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Fanwood Memorial Library Policy Manual
Section: Personnel

Subject: 4.3 Job Descriptions
Subject: 4.3.4 Principal Library Assistant

Principal Library Assistant

Under the general direction and supervision of the Library Director and the Children’s Department Supervising Librarian, the Principal Library Assistant performs paraprofessional, nonprofessional and/or technical duties of considerable difficulty in one or more areas. Service results from a general assignment, and the employee must devise ways of accomplishing the work and the sequence of operations. (S)he may either personally carry out the work and/or issue assignments and instructions to other personnel. Completed assignments are reviewed primarily for overall effectiveness and compliance with general policies and procedures. The Principal Library Assistant must keep the director and children’s librarian informed of Library needs, and make recommendations in matters of operations and policy and perform related work as required.

The Principal Library Assistant position includes evening and Saturday hours as assigned, and the specific duties detailed below will be shared and/or divided between the two employees as assigned.

1. Common Core Services: The Principal Library Assistants shall

  • Understand all aspects of, be responsible for, and perform all general Library operations including both adult and children’s services daily operations.
  • Oversee Library operations in the absence of the supervising librarian.
  • Assist all patrons, including adults, young adults, children and their parents, in identifying age-appropriate, desired materials and resources to satisfy information needs.
  • Interact with, advise, and assist patrons with all available Library resources to satisfy their information requests. Answer patrons’ inquiries pertaining to Library hours, various Library computer systems, physical location of Library materials, etc. Explain to, and train patrons in the use of basic index systems, OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogs), the Internet, etc.
  • Supervise and perform all aspects of circulation activities. Charge and discharge Library material to users. Compute and collect fines, make change and inspect materials for damage.
  • Review Library membership applications for completeness and record changes in such information.
  • Process interLibrary loan requests, reserve requests, overdue fines and fees.
  • Work as liaison with other area libraries regarding matters related to reciprocal borrowing agreements.
  • Follow established policies and procedures with responsibility for revising work methods.
  • or processes to increase efficiency, issue assignments and train support personnel.
  • Perform reference duties as able – redirect to other reference resources when necessary.
  • Compile numerical reports on circulation, acquisitions and other aspects of Library operations.
  • Have and/or develop necessary technical computer skills and general understanding related to specialized Library integrated systems (circulation, OPAC, processing, etc.). Strive toward proficiency in other computer activities including, but not limited to basic troubleshooting, general word processing, database searching and online skills related to the Internet.
  • Keep abreast of, and be conversant with new and existing technologies involved in Library operations and management, including (but not limited to) the Internet, CD-ROM, databases, and other PC based applications and services.
  • Promote positive and effective communication with the public.
  • Promote maximum use of the Library collection and facilities, and maintain a commitment to customer service.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

2. Other Responsibilities:

  • General Circulation Desk activities, including scheduling, developing and maintaining policy.
  • Materials selection and collection development in assigned areas.
  • Materials processing, cataloging, linking, etc.
  • Development and presentation of programs.
  • Bookkeeping: Vouchers, Invoices, Tracking of Daily Fines & Budget.
  • Liaison with vendors.
  • Order and maintain necessary supplies for processing materials, Library computers, general office use, and general janitorial use.
  • Page Scheduling and Supervision.
  • Mail Sorting & Routing.
  • Periodical Control.
  • Tracking of Daily Statistics.
  • Banking (deposit of fine money, etc., with regular frequency).
  • Post Office (purchasing stamps, handling outgoing mail, etc).
  • Overseeing and tracking Comet delivery service.

3. Personal Development

  • Shall attend paraprofessional meetings, seminars, workshops and training sessions, and network with peers.
  • Shall prepare annual self-evaluation and goals in preparation of annual review of performance.

4. Education and/or Experience Requirements

  • A practical knowledge of Library functions, services, terminology, techniques, procedures and standard tools (classification, cataloging, shelving, circulation systems, etc.) is desirable. The ability to use a computer to access and input information is required. Must have excellent written and oral communication skills. A bachelor's degree is desirable but not required.

5. Knowledge: The Principal Library Assistants shall have knowledge of

  • Basic arithmetic.
  • Standard library reference tools (encyclopedias, periodicals, atlas, readers guide, etc.).
  • Dewey Decimal Classification System.
  • Computer software and hardware.

6. The Principal Library Assistant shall be able to

  • Read, write, speak and understand English sufficiently to perform the duties of this position.
  • Speak clearly, concisely and courteously.
  • Perform extensive alphabetical filing beyond the initial letter of a word.
  • Perform numerical filing beyond the initial digit of a sequence of figures.
  • Issue assignments, instruct and train support staff.


Board of Trustees
Approved: June 8, 2009
Revised: February 8, 2016


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