You can turn your passion for reading or hanging around the library into something worthwhile by applying for a library assistant position. This job does not require any higher education qualification or solid working experience, making it one of the easiest to land. However, the interviewer will have to ascertain that you have excellent communication skills and the needed passion.
This article will look at a few questions that you should expect in a library assistant interview. You will mostly be asked personal and situational questions to help the interviewer understand your readiness for the job and attitude towards different situations.
Take a look at the following:
1. Why are You Interested in this Role?
You are definitely conversant with this opening question if you have been attending interviews. The interviewer either wants to get you talking or is using this question as a foundation for others to follow. All in all, make sure that your reason for applying for this position convinces the interviewer that you will be a good addition to the library’s workforce.
I love reading. I spend most of my time in the library, either studying or researching. I can use this passion to positively contribute to the library by helping others in their quest for knowledge. I have everything needed to be a good library assistant and won’t fail you if given a chance.
2. What are the Roles of a Library Assistant?
Do you know some of your mandates in this position? This question is normally asked to ascertain if you know what will be expected of you. Luckily, there are two ways of answering it. You can either mention some of the library assistant’s mandates in your former workplace or stick to the job description if offered. Just ensure that you mention job-related roles.
A library assistant’s main duty is to help administer and organize the library. They ensure that library visitors find the right materials, procure interlibrary loans, and enter their names in the library card. They may also undertake any other duty as captured in the job description. ( Only mention the last part if you have not seen the job description yet)
3. What are the Qualities that a Library Assistant Needs to be Effective?
Do you know some of the attributes, skills, abilities, and behaviors exuded by a competent library assistant? The interviewer wants to see if you understand what it takes to be a high achiever in this field. Mention some of the qualities that you believe will make you a good library assistant.
A library assistant should have excellent research, written communication, and critical thinking skills, owing to the special nature of the job. Other qualities include computer and internet literacy, high adaptability, attention to detail, and excellent organization skills. ( Remember, these are just the main ones. You can mention any that we haven’t captured. Just make sure that you can relate them to the job if asked)
4. Mention a Challenge that You Faced in Your Last Role and How You Solved It
You must be a good problem solver if you intend to be a good library assistant. This is a competency-based question to determine if you can indeed find solutions to problems you will face in your line of work.
I realized that the library was still using ancient methods to record and make entries when lending out books. The former librarian would physically write down these books in a small register, full of the lender’s details. This later became overwhelming, and I soon convinced the library manager that we could use scannable bar codes and an e-register to make entries, as these would save us time and help reduce paperwork. He saw sense in what I suggested and made the right changes.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine
What do you do daily in your line of work? Can you establish a chronological order of activities from the moment you come to work and leave? This will be a lot easier if you have ever been a library assistant before. If not, do your research and get to know some of the daily activities of these individuals.
As a library assistant, I get to work early, organize the shelves and make entries, if any. I then spend the rest of the day helping customers locate books and find online materials, sort and shelve books based on their categorization, check books in and out of the front desk and register new customers. I also maintain and update their profiles.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
What have you been doing in your career/ life that relates to this profession? Do you have any valuable experience that will make you a good library assistant?
Do not freak out if you do not have any valuable experience as a library assistant since this job does not necessarily need you to. You can turn this around and instead sell yourself.
I do not have any valuable experience as a library assistant and cannot, therefore, talk about a specific time. However, I am a vivid reader and a keen researcher, which will greatly help me in this field. I also have excellent organization and data entry skills, which will make me a good addition to your library’s workforce.
7. Mention a Strategy and Mindset Needed for This Role
When asked about a strategy, the interviewer expects you to mention any successful modes of operation or way of doing things specific to this job. As for the mindset, the interviewer is asking you about a guiding perspective that will help you execute your roles. Make sure that you can shed more light if asked.
A strategy that I have found to be useful in this job is maintaining a high level of organization and upholding excellent customer service standards since this job revolves around these two. As for the right mindset, one should have an open mind and willingness to learn. Remember, you can only be a good library assistant if you are knowledgeable.
8. What is the Main Challenge that You Foresee in This Role?
Can you identify some potential challenges that you expect in this job? Remember, the interviewer expects you to have conducted some level of research and identified areas that may be problematic, be it in the job description, workplace, or from the desired customer base. However, be careful not to mention a potential challenge that will leave the interviewer thinking you are incompetent.
This is my first shot at this job, and therefore, I might take some time to get used to the processes and intricacies involved. However, I am a first leaner willing to channel all efforts towards getting better every day.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Job?
What keeps you going? Sitting around in the library, organizing books, and helping people move around can be quite hectic. You will probably experience burnouts, which you have to deal with. Therefore, tell the interviewer how you always manage to overlook all the challenges associated with this job.
I love being around the library and help people gain knowledge. I believe that this passion overpowers any problem that I may face in my line of work, even though it gets exhausting at times. I also reflect on the good times I have had as a library assistant whenever I face challenges, which give me the rejuvenation I need to get up and keep going.
10. Mention a Time that You Failed and the Lesson You Learnt
This is a common interview question asked by interviewers in almost all job positions. It may either test your accountability or ability to learn from your mistakes and make necessary changes. Either way, mention a valuable experience, most probably in your first days as a library assistant.
