Library Assistant

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Library Assistant (
Job Number:
University Library and Collections
Grade 4: - £23,751 - £24,533 per annum (Pro Rata)
Fixed Term - Part Time
Contract Duration: Until June 2025
Contracted Hours per Week: 32
Working Arrangements: To be agreed locally by Department
Closing Date
: 03-Jun-2024, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University 
At Durham University we are proud of our people. A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally. Whether you are at the very start, middle or end of your career, there is a role for you. We believe everyone has their own unique skills to offer.  

We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here
The Role and the Department 

The Customer Services Team is part of University Library and Collections. We provide front-line (face to face and virtual) customer, visitor and enquiry services across our department. This includes visitor services at our museums and visitor attractions: Palace Green Library, Oriental Museum and Durham Castle, as well as user services in our Libraries and study spaces, including 24/7 term-time opening.  

This role actively contributes to the frontline customer service provision, ensuring that all customers have a high-quality experience. Library Assistants are responsible for providing the specialist library services, including a highly responsive enquiry service both in person and online via our virtual enquiries desk, social media, supporting special events and student focused campaigns, digitisation, online support, and circulation operations, making appropriate referrals. They support users in making full use of the Library, raising awareness of services and facilities. 

The Department

In January 1833 Bishop William van Mildert donated 160 volumes to find the University Library, located on Palace Green. Today the University Library and Collections offers spaces, collections, expertise and services supporting education, research, the wider student experience and cultural and educational outreach. Collections and services operate across a wide estate of libraries, archives, museums, galleries and exhibition spaces, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Palace Green. Our nationally and internationally recognised collections span early books, archives and manuscripts, museum objects and art, print and electronic materials and include a repository of digitised materials, research outputs and research data. 

We are an ambitious and developing team with a focus on providing the best experience for our students, researchers and the wider community. We are valued partners working with students, professional services and academics across the University, and professionals and organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. 

The University Library and Collections is made up of six sections: Collections; Customer Services; Education, Learning and Engagement; Research and Systems; Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions; and Finance and Administration.

Working at Durham  

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits: 

  • 27 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 39 days per year.  The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered. We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies. 
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state-of-the-art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
  • On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year.
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community.
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.  
  • We offer generous pension schemes.  

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.   

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 
We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

What you need to demonstrate when you apply

To be considered for this role, here are the skills/experience we’re looking for:


1.     Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics or equivalent experience.

2.     Experience of working in front line customer service, and the ability to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment without compromising on the quality of the service. *

3.     Experience of working in a team, delivering customer focussed services with a flexible  and proactive approach.*

4.     Experience of managing time to meet deadlines and working under pressure without compromising on quality.


5.     Good spoken and written communication skills, including the ability to show confidence and understanding when interacting with customers and colleagues.

6.     Good digital skills including experience in using digital devices and apps including the internet, email, digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications, digital booking systems, and the ability to adapt to and learn new IT applications and digital technologies.

7.     Ability to, and experience of solving problems and resolving straightforward issues yourself and as part of a team.

8.     Ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of colleagues and customers.

9.     Flexible approach to working patterns which will include a commitment to early morning, evening and weekend working as the University demands.

Desirable Criteria

10.  Committed to continuing professional development.

11.  Knowledge and experience of academic information resources and services. 

How to apply 
To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. Where there are desirable criteria we would also urge you to provide any relevant evidence. Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above). 
While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.   
Submitting your application  
We prefer to receive applications online. We will update you about your application at various points during the process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails  
What you are required to submit: 

1.     A CV and;

2.     A supporting document that clearly demonstrates how you meet all of the essential criteria within the Person Specification within the job description, and where possible the desirable.

Contact details  
If you would like to have a chat or ask any questions about the role,
Victoria Hedley would be happy to speak to you: [email protected]

Typical Role Requirements

The post holder may be required to work regular early mornings, evenings, and weekends according to University demands.

Here are the kind of activities that you’ll be asked to undertake and ways in which you’ll be expected to operate.
Service Delivery

·         Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.

·         Provide an excellent and timely service to all library users, stakeholders and colleagues as part of your role. Use your experience and problem-solving skills to resolve routine issues with things relevant to your role  and provide information and updates to help your team find solutions

·         Collect, organise and record data and information accurately and provide reports and analysis as required.

·         Promote positive wellbeing arrangements which benefit you and your team.

·         When carrying out your role, use and apply relevant professional and regulatory standards [for example, accessibility considerations, copyright restrictions].

·         Understand and apply recognised industry standards (e.g. customer service, digitisation, accessibility) to enhance the level of service being delivered.


·         Help your colleagues to organise, plan and prepare for events/meetings and contribute to team planning activities.

·         Resolve queries and respond to requests for information and advice and bring any complex issues to the attention of more experienced team members.

·         Help your team ensure that products and services are adapted in response to feedback and to meet changing demands.


·         Seek feedback from students, staff and anyone else that you come across as part of your role on their requirements from your service to ensure that their reasonable expectations are being met.

·         Record information [e.g. statistics, queries, bookings for activities/events] and respond to queries which you receive.

·         Liaise with staff in other areas to ensure that services are being delivered in an efficient and collaborative way.

·         Liaise with external visitors, contractors, specialists and service providers.

·         Provide support for meetings, working groups and committees, such preparing and sending documents for meetings.

·         Liaise with external visitors, contractors, specialists and service providers to plan the delivery of services and events. 

·         Any other reasonable duties.

Useful links 
If you would like further information, you may find the following will help;
Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices - Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.  

Appointment to this post is fixed term to cover the substantive post holder’s maternity leave and is not anticipated to be extended.

The post is part time, fixed term for a 12-month period and may be offered on an internal secondment basis subject to the agreement of the current line manager.

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

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