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Working in a library


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#1 Bono25

Posted 13 March 2020 - 08:48 AM

How do you get a job in a library?

I have this romantic thought of how nice it would be to work in a library and spend the day putting books away.  I know this is probably so far from reality that it's not funny, but I was wondering about how you'd go about it.  I know there are uni degrees to be a head librarian, and I'm not sure if I'm looking for that much. Just something calmer than where I am!

#2 Lunafreya

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:01 AM

You apply through council websites. They’re very competative, even with people who gave library qualifications.

#3 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:02 AM

Dunno, but I'd be going to your local library and making friends with the librarians! You could even ask them how they got their jobs. Looking obviously keen really does help :)

#4 CrankyM

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:19 AM

Library jobs are hard to get. You need some sort of experience or qualifications and even then most people tend to stay in the job until they die or retire.

In saying that my work has been advertising for a library technician for 3 week and only gotten 2 responses. Sigh.

(Also I don’t put away books most of the time. I spend most of my time cleaning up catalog data in preparation for moving to a new library management system, teaching students how to research and use our electronic resources, how to reference correctly, process readings for lecturers to make sure they comply with copyright and then upload them to a blackboard library, track down obscure articles and books for people and even some that aren’t obscure, track usage data to fight for budgets, order books... and a few other things. I’m an academic librarian though.)

#5 CrankyM

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:21 AM

You could do some volunteer work with your local library. Even one of our campuses has volunteer library assistants who come in and reshelve books and similar.

A diploma in library and information services will qualify you as a library technician.

#6 kimasa

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:33 AM

Public librarian here.

There is a lot of variation in who works in a library.

You have your librarians and library technicians, these are qualified people with very specific (and probably obvious) roles.

Then you have administration roles and IT roles.

Then you have your customer service positions. The position title varies from service to service, but customer service officer, library officer and library page are probably the three most common terms.

Availability of positions varies from council to council. Some public libraries attract "lifers", some churn through staff.

To find advertised positions they're usually on Seek under "education and training" or on the ALIA website.

If you do apply for a position I cannot stress enough highlighting customer service skills, because that's really the bones of the unqualified positions. I've interviewed people who waxed lyrical about their love of books, which is great, but that's not what the job is, the job is primarily customer service.

Edited by kimasa, 13 March 2020 - 09:33 AM.


#7 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:33 AM

There are library technician courses (tafe).  I have a couple of friends who work in libraries but jobs are few and far between.

There are opportunities as specialist librarians if you have additional knowledge (for example some mining companies have their own library, law libraries etc)

Public library jobs are becoming more and more about adding value to the public - eg story time, teaching IT, local history etc.  So good IT skills help as well as good customer service.

Kimasa who is on here is a librarian.  I enjoy her annecdotes - they make me chuckle as its very similar to what my friend who works in a public library tells me.

#8 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:47 AM

Don't discount bookstore jobs as well. I worked in one for 4 years during and after uni. The big ones you can move into buying from the book reps. Part from serving customers at the till, a lot of my job was unpacking boxes of books, pricing them, putting books away and cleaning shelves. Add the " there's this book which is green and has a dog in it" questions for variety.

#9 MooGuru

Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:02 AM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 13 March 2020 - 09:47 AM, said:

Don't discount bookstore jobs as well. I worked in one for 4 years during and after uni. The big ones you can move into buying from the book reps. Part from serving customers at the till, a lot of my job was unpacking boxes of books, pricing them, putting books away and cleaning shelves. Add the " there's this book which is green and has a dog in it" questions for variety.

"I'm after a book. My friend recommended it. It has a man in it."
"In the title?"
"No." Glares at me like I'm an idiot. "In the book."

#10 kimasa

Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:16 AM

"You know that book that was in that magazine?"
"Which magazine?"
"I don't remember"
...
...
...
"It was about a year ago"

#11 CrankyM

Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:24 AM

It’s blue. I remember definitely it’s blue. And maybe has a tree on the cover. It was on display anyway...
Oh when?
Oh a year ago...

#12 jojonbeanie

Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:24 AM

If you are interested in a qualification in library studies there is a list of accredited courses on the ALIA website. The diploma level course will give you a great foundation for your career. Lots of customer service roles in libraries are held by people who are working through their course part-time. All insitutions offer off-campus studies.

https://www.alia.org...-qualifications

#13 Bono25

Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:37 AM

View PostMooGuru, on 13 March 2020 - 10:02 AM, said:

"I'm after a book. My friend recommended it. It has a man in it."
"In the title?"
"No." Glares at me like I'm an idiot. "In the book."

Haha, I don't think I could work in a bookstore. I think I'd turn into Bernard from Black Books lol

#14 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 13 March 2020 - 11:47 AM

View Postkimasa, on 13 March 2020 - 10:16 AM, said:

"You know that book that was in that magazine?"
"Which magazine?"
"I don't remember"
...
...
...
"It was about a year ago"

Haha like IT.   'I got this pop up message on my computer saying something about installing something, what should I do?'

