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Home | Events | The Changing Roles of Library and Information Assistants [Event Ref. No. TG3/CRLIA]

The Changing Roles of Library and Information Assistants [Event Ref. No. TG3/CRLIA]


1:30 pm - 4:30 pm


The Hardy Room at the London Mathematical Society
57-58 Russell Square, London, WC1B 4HS

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Are you concerned about the ability of staff to keep up with the challenges of being equally skilled to work in customer services and another section of the library service? Do your users really get the experience you want at the help desk from everyone who works there? Has the introduction of self-service brought about changes to your frontline services that make it a challenge to ensure staff across all teams meet the same standard? And do your staff have the appropriate time in other sections of the library to work efficiently?

The role of library/information assistants is evolving at an increasing pace: within 10 years many libraries have changed the role of helpdesk staff from being book stampers and debt collectors to something far more complex, including providing much of what used to be thought of as professional level enquiry support. More recent developments mean that staff may now be required to floor-walk or roam to take services out from behind the helpdesks directly to the user, to cover virtual enquiry services, and in many cases to provide information on behalf of other services such as IT, Student Services, educational support and so on. Often, such staff will spend only a proportion of their time in this role, and the rest carrying out work in another section, such as acquisitions, liaison support, inter-library loans etc.

This interactive half day event will explore, through a series of short case-studies provided by three M25 Group institutions, how viable it is for library/information assistants to continue to work with ‘split-roles’ and still provide the best customer service experience as well as having sufficient time to be fully skilled in their other area(s) of work. Tensions between job variety, understanding users’ needs through face-to-face engagement and staff flexibility, will be considered alongside the increasing challenge of maintaining staff skills. Aimed at customer service managers, and managers of other library sections, there will be opportunity for attendees to share their own views and experiences.


1.30 – 1.40pm: Welcome and Introduction

1.40 – 2.05pm: Matthew Brooke, Royal Holloway University of London

2.05 – 2.35pm: Rachel Nelligan & Laura Sapsford, UCL

2.35 – 3pm: Ros Ogden, St Georges, University of London

3 – 3.20pm: Refreshments

3.20 – 4pm: Group discussion

4 – 4.15pm: – Feedback session and conclusion.

Venue: The Hardy Room at the London Mathematical Society, 57-58   Russell Square, LondonWC1B 4HS; Website:

Please note that there are limited places available for this event.

To book a place please use our online booking form or email the administrator via

Cost: £60 for members and £90 for other institutions.

Cancellations less than one week before the event will be charged a 50% cancellation fee. In the event of a ‘no-show’ on the day, the full fee will be charged.


Booking form for M25 Members   Booking form for non-Members