Senior Library Assistant - Academic Services - 96695 - Band 400

Expiring today

University of Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
£20,235.00 - £26,274.00
Mar 11, 2021
Apr 11, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Part Time
Position Details

Academic Services

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Starting salary is normally in the range £20,235 to £21,598. With potential progression once in post to £26,274 a year.

Band 400

Part Time

Monday to Friday, 10:00am - 16:00pm (15 minute break)

Fixed Term Contract until 31st July 2021

Closing date - 3rd February 2021

Job Summary

The postholder is part of a team of Senior Library Assistants who undertake a range of defined and generic duties linked to a functional area of operation (detailed below). All postholders, regardless of functional area, will:

• Act as a key point for effective and professional communication with the full range of library customers (both internal and external), using judgement and knowledge of library systems, processes and procedures in answering queries and handling issues from initial contact to resolution.
• Deal with user enquiries that may involve one to one support.
• Act as the escalation point and source of advice for Library Assistants on the complex and specialised skills /equipment provided by the library, and have knowledge of the wider support mechanisms available within Academic Services.
• Use initiative and take responsibility for the service / buildings at times when more senior staff are not present, for example, at times in the evenings and weekends on a rota basis.
• Plan and prioritise their own workload (including forward planning, typically for weeks and months ahead) and supervise the work of others, including Library Assistants, as required
• Have knowledge of and understand how to access and utilise student support systems available within the University to resolve student issues.

Functional areas

Enquiry Services provides frontline student, researcher and academic support via the utilisation of a range of specialist library resources such as FIND IT; Just ASK, the Library Management System, alongside bibliographic, fulltext and e-book database platforms to aid users in their academic endeavours.

Stock and Circulation provides mediated and controlled access to an extensive range of materials held within the Research Reserve area of the main library, and ensures loanable items returned to the library are processed and returned into circulation for end users.

Front of House provides the initial customer interaction point for users of the library. Postholders working in this area answer complex queries relating to the range of services provided by the Library and other student support services.

Main Duties

All Senior Library Assistants will have a number of generic functions:

Provide support to library users by:

• Supporting library procedures for borrowing, renewing, returning and reserving information resources; dealing with more complex queries referred to them, including library account enquiries, charges, lost and damaged loans, requests for additional or extended loans.

• Ensuring that services, spaces and facilities provided within the libraries are well maintained and that they are clearly signposted and navigable within the building and in printed and online resources; proactively identifying, and without reference to others, reporting building maintenance, security, health and safety issues to the Facilities Co-ordinator or other appropriate colleagues.

• Supporting and delivering customer relationship activity such as surveys, feedback channels and customer events.

• Making interventions relating to noise, eating, incident reporting and lost property, and identifying appropriate referral routes for students in academic or physical/ mental distress

• Providing assistance with navigation in the buildings, the use of facilities and appointments with staff working in the building; library equipment support.

• Assisting with user education programmes for library customers and helping to promote the University and the library to visitors and potential students, for example, by conducting library tours.

• Assisting with the training of colleagues within Library Customer Support, for example, by assisting with the induction of new staff, by participating in training programmes and by supporting Library Support Assistants and casual staff within the team.

Working as part of a team:

• On a rota basis Senior Library Assistants will ensure that the evening and weekend service runs smoothly when Assistant Managers are not present by:
o Coordinating the work of Band 300 colleagues, with particular attention to handling queries and transactions.
o Handling difficult situations (such as unhappy library users, security alerts, fire evacuations etc.).
o Liaising as necessary with University Security and with agency security staff working in the library.
o Contacting senior Library Services staff as necessary for guidance.
o Undertaking handover to agency security staff during 24/7 opening and supervising opening and closing routines at other times.
o Maintaining cash levels and supervising cash handling procedures.
o Reporting back to the relevant Assistant Managers and informing them of issues and problems which have arisen (or could arise) during evening and weekends.

• All Senior Library Assistants are expected to participate in rotas which enable Library Customer Support to provide staffed services during advertised opening hours. This may include working outside core hours (e.g. evenings, weekends and University closed days/bank holidays), both within their usual team and, where necessary, in other teams within Library Customer Support.

• All post holders are expected to present a smart, professional image and to wear University ID at all times.

• All postholders will undertake other duties as required, commensurate with the grading of the post, to support the delivery of Library Services.

Working independently:

• Post holders are expected to work proactively and to identify priorities within their own workload to ensure services are delivered in a timely and efficient manner.

Post holders will be deployed to one of the following Functional Areas. On occasion colleagues will be required to work in a different functional area to support the delivery of service.

Front of House:

• Welcoming library users and providing directions to appropriate facilities and services; registering new users and visitors to the library; answering queries regarding access control, membership, room booking, visitor day pass systems and handling issues from initial contact to resolution; providing information regarding other University facilities and events which are taking place on campus; making appropriate referrals to colleagues within and beyond Library Services.

• Maintaining records of external members of Library Services; undertaking clerical routines relating to reciprocal access schemes, corresponding with registered external users regarding membership renewal; updating publications and information regarding external access to the University's libraries.

