The Duties & Responsibilities for Assistant Librarians


Assistant librarians help librarians in the day-to-day tasks that need to get done in order to keep a library running. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of assistant librarian jobs will grow about 12 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is about average for all occupations. Assistant librarian positions may become more plentiful if municipalities face budget shortfalls and seek to replace librarians with assistant librarians, as they represent a lower-cost alternative.

Assist Patrons

  • Assistant librarians need to know where information is stored in the library so that they can assist patrons by directing them to the correct resource. Assistant librarians need to know and understand the different information contained in the periodicals, general books, videotape and computer sections and need to quickly align a user’s informational needs with the correct area of the library.

Work at the Circulation Desk

  • Assistant librarians are required to work at the circulation desk where patrons will check out and return library items. Work at the circulation desk includes scanning both the items and the user’s library card in order to record the transaction in the library database. Assistant librarians also send out overdue notices to patrons who have had their items for too long. A computer generates the overdue notices, but an assistant librarian must double-check the information before sending out the notices.

Register New Patrons

  • Assistant librarians are in charge of registering new users in the library database. They have the users fill out a form, then the assistant librarian must enter that information into the library database and generate a library card for the user.

Sort Returned Items

  • As checked-out items are returned to the library, assistant librarians must take those returned materials and place them back in their original spot in the library. Assistant librarians need to have an understanding of the library's cataloguing system, as well as knowing the layout of the library so that they can quickly and properly return items to the shelf.

Work With Other Libraries

  • When helping patrons find the items that they need, assistant librarians will sometimes need to contact other libraries in order to procure the item. Assistant librarians need to know the procedure for both sending items to other libraries and receiving items from other libraries.

Operate Bookmobiles

  • Many libraries have bookmobiles so that library materials can be available for those who may not get the chance to come into the library. Assistant librarians are responsible for operating the bookmobile, answering questions while on location, operating a mini-circulation desk while in the bookmobile and occasional maintenance of the bookmobile and any equipment inside of it.

Assist in Training

  • Assistant librarians are responsible for the training of new assistant librarians and any library volunteers. Assistant librarians need to be able to explain the layout of the library and instruct someone in all of their daily duties.

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