Library assistants participate in all aspects of library circulation and patron service duties. Their primary responsibility is to ensure all patron needs are met. This includes assisting patrons in general library services such as signing up for library cards, using the library catalog, and navigating the library’s various areas. They answer basic circulation and reference questions and assist patrons in finding materials they are searching for, as well as direct patrons to reference librarians for more complex questions. They may troubleshoot library equipment such as computers, copiers, and printers if they malfunction. Library assistants check in and check out materials and manage hold requests, as needed. They return materials to their proper location on the shelves, and occasionally “shelf read” to check that material on the shelves are in the correct order. Library assistants may help to open or close the library, depending on their schedule.
Library assistants work in a moderately busy public-service environment. They may work a part-time or full-time schedule, according to library needs. The majority of their time is spent at the circulation desk of the library, checking in and out materials and answering patron questions. Occasionally, they will re-shelve materials, assist a patron away from the desk or troubleshoot equipment. Library assistants generally work under the direct supervision of a circulation supervisor or other librarian who is available for questions or patron referrals.
Library assistants are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. This is an entry-level position and typically requires no direct experience, although some customer service experience may be preferred. Some more advanced library assistant positions may require additional training such as a bachelor’s degree or prior library experience.
Library Assistant Tasks
Compile records, sort and shelve books, and issue and receive library materials such as pictures, cards, slides and microfilm.
Process new materials including books, audiovisual materials, and computer software.
Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title.