Assistant Law Librarian Duties
An assistant law librarian will assist the head librarian in the day-to-day operation of a law library. This could be in a college, university, law school, large private practice or court of law. An assistant law librarian will be required to undertake a number of daily duties including basic clerical and customer services responsibilities.
There are two basic levels of assistant law librarian. The first level of assistant law librarian is an entry level position which requires the jobholder to carry out a number of basic duties. The second level of assistant law librarian has to have a comprehensive understanding of how the library works and perform more advanced duties to support the head librarian. In order to work as an assistant law librarian you will need an associates or bachelors degree in paralegal studies or a high school diploma and at least two years experience working in a legal library. You will also need to be proficient at using computers and have good personal skills.
If you want to achieve one of the higher level assistant librarian positions you will need at least three years experience as an entry level law library assistant and a comprehensive knowledge of library procedures, records systems, equipment, policies and software. You will also need a comprehensive understanding of the legal system including the structural organization of courts and general administrative policies and procedures.
Assistant Law Librarian Duties
Assistant law librarian duties are varied and can include:
1. Reference and Information Services – as an assistant law librarian you will need to support library users by answering questions, filling in loan requests, legal referencing, performing resource searches and retrieving materials. You will need to provide face-to-face, telephone and email support to the general public and legal professionals. It is important that you have a good understanding of library procedures, interlibrary cooperation, resources and services.
2. Invoicing and Accounts - you may also be required to process invoices, communicate with vendors, check financial records and maintain accounts as part of your assistant law librarian role.
3. Filing and Records Maintenance – the law library will have a mixture of hardcopy records and computer databases which will need to be updated and maintained. As an assistant law librarian you will also need to be able to file periodicals, supplements, loose leaf services and advance sheets in the right binders and file books on the right shelves. This requires a comprehensive understanding of how libraries work and maintaining records is an important part of attaining the knowledge you need to answer public queries more effectively.
4. Library Equipment – law libraries offer a wide range of equipment for members to use. As an assistant law librarian you will need to maintain this equipment and show members how to use it to search for and retrieve information. This can include computers, copy machines and microform machines.
A career in a law library can be secure and rewarding. You could work in a number of different sectors of the legal industry from trial courts through to law schools and universities.
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