Library media paraprofessionals are technicians who work in school libraries either under the direction of the librarian or independently. Library media paraprofessionals are also sometimes called library media assistants, school library assistants, library aides, or library technicians. Their responsibilities are often quite diverse but generally consist of anything related to keeping the school library running smoothly. Education requirements vary, but most library media paraprofessionals are required to have the same education as a teacher assistant. This could be an associate's degree or higher but varies by district.
Assisting Students and Teachers
Library media paraprofessionals may have responsibilities that include helping students locate appropriate library resources. They need to know how to use the library's catalog to search by title, author, subject or keyword, and they need to understand how to find those materials on the shelves. In the absence of a professional librarian, the library media paraprofessional may also help teachers plan research projects for students and ensure that appropriate library materials are available. Library media paraprofessionals also help teach students how to effectively use the library. Checking books in and checking books out is also a very common role for the library media paraprofessional.
Library media paraprofessionals are often responsible for shelving books and other library materials. They must have an understanding of the library's classification system and an acute sense of detail. By keeping books shelved in call number order, they enable the students to find what they need more quickly.
In many cases, library media paraprofessionals order and process new library resources. They may work directly with vendors to place orders for new materials. And when new materials arrive, they may check the new materials in using the library's database or other system. Library media paraprofessionals may also create spine labels for the books, stamp the books with library identification, put barcodes and security strips in the materials, and even do basic cataloging of the book or other material. Library media paraprofessionals may also be responsible for keeping accurate student records, usually in the computer system.
Keeping the audio/visual equipment such as DVD and CD players, projectors, and microfilm readers operating smoothly is often the responsibility of the library media paraprofessional. Basic computer troubleshooting is another skill that has become increasingly necessary for library media paraprofessionals.
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Job Description of a Paraprofessional
Paraprofessionals---also known as teacher's aides, educational assistants, instructional assistants or para-educators---work in schools under the guidance of certified teachers. In January 2002,...