping students and staff in their academic pursuits, have a strong affinity for libraries, and are a skilled researcher, then a career as a Library Research Assistant could be the ideal fit for you.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist students and faculty members in conducting research using library resources and databases.
  • Help organize and maintain the library's collection of books, journals, and other materials.
  • Provide training and guidance to students on how to effectively use library resources for research and assignments.
  • Assist with circulation and interlibrary loan services, including checking out materials and processing requests for materials from other libraries.
  • Conduct basic library operations such as shelving and stack maintenance.
  • Respond to reference questions and provide accurate and timely information to library patrons.
  • Collaborate with other library staff to plan and implement library services and programs.
  • Assist with special projects, such as creating bibliographies or researching and summarizing information for library initiatives.
  • Ensure the security, safety, and confidentiality of library materials and patron information.

Experience and Education Requirements

To work as a Library Research Assistant in the Education industry, you usually need to have some education and experience in research and library sciences. A high school diploma or GED is usually required, and some employers may prefer candidates with a degree in Library Sciences, Education or a related field. You'll also need strong computer skills and be comfortable using databases, organizing information, and conducting research. Some employers may also require customer service skills, as part of the job is helping students and faculty with research projects. Ideally, you'll have some work experience in libraries, academic institutions, or research organizations, but entry-level positions may be available for those who are just starting their careers.

Salary Range

Library Research Assistant salary range varies based on location, employer, and experience. In the United States, the average salary for this role is around $40,000 per year, with some professionals earning up to $60,000 annually. However, those with less experience may earn closer to $28,000 per year. 

In Canada, the average salary is around CAD $41,000 per year, with entry-level salaries starting at CAD $31,000 per year. 

In the United Kingdom, Library Research Assistants can expect to earn an average of £17,500 per year. 

It's important to note that these numbers can vary based on the specific job duties and location. According to Payscale, many Library Research Assistants work part-time, so salary information may not reflect full-time rates. 


  • Payscale (
  • Indeed (
  • Glassdoor (,27.htm)

Career Outlook

As the education industry continues to expand, the demand for library research assistants is set to increase over the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of library assistants is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. More schools, colleges, and universities are building libraries, expanding access to online learning resources, and boosting their research capabilities. This trend is likely to continue, creating more job opportunities for library research assistants who can manage archives, curate content and help students access knowledge. Additionally, the rise of e-learning and remote education is expected to drive the need for library research assistants who can manage digital resources and online libraries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Library Research Assistant do?

A: A Library Research Assistant is responsible for helping library users find necessary resources and materials, providing research assistance, performing cataloging and shelving duties, and maintaining the library's organization and cleanliness.

Q: What are the qualifications necessary to become a Library Research Assistant?

A: A bachelor's degree in library science, education, or a related field is preferred, along with strong research and customer service skills. Some library experience is also desirable.

Q: What are the typical duties of a Library Research Assistant?

A: Duties include assisting with reference and research inquiries, managing circulation and interlibrary loan requests, cataloging new library materials, maintaining organized and up-to-date shelves, and assisting with library events and programs.

Q: What essential skills are necessary to excel as a Library Research Assistant?

A: Strong communication, research and organizational abilities, customer service skills, attention to detail, critical thinking and problem solving abilities, and the capacity to work independently as well as part of a team.

Q: What kind of work environment do Library Research Assistants typically operate in?

A: They work almost exclusively indoors in a library setting. The work may involve sitting or standing for extended periods of time, and occasionally lifting heavy books or materials. Library Research Assistants typically work full-time, with occasional evening and weekend shifts required.

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