Library Assistants

Library assistants have to perform their tasks at the circulation desk. They lend and collect periodicals, videotapes, books, and other materials. When an item is issued, the library assistant scans it and the patron's library card to register the transaction in the database of library. The assistant then stamp the due date on the item. When an item is returned, the assistant ensure its return date and scrutinize it for damage.

The library assistant may evaluate the record for accuracy and in case the item is damaged, they send the notice for its compensation to the borrower. The library assistant use electronic circulation system that has an automatic system to generate notices regarding materials is overdue.

The other work of library assistants is to record new patrons and issue them library cards. They are responsible to answer patron's questions and refer them to a librarian. The daily work of an assistant is to sort out returned periodicals, books, and other items. They put these items on their designated shelves, in the storage areas, or in the proper files.

The responsibility of a library assistant is to look for damage before keeping returned materials in shelves. In case items are damaged, library assistant try to make repairs by using paste or tape to book covers and torn pages. These assistants also locate materials that are being lent to a patron. A good library assistant has to be familiar with computers. Sometimes, assistants help patrons with computer searches. Most library assistants specialize in facilitating patrons who are suffering from problems.

Work Environment
Library assistants have to prepare library materials; therefore, they need to sit at computer terminals or desks for long periods. Assistants may get eyestrain or headaches due to this type of working conditions. At times, duties are repetitive and boring such as shelving returned and new materials.

A library assistant has to carry and lift books, bend low to shelve books on bottom shelves, and climb ladders to reach high stacks. Library assistants who work in school libraries perform their work in regular school hours. Those who work in universities, colleges, and public libraries have to work evenings, weekends, and some holidays. Some of the library assistants work part-time. This is appeals to students, retirees, and others who are interested in flexible schedules. These assistants have to cope with following responsibilities.


Educational Qualification
Generally, library assistants are given special training on the job. There is no formal education required. Nevertheless, basic computer knowledge is helpful. Some libraries prefer candidates who have completed a high school diploma or GED. Candidates who have experience in clerical jobs are preferred.

Most of the jobs require librarians having computer skills because the clerical work in performed with computers. These candidates are expected to have knowledge of library automation systems and databases. A library assistant ought to pay attention to the details as the storage of materials is important.

The arrival of computer technology has made clerical work easier. Therefore, a library assistant is expected to have sound knowledge of computer and internet. Some library assistants start their career by performing jobs like adding new books, periodicals and shelving books to the databases. After gaining enough experience, they may take the position, which make them to interact with patrons like staffing the circulation desk.

An assistant who has ample experience in library work may be promoted to the library technician positions. The library technician position encompasses a number of responsibilities. Finally, they may advance to oversee technical service or public service area.

There were 1, 16, 000 library assistant positions in 2006. The local government has employed approximately half of these workers in public libraries and rest of these has been working in school, colleges, universities, and public libraries. Many library assistants are working part-time.

Employment of library assistants is predicted to grow in near future. The number of library assistants is predicted to grow by eight percent till 2016. Some library assistants work with public institutions. These assistants are not affected by ups and downs of the business cycle.

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