Working as a library assistant is what many major Humanities chose during their college years — and so do many graduates! An entry-level job as a library assistant can well set you up for a subsequent career in academia, education, or the publishing industry. Or it can lead to a tenured career in librarianship.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), senior career roles such as Library Managers and Library Directors are not only rewarding but can pay over $50K per year and upward to $125K at the highest level.
But let’s not jump ahead. Right now you need to focus on communicating your current skills and background to get a coveted library assistant job. While most employers provide baseline training, you are still expected to show some marketable skills — even if those come from different lines of work.
In this post, we show you how to create a convincing cover letter for a library assistant position by first providing a working example — and then further explaining how to create a similar letter.
Cover Letter Sample for Library Assistant (Word version)
This example was written for a current student, applying for a part-time position in the campus library.
Example Cover Letter for Library Assistant (text version)
Books have long been my passion (no wonder I chose English Literature as my major!). Therefore, I was very excited to learn that Trinity State Library has opened a new position for a Library Assistant.
Currently, I’m a third-year student, living on campus. Last year, I have worked as a resident assistant for three semesters, so I’m well-acquainted with the student population and have developed friendly relationships with a lot of administrative staff. Should you need a character reference, Maria Gonsalez, Chief of Student Bureau, would be delighted to provide one.
As an RA, I was responsible for organizing different events at our sorority house. I hosted several literary events — a reading with an invited author, John Smarvick during his visit on campus, as well as a monthly reading club for English Literature majors. Also, I’ve been organizing and leading study groups for sophomore students — and I spent a lot of time recommending them different titles from the library and helping them source some of the in-demand books.
In fact, you have probably seen me a lot of times at Trinity Library. Last October I have volunteered as a Library Photographer during the anniversary celebration, and closely collaborate with Natalie Dickens, the Library Manager.
I know that the role of a Library Assistant requires more than just passion for literature and great knowledge of the stock. I have meticulous attention to detail and can effectively handle data entry and inventory management tasks — the two skills I’ve developed during my summer shifts as a retail assistant at Plaza Clothing.
Enclosed is my resume. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further information.
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Library Assistant Position
The purpose of a great cover letter is to provide an extra context in your career history and communicate your enthusiasm for the job opening. The above sample cover letter compensates for the lack of experience by stressing different transferable skills the job seeker has. To write a similarly enticing letter, apply the following tips.
1. Customize Your Letter to The Position
There are many different types of libraries out there — smaller community libraries in urban areas, lofty academic libraries, frequented by students, or establishments containing specialized titles (e.g. in Medicine) that working professionals visit.
When you work on both your resume and cover letter, mind the distinction. A library mostly catering to families with kids would require a somewhat different personality and skill set than say a hospital library. So be sure to do some background research to learn more about the venue.
Specifically, try to understand what types of people they cater to. Then, in your cover letter, mention why you’d be a good fit. In the sample above the writer brings up her on-campus activities and knowledge of both the students, staff, and titles in the library.
2. Show That You Know The Tech
Libraries have been around since the pre-historic ages. But these days, many venues are actively embracing technology. Many use online cataloging and user registration systems.
Others have morphed into media libraries, where visitors can not just grab physical books, but also lend e-books, browse video, or listen to narrated archival documents. So be sure to mention your digital literacy skills.
3. Bring Up Your Creative Side
Finally, many people, drawn to libraries, are creative spirits of their own. This can play to your advantage if you are applying to a library, known for hosting different events. If that’s the case, mention your interest in doing and attending various cultural events, praise their past successes, and mention how you might help during the next gala.
For example, you can mention that you’d be happy to offer photography services, help with invitation design, or event promotion on social media. Such proactiveness rarely goes unnoticed!
Final Tip: Keep Your Writing to One Page
Though many Library Managers or Directors are avid readers, few would appreciate an extra-long, rambling letter. They are busy people, after all. So keep your cover letter at one-page max — that’s roughly 300-400 words in Times New Roman 12. And if you are adding an email cover letter, keep it even shorter at 200 words tops!