Library Assistants, Clerical

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Also known as:
Book Sorter, Braille and Talking Books Clerk, Circulation Clerk, Film Library Clerk, Library Aide, Library Assistant, Library Circulation Clerk, Library Clerk, Medical Library Assistant, Microfilm Clerk

ABOUT LIBRARY ASSISTANTS, CLERICA CAREERS
Video transcript

Library assistants keep libraries running smoothly by keeping an increasingly diverse array of library resources in order so that they can be easily located. They are paraprofessionals who work under the direction of librarians or library technicians. They perform a wide-ranging list of duties.

They're familiar with different filing and cataloguing systems. They may keep lists of overdue items and send out notices of fines. They even make repairs to worn or damaged materials. Bookmobile drivers are library assistants who do the same work while covering much more ground, taking buses and vans stocked with books to designated locations on a regular schedule.

They receive and check out books and collect fines, while maintaining and organizing the changing collection of library materials. Bookmobile drivers may be the only link some people have to their library system. They often serve schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and remote areas far removed from the library building.

The tasks can be repetitive. Library assistants may spend a lot of time on their feet. Many libraries are phasing out bookmobile service. But opportunities remain good in this field inside libraries, and it is an attractive one for people who want a part-time work schedule.

The pay is relatively low for this job, and the hours may be long and varied. Assistants can be promoted to library technicians or other supervisory positions. Technology is changing libraries, but a love of the written word - no matter what form in which it's printed - continues to be a major motivation for anyone who wants to work in this field.

SNAPSHOT
Compile records, and sort, shelve, issue, and receive library materials such as books, electronic media, pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Take action to deal with disruptive or problem patrons.

Prepare library statistics reports.

Review records, such as microfilm and issue cards, to identify titles of overdue materials and delinquent borrowers.

Open and close library during specified hours and secure library equipment, such as computers and audio-visual equipment.

Repair books using mending tape, paste, and brushes or prepare books to be sent to a bindery for repair.

Maintain records of items received, stored, issued, and returned and file catalog cards according to system used.

Assist in the preparation of book displays.

Answer routine inquiries and refer patrons in need of professional assistance to librarians.

Lend, reserve, and collect books, periodicals, videotapes, and other materials at circulation desks and process materials for inter-library loans.

Provide assistance to librarians in the maintenance of collections of books, periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and audio-visual and other materials.

Send out notices and accept fine payments for lost or overdue books.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
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.
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.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
History and Archeology Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
TOP SKILLS
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.