Day in the life of
Library Assistant – Josie Cornhill
I’m Josie Cornhill, a former Library assistant who went on the become a librarian.
I worked in public libraries and my typical day included:
- Unloading books sent by other libraries and either putting them back on the shelves or labeling them ready for customer collection
- Working at the issue desk, issuing and returning patrons books-Helping patrons use the self-service machines to issue and return their own books
- Working on the enquiry desk to help patrons find or order specific books or find the answers to particular questions
- Helping patrons use the library’s computer system
- Putting returned books back on the shelves
- Locating books on the shelves to be sent to other libraries
Having easy access to any book you could ever want to read: Even if the library you work in doesn’t have a copy of the book you want, you’ll almost certainly be able to get it through the inter lending service where libraries lend books to each other. The only trouble is that being around books all day, you’ll constantly be seeing new ones you want to read, not to mention all the ones that get recommended to you!
A good team atmosphere: There is something very pleasant about the atmosphere of a library. It’s very calm and ordered and while it can be busy, it rarely feels chaotic. Library assistants work as part of a team and in my experience have always been very supportive of each other, this makes for a very pleasant work environment.
The satisfaction of helping people: Many of the people you deal with in your work day will need your help in some way and being able to assist them is very satisfying. If you work for a commercial organisation the goal really is to make money but in a library, the goal is essentially to help people and that leads to a great deal of job satisfaction.
The lack of funding for libraries: Unfortunately funding for libraries has decreased year on year almost everywhere and this can make it difficult for them to provide the services they are tasked with. As a library assistant, you are on the frontline of this and are often the person explaining to patrons why there aren’t enough computers or enough copies of popular books.
The computers often break and patrons are upset by this: For many people, the library represents their only access to the internet and with more and more services being delivered online, problems with library computers have a bigger and bigger impact on those people’s lives. Sometimes the frustration of that gets taken out on library assistants.
The low wages: Library assistants don’t earn very much money, like most jobs with fairly low entry barriers that offer a good level of job satisfaction, they don’t need to offer a financial incentive to attract good candidates, so wages reflect that.
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.