Career Scoop: Library Services Advisor

career Scoop file, on what it's like to work as a Library Services Advisor

Career Insight:  Library Services Advisor

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I staff an enquiries desk to deal with all sorts of questions and carry out IT troubleshooting. I also answer email enquiries (we have a lot of part-time and distance learning courses, as well as collaborative partners across the world), and I demonstrate the use of the printer/copier/scanner, self-issue machines and card top-up machines (we use cashless payment methods). Finally, I upload documents to an online database, shelve and manage book stock.

Why did you decide to become a Library Services Advisor?

By accident! I needed a job, had the necessary requirements, and ended up staying…

What path did you take into it?

I started working in that field, gained some qualifications along the way (studying whilst working)

What, in your opinion, is the best bit of being a a Library Services Advisor?

Helping people out and having them be so grateful. Sometimes they express this with chocolate!

Every job has its downsides. What do you think are the worst bits?

Dealing with cross and stressed-out people. Technology tends to annoy people when it doesn’t work smoothly and they always assume it is the fault of the device and not that they may be using it incorrectly.

Is it what you expected when you first started out – and what’s different?

Not really. Nowadays there is far more of an IT element (about 80-90%). Also our job description changed dramatically almost overnight. We were told all we would have to do on the IT side of things (and all we were trained in) was to reset passwords and check students’ IT accounts for problems. What we weren’t told was that we would have to cover almost every aspect of IT you could imagine, and had to become IT technicians with no training. We had to learn as we went along and write our own manuals, procedures and FAQs.

What do the public least understand – or mistake – about what you do? 

I am not a teacher of IT skills. I can help out with problems, but our customers should have at least some basic working knowledge of how to use (their own!) devices.
Also that I can do magic! If you haven’t saved your document there is almost no chance that I can make it reappear intact.

What kind of people tend to do well?

Outgoing, friendly, patient, good IT skills, good communication skills.

Finally, any advice you’d offer to people looking to get into this line of work?

Get some good IT skills, to a level where you are really confident.

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