A library manager once saw my passion for reading and the hours I spent in the library and suggested that I become an assistant. I, therefore, accepted the job without any prior experience. During my first week, I decided to re-arrange the library in a way that I deemed fit, which caused lots of confusion and made regular customers mad. This experience taught me always to consult and look at the bigger picture before executing ideas.
11. What do You Understand by Excellent Customer Service in the Library Setting?
The interviewer wants to know your definition of excellent customer service in your line of work. Your answer should depict a deep understanding of what it is and a willingness to uphold such standards in your place of work.
My definition of great customer service is greeting people with a smile, listening and attending to their needs, offering help whenever they struggle with something, and being polite all through the engagement. I also believe that knowing the readers and even going a step ahead to recommend books matching their taste is excellent customer service.
12. This is a Repetitive Job. How Will You Ensure that You Give Your Best Each Day?
The roles of a library assistant are similar day in, day out. You will stay in the same setting and perform the same tasks throughout the week. The interviewer must therefore ascertain that the repetitive nature of this job will not affect your work. Convince the interviewer that you can get better at your job Each passing day.
I mostly prefer a repetitive job. I love it when I own my life and know what needs to be done when I wake up and go to sleep. I am not interested in dealing with new challenges at the moment and will therefore find better ways of handling the same duty every day.
13. Your CV Says that You Love Reading. Which Books are You Reading at the Moment?
You cannot work in the library if you do not love reading. Your preferred genre rarely matters at this point. You can either be a fiction, memoir, journal, or psychology books lover, provided that you are reading something. Make sure that you show some enthusiasm when mentioning the books you are currently reading to convince the interviewer that you enjoy reading.
I am reading quite a number of books at the moment. I am almost done with the Caucasian Chalk Circle, The River and the Source, and The Animal Farm, which I have found extremely enjoyable. ( You don’t have to mention so many books. Even one is enough)
14. How Would You Handle a Situation Where two Patrons are Making Noise for the Others?
Can you bring order and calmness to the library? Remember, the library needs to be calm at all times unless you have a special interview with a writer. Convince the interviewer that you will handle this situation professionally and avoid shouting, which will cause even more noise.
I will intervene immediately by going to their table and politely ask them to keep quiet or converse outside the library. However, I will call the library security officer to intervene if they do not.
15. Have You Encountered a Hostile or Aggressive Patron? How Do You Normally Deal with Such?
This is yet another situational question that seeks to determine how you would go about your job as a library assistant. Your answer should be professional with no hints of heroism. Do not say that you will eject the person from the premises even if you are strong enough.
I have dealt with aggressive patrons before. In such instances, I normally call the security guard if any of the police if no guard is available. However, I also ensure that I do not make them more aggressive and avoid any physical altercation.
16. You Haven’t Worked as a Library Assistant Before. Why Now?
The interviewer simply wants to know why you would like to work as a library assistant despite the lengthy wording of the question. Being a library assistant is not as exciting, and therefore, you must have a good reason. Use this chance to sell yourself snd convince the interviewer that you can make a good library assistant.
I love reading, meaning that I will get to enjoy my work as a library assistant. I also love connecting with patrons, the job’s low stress level, and the steady working hours library assistants get. I am convinced that I will make a good assistant.
17. What Would You Do to Promote Reading in Your Local Community if Given this Job?
This is a common question, especially in public library interviews. The interviewer wants to know how you would instill a reading culture and get people interested in books. Mention a realistic approach or means.
I believe that one of the surest ways of promoting habits is by giving incentives. To encourage reading in the local community, I will liaise with the library manager and create a budget for gifts for readers who meet a certain threshold. I will also lead public awareness campaigns on the importance of reading and having a reliable reading culture.
18. Describe an Excellent Library Assistant
What’s your definition of an excellent library assistant? What are some of the qualities that make an amazing assistant, according to you? You need to be careful when answering this question since it tells the type of library assistant you will be.
I believe that an excellent library assistant understands his/her patrons and their tastes, to the point of going the extra mile to recommend books. One should also have excellent customer service and the ability to instill calmness in the library.
19. Take a Look around the Library. What Improvements Would You Make?
This is a question seeking to determine if you are good at this job. Can you identify an area that needs some work just by glancing at the library? Make sure that you do not talk ill of a section or program that the library holds dear, or you will come off as condescending, which may cost you the job.
I wouldn’t change much in this library. I love the way you have arranged your books. However, given that one of your missions is to promote positive reading culture in children, you should set their books in a place that makes them easily accessible.
20. What Do You Perceive to be Your Biggest Weakness When it Comes to Such a Job?
This tricky question can water down the good show you have put up in the interview. Therefore be careful when answering it. You can either deny having a major weakness or talk about a weakness that will not impact your work as a library assistant.
I do not think I have any significant weakness that may negatively impact my work as a library assistant. However, I am willing to improve if any that may hinder my performance comes up during the job.
These are but a few questions that you will be asked in a library assistant interview. Make sure that you have the right answers at your fingertips. Also, take some time and work on the necessary interview and presentation skills to increase your chances of landing the job.