Can you remember what it wanted to install?
Oh cant remember
which operating system?  
'whats an operating system? '
what were you doing at the time
'cant remember sorry'
Were you on a web page?
I don't know
Do you have an anti virus program?
Whats that?

usually followed by 'Oh can you ask one of the men you work with, dear, they will know what to do'

Edited by Backtoschoolchef, 13 March 2020 - 11:54 AM.


#15 Lunafreya

Posted 13 March 2020 - 11:51 AM

My favourite is
“My computer isn’t working”

#16 kimasa

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:02 PM

"Your stupid self service machine isn't working, it won't accept my card"
*Shoves card up the receipt slot*
"Sir, that's where the receipt comes out from"
"WELL THAT'S HOW I ALWAYS USE IT, AND IT ALWAYS WORKS"


Call me crazy, but I really don't believe that.

#17 MooGuru

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:05 PM

I wonder if reading this thread is discouraging the OP from entering the book working world?

#18 kadoodle

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:08 PM

“Scuse me, but you have a book that’s six months overdue and you’ll need to return it before you can borrow again.”
“But I haven’t read it yet.”

Yay for uni students.

#19 kimasa

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:51 PM

"There's a book showing on my account and I've never seen it before in my life"
"Okay, let's have a look, which one?"
"Ruby the Red Fairy"
"That's one of the Daisy Meadows books"
"I don't know what that is"
"The Rainbow Magic fairies"
"Nope"
"There's hundreds of them"
"No, I've never borrowed them"
"Your loans history has lots of them on there"
"No"
"They're kids books"
"No"
"Okay, I'll take it off your card"

5 minutes later

"Wait, is that Ruby book one of those fairy books?"
"Yes"
"Oh, that's in my car"

#20 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:55 PM

Kimasa that last example is probably me at the moment! So sleep deprived I’ve got no idea about anything much at all.

#21 CrankyM

Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:59 PM

View Postkadoodle, on 13 March 2020 - 01:08 PM, said:

“Scuse me, but you have a book that’s six months overdue and you’ll need to return it before you can borrow again.”
“But I haven’t read it yet.”

Yay for uni students.

Oh I need you to put this one blackboard. *sends scanned copy of the ENTIRE textbook*
"I'm sorry, but due to copyright you can only scan 10% or 1 chapter for educational purposes." - what I say

"Dear lecturer, just so you know as per every single semester you can not provide a copy of an entire book scanned for your students to use. It violates copy right. I've told you this, every single semester for the last 3 years. What sort of academic is basically encouraging violating someones damn intellectual property right..." - what I want to say

Oh and here is a winner.

"I can't get onto the computer. It's not working. Why isn't it working? I have to hand in assignment?"
"Have you tried turning it on?

Or
"Why don't you have this as an ebook? I can get it on amazon for $89."
"because we don't use Amazon and our vendor doesn't produce that textbook for libraries to access."
"But I can buy it, why can't you?"
"Because it involved third party platforms and the publisher allowing for a licence agreenment."
"But it's on amazon."
*looks up book on our vendor platform. And shows it to client*
"Just so you know, IF we did buy this book as an ebook it would cost $892US. Therefore the library has made the decision to purchase 2 copies in print. Because we have limited budgets."
"But I can buy it on amazon."

Edited by CrankyM, 13 March 2020 - 02:00 PM.


#22 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:12 PM

Jokes aside. My friend did a library tech course through tafe, did some relief work and work experience at school libraries before finally getting a permanent part time job at a school library.

Her biggest issue is with the principal really, constantly expecting the techs to do more and more for the same pay, and not replacing shifts, etc.

She likes the job though and likes being permanent part time.


Now for the jokes. If in doubt, ask Margaret.

https://www.dailymot...om/video/x4n10h


#23 Bono25

Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:28 PM

View PostMooGuru, on 13 March 2020 - 01:05 PM, said:

I wonder if reading this thread is discouraging the OP from entering the book working world?

Nope, it sounds like a cross between Black bikes and the it crowd!!

#24 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:59 PM

View Post22Fruitmincepies, on 13 March 2020 - 01:55 PM, said:

Kimasa that last example is probably me at the moment! So sleep deprived I’ve got no idea about anything much at all.

I may have accidently returned a school library book to the public library. :ninja:   Apologies to the library staff.  I check more carefully now

#25 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 13 March 2020 - 05:04 PM

View PostCrankyM, on 13 March 2020 - 01:59 PM, said:


"Why don't you have this as an ebook? I can get it on amazon for $89."
"because we don't use Amazon and our vendor doesn't produce that textbook for libraries to access."
"But I can buy it, why can't you?"
"Because it involved third party platforms and the publisher allowing for a licence agreenment."
"But it's on amazon."
*looks up book on our vendor platform. And shows it to client*
"Just so you know, IF we did buy this book as an ebook it would cost $892US. Therefore the library has made the decision to purchase 2 copies in print. Because we have limited budgets."
"But I can buy it on amazon."

A lot of software is similar - free for personal use but $$$$$ for businesses. Staff don't understand this and request it for business-owned computers.




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