A Day in the Life of a Library Assistant, Part 2

3My name is Judi, and I’m a Library Assistant. I’m here typically 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 days each week, so my days are usually packed with things I need to get done in that time. We do much more than just circulate books on the front desk; there are many tasks that have to get done in order for our books to circulate properly, and I do a number of things each week.

My full days of work usually include searching for books that patrons have put on hold from home. There can be anywhere from 1- 20 holds that I have to search for, process, and put on the shelf so that our patrons can pick them up once we open. If they don’t use email for notification, I will put those aside to be called later in the evening. We search for holds twice a day, so this can be a very time-consuming part of my job.

While we don’t normally notify people of recently overdue books, there are always a number of books that have reached the overdue status of several weeks or more, and those patrons need to be notified. We run a report that tells us which books are long overdue, at which point, I’ll do a search to make sure they haven’t just been missed on our shelves. Any that I don’t find will stay on our report, and I’ll send bills in the mail to those patrons. Often, people just need a reminder to return something.

Interlibrary loan is a popular service in libraries these days, and we have a good turnover of books we loan out and books we borrow. It can take a while to package up these books to get ready for the courier, depending on how busy we are at the circulation desk. If books aren’t on our courier route, we have to get these ready to mail, which requires a bit more work, and eventually, a visit to the post office.

Once a week, we get new books delivered to the library that we’ve purchased. After they are processed, these books will come to me to add spine labels, get covered, and stamped. Then, they’re ready to go out to people who have placed holds on them. I am also in charge of processing paperbacks for our shelves.

I’m the Health and Safety rep for our library, and that requires me to attend meetings, take special training courses, do monthly inspections, and prepare reports. When things are running smoothly, it’s a pretty straight-forward job that I enjoy.

We do a lot of outreach to the community, which entails packaging up books to take to seniors’ residences, removing books from our collection and packing boxes to send the books away to Better World Books to be redistributed, and more.

Of course, none of these things take precedence over helping patrons find books, answering the phones, registering new members, or answering reference questions. We love our patrons (I especially LOVE the babies), and enjoy the constant variety found in each day. It’s always exciting!

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