In Summary - Library/Information Assistant
Library/Information Assistants typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos on the Web
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- Library Assistant - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Library/Information Assistant
Issuing items, receiving them when they come back, and collecting fines for overdue or damaged books form a large part of many library assistants' work. When issuing books or materials to the public, they usually use a computerised library system. Working on the issue or return desk can be very pressurised especially at peak times such as Saturday mornings in a public library or at the change of lectures in a student library.
Once items have been returned, they must be stored, shelved or repaired if necessary. Many libraries handle CDs, videos, pictures and other media, as well as books; they all need to be checked for signs of damage. The library assistant carries out minor book repairs, such as taping in loose pages.
In small libraries, assistants process new material by sticking in date labels, barcodes and so on. Most public libraries and large libraries in other fields contract out these services and/or have central cataloguing departments. Assistants are usually responsible for the paperwork associated with buying and receiving new items and for adding material to the library stock.
Contact with borrowers ranges from sending reminders about overdue books to dealing with face-to-face and telephone enquiries. New library users may need help in using the library system or the Internet, finding an item or operating microfiche readers, CD-ROMs, OPACs and photocopying machines. The library assistant provides this help to new users.
Some library assistants work on mobile library services to particular communities or clients. These include rural areas, hospitals, schools and residential homes for the elderly.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Instruct patrons on how to use reference sources, card catalogs, and automated information systems.
- Open and close library during specified hours and secure library equipment, such as computers and audiovisual (AV) equipment.
- Locate library materials for patrons, including books, periodicals, tape cassettes, Braille volumes, and pictures.
- Answer routine inquiries, and refer patrons in need of professional assistance to librarians.
- Maintain records of items received, stored, issued, and returned, and file catalog cards according to system used.
- Perform clerical activities, such as answering phones, sorting mail, filing, typing, word processing, and photocopying and mailing out material.
- Process new materials including books, audiovisual materials, and computer software.
- Provide assistance to librarians in the maintenance of collections of books, periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and audiovisual and other materials.
- Take action to deal with disruptive or problem patrons.
- Sort books, publications, and other items according to established procedure and return them to shelves, files, or other designated storage areas.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interests - Library/Information Assistant
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
As a library assistant, you should enjoy working with people of all ages and be patient, polite and approachable. A logical mind and good memory are useful. You must be willing to use computer terminals so computer skills are essential. A high level of literacy is required and an interest in reading is desirable. The work can also be physically demanding and tiring.
Entry Requirements - Library/Information Assistant
Pay & Salary - Library/Information Assistant
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 30k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.