Katie, Library Assistant

Katie tells us about her career journey as a Library Assistant.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, I am Katie, Mum of two grown up children, lover of all things crafty, into wild swimming, books and owner to a cute Dachshund called Penny.

What inspired you to become a Library Assistant?

I had previously worked very happily for Surrey Libraries for 12 years, only leaving to pursue a change of career, but after 5 years and a house move, I realised my first love was the Library Service and I could not wait to come back. Now living outside of Surrey, I have been extremely fortunate to find a job for West Sussex Libraries.

Why did you choose to work for West Sussex?

I had heard good things about the West Sussex library service and live locally to a great branch and when a job vacancy came up, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is the best thing about being a Library Assistant at West Sussex?

That no two days are the same! For example, one day you might be asked to help find books that will support a school project or assist someone else in opening a document via their email. Another day, search for an author's latest book and the correct order that they are written in, or print off a local map to a visitor exploring!

What do you particularly enjoy about working in the libraries team?

That you get to work alongside fantastic, like-minded people. Support your local community, by being right in the heart of it. And of course, surrounding yourself with glorious books and having all that knowledge at your fingertips.

How does West Sussex support you to develop and progress?

I am extremely fortunate to be in the perfect position of not needing to progress, working part-time, and happy with my current position, but I know that my colleagues are supported with their career development paths and goals.
We are supported by our line manager in implementing any changes required, along with the correct training procedures. We have our own monthly training spreadsheet, which we undertake and complete.

Is there a particular case or something about your work here that makes you feel proud?

We help people every day with a multitude of enquiries, from how to reserve a book to help them attach a document to an email, but one that stands out recently is to assist a borrower to find a local history book regarding the area of Midhurst and subsequently helping her photocopy a picture of her younger self taken from the book! It bought back lovely memories for her and was equally gratifying for me to see her so happy.

What would you say are the challenges of being a Library Assistant?

The public are overall wonderful, but very occasionally, as with any customer facing role, you get a borrower that might be having a difficult day!

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book of all time is ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, but I am currently in love with 'Hamnet' by Maggie O’Farrell.

If there is one myth you could bust about being a Library Assistant, what would it be?

Library Assistants are not the ogres of old childlike memories. We are much more approachable than you imagine and very rarely ‘shhh’ anyone, waspishly looking over the top of our spectacles.

What would you say to somebody considering joining us?

Go on give it a go! If you love helping people, being part of your local community, enjoy books and learning this is the job for you.

Last updated:
27 June 2023
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