A library assistant helps the librarian with all the daily tasks in the library. This could include working at the circulation desk and assisting the public. Other tasks may include repairing, replacing, and restocking books. Some libraries offer educational children's programs and other special events where the library assistant will help.
The circulation desk is usually the main desk at the front of the library where people check out and return books, ask questions, and receive library cards. The desk can sometimes be crowded, and the assistant may have to multi-task during these times. A library assistant may work at the desk with the librarian or on her own as she becomes more comfortable with the job. The librarians at the circulation desk also take phone calls coming into the library.
The librarian may ask the library assistant to work out on the floor at times. This could include helping people find specific books or books about a particular topic. The assistant may also help library patrons use the card catalog or computer system to locate books within the library. Individuals in this role will also answer any questions the patrons may have.
Books at the library often have to be repaired due to damage. This may be one of the duties of a library assistant. Books that are repaired or books that are checked in have to be restocked accordingly. The assistant may also have to open boxes of new books, label them, and decide where to shelve them in the library. They may have to enter new books in the card catalog or computer system as well.
Many public libraries offer programs for the surrounding community. Children's programs are popular all year round. The library assistant may have to participate in the program by decorating or creating a plan for the event, reading to the children, or helping the librarian to make sure the event runs smoothly. The assistant will encourage new patrons to apply for a library card during these events.
Even though there are several different jobs at the library, the library assistant will often begin with just a few tasks. As an assistant becomes more familiar with the library and the duties, they may be asked to increase their daily jobs. A person in this position could work part time or full time. They may also work weekdays, weekends, or a combination of both.