Kaiāwhina Tiaki Pukapuka
Library assistants do a variety of tasks within a library including organising material and helping library users.
Library assistants usually earn
$47K-$55K per year
Senior library assistants usually earn
$55K-$65K per year
Source: Auckland Council, 2020.
Pay for library assistants varies depending on experience and level of responsibility.
- Library assistants usually earn between minimum wage and $55,000 a year.
- Experienced or senior library assistants can earn between $55,000 and $65,000.
Source: Auckland Council, 2020.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Library assistants may do some or all of the following:
- issue library materials such as books and eBooks
- respond to customer enquiries
- help customers use the online library catalogues or digital resources
- check and process library returns
- sort, mend, file and shelve library material
- help catalogue and prepare new materials for library use.
Skills and knowledge
Library assistants need to have:
- basic research skills
- basic numeracy and money-handling skills
- an understanding of how to use library management systems and databases
- knowledge of how information is organised in libraries
- good general knowledge about the kind of library they work in.
- usually work part-time or full-time regular business hours, but may work evenings and weekends or do shift work
- work in libraries, offices or information centres, and mobile libraries (book buses).
What's the job really like?
Happy accident led to library career
Lauryn Hedley got her first job in libraries 12 years ago while finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Auckland. She went to an art gallery looking for a part-time job and was told to try the library.
“I accidentally fell into a library role and loved it.”
Lauryn then moved to Wellington to do a Masters of Library and Information Studies, and worked in various non-library roles.
“I also spent time overseas, but always planned to get back into library work.”
Lauryn is now a library assistant in her local area and currently works four days a week.
Helping people with their information needs
“People come into the library with a variety of information needs and we basically try to meet those needs.”
Lauryn helps customers find and borrow books and other library materials. She also helps run programmes that cater for young families and local schools.
“People often come in with requests but aren’t sure what they really want. We’ll work with them to find something that fulfils their needs.”
Teaching essential skills
“I’m interested in helping people in the community get access to the essential information services they need.
“Something I do that not every library staff member does is teach public classes in computer skills for beginners.
“It’s great to have a team that supports the flexibility to teach within my role.”
There are no specific entry requirements to become a library assistant. However, a tertiary qualification in library studies may be useful.
Open Polytechnic offers distance-learning courses in library and information studies:
- New Zealand Certificate in Library and Information Services for Children and Teens (Level 6)
- Diploma of Library and Information Studies (Level 5)
- Bachelor of Library and Information Studies.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a library assistant. However, English, digital technologies, maths, social studies and te reo Māori are useful.
Library assistants need to be:
- friendly, helpful and patient
- good communicators
- able to relate to a wide range of people
- accurate and efficient
- able to work well independently and as part of a team.
Useful experience for library assistants includes:
- voluntary work in a library
- customer service work in restaurants, hotels or shops
- work in a bookshop.
Find out more about training
- Library and Information Association of NZ Aotearoa (LIANZA)
- (04) 473 5834 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.lianza.org.nz
- Te Ropu Whakahau
- email@example.com - www.trw.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Competition for entry-level roles
The number of library assistants remains steady and it can be difficult to get entry-level roles.
Opportunities are better in public libraries than in the private sector where there are fewer libraries.
According to the Census, 2,037 library assistants worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Better job opportunities with digital and educational skills and knowledge
Chances of getting a job as a library assistant are best if you have strong information technology and educational skills, as well as a wide knowledge of books.
You can further increase your job chances if you:
- have knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori
- are qualified and willing to work in rural areas
- have work experience or have volunteered in libraries.
Most library assistants work in public libraries
Most library assistants in New Zealand work for public libraries and about a quarter work for tertiary libraries.
Library assistants may also work for:
- the National Library of New Zealand (the largest single employer of library assistants)
- libraries or information services that serve government departments, organisations or companies (special libraries)
- school libraries
- law libraries
- prison libraries
- museum and heritage libraries.
- Chang, A, remuneration specialist, Auckland Council, careers.govt.nz interview, February, 2020.
- LIANZA website, accessed February 2020, (www.lianza.org.nz).
- National Library website, accessed May 2020, (www.natlib.govt.nz).
- Pickering, A, executive director, LIANZA, careers.govt.nz interview, February 2020.
- Stats NZ, ‘2018 Census Data’, 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Library assistants may progress to become senior library assistants or librarians.
Last updated 4 April 2023