Library Assistant Skills (With Definition and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many institutions, such as schools and government organisations, employ library assistants to maintain their libraries and book catalogues that can contain thousands of books, manuscripts and other materials. The job of a library assistant can offer work-life balance, making it a popular career option amongst individuals who enjoy books. Understanding the skills that can be beneficial for a library assistant to have can enable you to become a better library assistant or to find a job as one more easily. In this article, we examine the skills that can benefit a library assistant and how to improve these skills and highlight them.

What are library assistant skills?

Library assistant skills are useful skills that can enable you to perform the duties and responsibilities of a library assistant more effectively. These skills include both hard and soft skills and improving them can potentially be beneficial for your career. Additionally, if you're an aspiring library assistant, honing your relevant skills might also increase your chances of getting a job offer for your desired role.

Related: What Does a Library Assistant Do? Roles and Responsibilities

Examples of library assistant skills

Being familiar with the different skills that library assistants can benefit from may enable you to understand and improve your own skills. Here are some skills that can generally be helpful for a library assistant to have:

Attention to detail

One of the primary duties that many library assistants have is to catalogue books and other material according to the classification system used by the library. Having excellent attention to detail skills are important for a library assistant to ensure books are catalogued correctly, as this ensures they can be found easily when searched for. Moreover, it can also help you sort books that have been returned and put them back in their correct locations more quickly.

Related: Effective Organisation (6 Key Steps to Achieving It)

Information technology

Many modern libraries use information systems in their operational processes. These systems may include cataloguing software that enables the library to track and organise its collection or automated borrowing systems to enable people to borrow books more easily. As a library assistant, being familiar with information technology can use this software effectively.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication skills can be beneficial for library assistants both when communicating with their team members and when communicating with visitors to the library. Being a strong communicator can enable you to convey information to others in a clear and effective way, preventing miscommunications from occurring. This skill can also cause the people you interact with to think that you're approachable and they may thus be more willing to talk to you.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Teamwork

In many libraries, library assistants rarely work individually. Instead, they work in teams that can comprise many librarians, assistants and even volunteers. Thus, being able to work effectively with others can help you avoid conflict with other members of the team. This enables you to work collaboratively with other members of the team to achieve your common goal for the benefit of the library.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Familiarity with relevant literature

The primary types of literature that a library has in its collection may vary depending on the library's purpose and target audience. Regardless, having some familiarity with the relevant types of literature can be beneficial for a library assistant. For example, a library assistant working in a university library might benefit from having a keen knowledge and understanding of the different types of academic literature and textbooks that the library has.

How to improve library assistant skills

Here are some steps that you can follow to improve your library assistant skills and become more effective at your job:

1. Identify skills to improve

To improve your skills as a library assistant, you can start by determining which of your existing skills you want to improve. One way that you can do this might be to gather feedback from colleagues and managers. Alternatively, you can also conduct feedback surveys for visitors to the library, asking them to provide anonymous feedback relating to their experiences. This can help you determine which of your skills may not be as good as the others.

2. Create an improvement plan

Once you're clear about the specific skills that you want to improve, you can then create an improvement plan. This plan can include several goals that you want to achieve and a list of steps you're going to take to accomplish these goals. When determining the goals for your improvement plan, it can also be beneficial to ensure that they're reasonably achievable and clearly defined. For example, if you want to improve your interpersonal communication skills, a possible goal you can have might be to improve customer feedback scores by 10%.

Additionally, it can also be helpful to have clear and well-defined steps. The steps that you choose to include in your plan can vary depending on whether you're trying to improve a hard skill or a soft skill. For example, to improve a soft skill like interpersonal communication, the steps you can take may include asking your colleagues to provide you with reminders on how to communicate better. In contrast, to improve a hard skill like information technology, you might be able to attend a training course to learn the basics of information technology.

3. Conduct periodic reviews

Finally, it can also be beneficial to conduct periodic reviews of your progress in achieving your goals and improving your skills. To do this, you can compare your performance for each skill over time using a constant metric. For example, you can use your peer evaluation score from your colleagues as a measure of your teamwork skills. Periodic reviews enable you to identify if you're improving and to find ways to further optimise your improvement plan for skills that you might not be improving.

Related: 23 Librarian Resume Objective Examples (With How to Guide)

Library assistant skills in the workplace

Here are some examples of how you might apply your relevant skills in the workplace as a library assistant:

  • Information technology: For example, the library that you work at may use a self-checkout system that enables visitors to borrow books without the help of a librarian. Being familiar with information technology can enable you to help visitors who may be unsure as to how to use this machine.

  • Interpersonal communication: Library assistants are typically one of the first library employees that a visitor may approach if they require help with anything pertaining to the library, such as locating a book. Being a strong communicator can help you provide information and assistance to visitors in a clear manner.

Related: How to Write a Librarian Resume (With Template and Example)

How to highlight library assistant skills

If you're an aspiring library assistant, highlighting your current skills can be beneficial in showing a potential employer that you're a suitable candidate and can help you get a job offer. Depending on the context, the way that you can highlight your relevant skills may differ. Here are some ways that you can highlight your skills:

1. Library assistant skills for a resume

One of the ways that you can highlight your relevant skills in your library assistant resume might be to include them in the skills section. When choosing which skills to include, it can be helpful to first analyse the job listing to see if the employer prefers their candidates to have any specific skills. This is because many employers use software to filter resumes depending on whether they contain certain keywords. These keywords often include skills and choosing the right skills to include in your resume can increase your chances of an employer shortlisting your resume.

Related: How to Write a Skills-Based Resume

2. Library assistant skills for a job interview

You can also highlight your relevant skills in a job interview by talking about how you used them in a previous role or a different context. For example, if you're applying for a library assistant job and only have prior experience as a cashier, you can talk about how you used your skills as a cashier. An employer might ask whether you have strong interpersonal skills. You might thus highlight your interpersonal skills by sharing how you provided excellent customer service as a cashier to achieve a high number of return customers.

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