• Ensuring the Training Suite rooms, and other spaces where appropriate, are all well maintained and prepared in readiness for events; checking layouts of furniture, ensuring IT equipment is in place and reporting problems which require the attention of colleagues in IT Services and other teams; supporting events and ensuring a high quality customer experience.

Enquiry Services

• Supporting researchers, students and staff to gain maximum benefit from the extensive range of physical and electronic resources managed by the Library. This will be achieved by utilising a range of enquiry management skills to understand the need of the user, providing initial advice in relation to different information resources that are appropriate to the user's needs and advising on the relevant search techniques that the user may wish to use.

•Explaining library procedures for borrowing, reserving and requesting information resources and identifying improvements to workflows to ensure service quality is continually improved.

• Providing support with basic/intermediate first line IT enquiries relating to password self-service system, printing, WIFI, email, Canvas, cluster PCs.

• Undertaking appropriate referral to specialists within Library Services and other teams. Handling and signposting requests for support in use of the Library or of information resources (for example, from users with disabilities, or those requiring additional skills support).

Stock and Circulation:

• Staffing the reception desk in the Allport Room; welcoming library users who need to use this facility, giving them access to material they have requested from the Reserve, maintaining a safe and appropriate study environment in the Room, offering assistance with copying, scanning and printing, answering queries about resources and facilities relating to the Research Reserve.

• Mediating access for library users who need to browse and consult material in situ on the shelves in the Research Reserve; checking that their requirements can be fulfilled by providing consultation access within the Allport Room or by supplying material for loan or use within the main library; ensuring that those wishing to browse the Reserve collections are fully briefed on health and safety and access arrangements; maintaining a record of those who have entered the Research Reserve and ensuring that the area has been completely vacated by closing time of the service.

• Providing an out-loans service by checking the availability of materials requested and working with Collections Assistants to retrieve material from within the libraries ( including the Research Reserve).

• Ensuring such requests are compliant with copyright / other laws / restrictions and communicating any breaches to the requester, proactively identifying alternative solutions outlined.

• Supporting the work of the Collections Assistants in the team; ensuring that material returned via the sortation system is re-shelved in accordance with agreed targets, dealing with queries and material which cannot be handled by the Collections Assistants, organising the repair and tidying of material held on the open shelves in the Main Library.

Person Specification


• Two A levels or an equivalent qualification or substantial equivalent experience in a relevant / comprable environment.

Skills and experience:

• Substantial practical experience of customer support.
• Good numeracy, literacy and classification skills with excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
• Comprehensive knowledge, understanding and the ability to use complex and specialist processes (e.g. for main library stock reserve) and systems (e.g. British Library System, sortation system).
• Ability to act as the escalation point and source of advice for Library Assistants on many different specialist processes, IT systems and databases.
• Ability to work with accuracy to required standards and deadlines and to demonstrate attention to detail.
• Good organisational skills with the ability to plan own work and that of others.
• Demonstrable ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
• Proven ability to work reliably and flexibly in a busy environment, preferably in a Library or in a busy customer focused environment.
• Excellent and demonstrable customer service skills.
• Experience of receiving and resolving customer enquiries and the ability and willingness to adopt a friendly customer orientated approach in a busy service environment.
• Experience of prioritising activities and working independently.
• Good communication skills including the ability to ensure action or acceptance by a colleague or customer by listening to and understanding another person's request or perspective, influencing, and providing a well reasoned response.


• Good IT literacy including Microsoft office and on line systems. In addition, the ability and willingness to further develop skills in this area and to learn and adapt to new technologies.
• Knowledge and substantial practical experience of using many different specialist processes, IT systems (e.g. library management systems or equivalent) and databases (e.g. for catalogue systems)

Planning and organising

While advice is available, most of the postholder's work will be completed independently. The postholder is responsible for managing their own time, planning/anticipating and prioritising their workload to meet deadlines (typically for weeks and months ahead), ensuring that they meet both the required standard of service and its continuity. As part of this they will balance the need for accurate and professional work with meeting targets.

Problem solving and decision making

i) Without reference to others the postholder will
a. Act as a key communication point, handling queries from Library Services colleagues or from University staff, students and external library users, from initial contact to resolution.
b. Assess and analyse problems and identify solutions from experience, precedent or training, for example, sorting out problems and liaising with colleagues in other parts of the University as appropriate.

ii) After consulting with others the postholder will
a. Deal with complex issues without received practice or precedent arising from allocated responsibilities which need the assistance of a more experienced or professionally qualified team member;
b. Discuss with their line manager and, if appropriate, assist with the implementation of any suggestions for improvement or amendment to the work of Library Services.

iii) Or that would be referred to someone else
a. Changes in policy in any of the above procedures

Internal and external relationships

• The postholder will establish and maintain constructive working relationships with other team members and colleagues across Library Services, communicating effectively and professionally with individuals at all levels.
• The postholder will ensure that they understand a colleague's or customer's perspective and requests, provide them with well-reasonsed responses and thus enable Library Assistants, students, academic staff and other customers to follow advice, for example, on literature searches, intervening to support a student in distress),
• The postholder will act as a key point for effective and professional communication for library customers (including University staff, students, external library users and library suppliers), answering queries and handing issues from initial contact to resolution.

Informal enquiries can be made to Deborah Munro -

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

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