I’m not a librarian but I work in a library; so what is it that I actually do?

Contrary to popular belief, no I do not sit around reading books all day.

I help with the general running of the library, doing things such as helping users check out and return borrowed items, collecting fine payments, shelving items in the correct locations, helping users locate items, answering simple library enquiries like How can I find a book? and referring them to the librarians for more in-depth help.

I also update all the notices in the library, for example making sure that only current posters are on display, and help to tidy the shelves and maintain the appearance of the library.

Working at the welcome desk: Can I help you?

Beyond my immediate duties, I am involved in a couple of groups to work on other projects; I help to plan our annual Staff Development Day, for example, and I’m a member of our internal marketing and communications team, which involves creating marketing campaigns to promote library services to our users.

I have found that there are many ways to get more involved in our institution; it would be very easy to just stay within the realms of my job description, but I prefer to seek out challenges and seize opportunities to work with different departments or colleagues from the other campus libraries.

I have recently started, for example, to work occasionally at a different library within our institution, to widen my experience, and I regularly write articles for our weekly internal magazine.

Things are always changing, so a big part of my job is to keep up to date with relevant information that affects our library users. This could be learning about new digital resources and services, physical campus changes, or changes in library guidelines; for example, last year we implemented an automatic renewals system and next year we will have a new library management system.

I should add that I work part-time, during semester only, so I am actually only in the library two days a week during term-time. The rest of the time I am a stay-at-home dad, taking care of my two young children.

For now its a great balance as I navigate parenting and working. I am thankful for the flexibility that my job allows; it would be very difficult to manage family life without it.