Library assistants help librarians with the different tasks of running a library. They organize books, magazines, reference articles and other library materials, assist with the patrons of the library and perform administrative tasks. Daily tasks may include reshelving books, cataloging materials, issuing new library cards, maintaining computer databases and organizing files.
Applicants who are eligible to be a library assistant should have certain specific qualities that you should include in your library assistant job description. Library assistants should be detail-oriented because of the organizing and cataloging processes. They should also know how to effectively use the computer and the library’s database.
Because some of their job entails working with the public, library assistants should have interpersonal skills and be able to communicate clearly. In order to make sure your library assistant job description contains these qualities and other important elements, take a look at the following example.
Library assistant Job Summary
Do you find yourself lost in novels or searching the world in non-fiction books? Do you love the smell of bookshelves and enjoy sharing stories with your friends and family? As a library assistant, you can combine all of these aspects in one role as you perform a variety of duties that maintain library technical support and user services. You will work closely with other friendly library assistants and will be supervised by the head librarian. Each day you will utilize your attention to detail and interpersonal skills to maintain clerical work and make friends with patrons as you help them find research materials, use the online catalog system and request items from an associated library. While we provide lots of freedom, guidance and advice is readily available when needed.
- Sort publications, books and other literary items and return them to their proper shelves and storage areas
- Locate library materials, including periodicals, books, magazines and electronic resources, and assist in the creation, routing, revision and approval of a variety of online documents
- Assist patrons when looking for reading or research materials, and instruct patrons in the use of computers, scanners and photocopiers
- Set up new accounts and issue library cards, and maintain library equipment in proper working order
- Maintain records of new and used items received, issued, stored and returned, and file according to library system
- Perform clerical duties, such as sorting mail, answering phones, filing, photocopying, word processing and mailing out letters, keep up regular communication with supervisors regarding changes, and seek streamline processes where appropriate
- Generate reports on a monthly basis
- Open and close library following normal business hours, secure library equipment and deal with problem or disruptive patrons, or refer them to the supervising librarian
Job Skills & Qualifications
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Minimum of three years periodical and serial experience
- Strong customer-service skills
- Bachelor’s degree
- Experience with library software, such as automated circulation systems and cataloging software
- Spanish as a second language
Library Assistant Job Responsibilities
A list of responsibilities makes up the core of your library assistant job description, so it is important to remember these tips. Use a bulleted list to explain the duties that are essential to the position. While you may want to mention every task your new library assistant will perform, remember that you should typically leave out more minor duties. If you need to include these additional responsibilities, create a second list under a subheading such as “Secondary Duties.” Inserting links into your list can help jobseekers better understand what you are looking for.
It is essential to pay close attention to your library assistant job responsibilities. When the job responsibilities section is well-written, it communicates how jobseekers will help the library thrive and the kind of projects they will work on, as well as their daily duties. For many jobseekers, the clarity of the responsibilities determines whether they want to apply for your position, so creating a strong list can help you attract more candidates.
Consider the following responsibilities as you write your library assistant job description:
- Help library patrons locate books, use online materials and perform research through library databases
- Maintain records of library items
- Organize library programming to engage the public
- Assist librarians with growing library collection
Library Assistant Job Specifications
While job qualifications and skills section can seem like the simplest part of a job description, it is important to give it close consideration. The specifications you list determine the kind of applicants you get. A more general list of skills can attract jobseekers who are not qualified, while an accurate list can draw the interest of people who have the exact abilities you need. Specifications can thus serve as a way to weed out candidates before you see any resumes. Work with the librarians who will oversee the new hire so they can verify that the skills you have listed in your library assistant job description are the ones the role needs.
Experts recommend that you organize your library assistant job specifications in two sections. One should be for your required skills, while the other should list the qualifications you would like but do not need. When jobseekers have this information, they can determine for themselves if they have the experience and training you require. Use bullet points to list your specifications.
Below you will find sample qualifications for a library assistant job description:
- Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in the humanities
- 1–3 years of relevant library experience
- Knowledge of catalog and reference systems
- Ability to work on multiple projects
- Experience with community outreach
- Fluent in Spanish