Information Assistant

Durham, United Kingdom
£17,682 - £19,133 per annum
07 May 2021
End of advertisement period
21 May 2021
Contract Type
Part Time


Grade 3: - £17,682 - £19,133 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Part Time
Contract Duration: Open
Contracted Hours per Week: 25
Closing Date: 21-May-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Please note that we anticipate a high volume of applications for this position, so it may close before the specified date. Early application is therefore encouraged.

Job Family: Community, Participation and Engagement Services

Our Characteristics: We are welcoming, collegiate and inclusive.

Our ValuesWe are motivated, inquisitive, challenging, rigorous and innovative.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide an excellent stakeholder experience for our diverse and supportive community.

Overall family purpose 

  • Provide excellent student support services, development and extra-curricular activities.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Respond to stakeholders at the point of service delivery, either in situ or remotely.
  • Facilitate the development of excellent colleague and academic engagement.
  • Provide a stakeholder focussed service designed to increase widening participation and diversity.
  • Promote the Durham reputation by establishing and broadening national and international community links to enhance the cultural and economic viability of the City and region.
  • Enhance the Durham wider student experience by developing extra-curricular activities.
  • Contribute to and enhance active, inclusive and supportive communities of stakeholders.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Engage with suppliers, consultants and specialist professionals to deliver programmes and activities to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage outreach and participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.
  • Engage and network with both internal and external stakeholders to facilitate knowledge exchange and impact through local, national and international communities.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically and environmentally sustainable approach to delivering stakeholder focussed services across the University;
  • A world-class student, alumni and donor experience;
  • Focussed on the needs of all users working together to deliver front-line services as part of the Wider Student Experience;
  • Learn from and match best practice in the Wider Student Experience around the world;
  • Opening up our world-class sporting facilities to local clubs and athletes;
  • Support and facilitate activities as part of the Widening Student Experience at Durham;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose    

In January 1833 Bishop William van Mildert donated 160 volumes to found the University Library, located on Palace Green and in the same year Durham’s first university museum opened to the public. 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.

Our users encompass anyone engaging with our collections, services and facilities in person or remotely, this includes university staff, researchers from around the globe, students in higher education from Durham and other universities, school pupils and teachers, Durham’s local residents and tourists.  

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. Staff work flexibly between the sections, enabled by seven cross-cutting groups, Collections, Education, Engagement, User Experience, Operations, Research, Staff Development and a Programme and Project Steering Group.

The Customer Services Team, under the leadership of the Head of Customer Services provide all front-line (face-to-face and virtual) customer, visitor and enquiry services. They ensure service across our estate that includes 21st century buildings providing library and study facilities, and listed buildings housing archives and special collections. Our venues (including a nationally recognised Oriental Museum), provide space for education, learning, research and outreach to a wide range of stakeholders including the local community.

Library Information Assistants

Library Information Assistants are involved in a wide range of work to support the delivery of Library services to the University’s academic community. The role actively contributes to the frontline customer service provision in the Library, including working on the Help and Information Desk answering queries and assisting customers, circulation tasks including book returns and some re-shelving, maintenance of the collections, undertaking opening and closing routines and maintaining study spaces for individual and group study. 

Core responsibilities: 

  • Provide a highly responsive and/or frontline service to stakeholders.
  • Assist team members within a wider service team with a rotation of tasks and duties or with own small area of day to day responsibility.
  • Respond to service users logging and recording queries and information systematically in accordance with procedures.
  • Operate a system to record, dispense and distribute resources and information as required.
  • Assist team members to concentrate effort on a more regular basis to achieve common goals.
  • Apply skills and techniques to operate and use a range of everyday task or job specific equipment, tools and resources.
  • Follow a set of pre-determined tasks and objectives, with some discretion for variation, referring to team members and supervisors where necessary.
  • Gather and collate data and information for others to use for evaluation and decision making.
  • Contribute to the tidying, set-up and maintenance of facilities, equipment and resources.
  • Liaise with representatives from other teams/service areas where necessary.
  • Collaborate with team members to identify work flows, timescales and where support is required. 

Role responsibilities: 

  • Deliver a frontline customer service to stakeholders with team members within the library for concentrated periods of time.
  • Monitor the library entrance and exit gates and assist users with access to the library.
  • Follow University identification and security procedures when dealing with stakeholders new to the library.
  • Provide direction to library users about the range of events and activities and how to access them.
  • Complete necessary skills training to deliver a customer service in the library.
  • Apply manual dexterity, physical effort and/or sensory skills to carry out work in a defined space or service area.
  • Assist team members where necessary to review and update risk assessments.
  • Respond to first-line queries from library users.
  • Any other reasonable duties. 

Specific role requirements

The post holder will be required to work early mornings, evenings, and weekends according to University demands. This role is based at Durham University and as such, candidates should consider potential travel arrangements if they are successful when making their application.

The post is part of the Customer Services Team and you may be required to work at any of the library sites.

Library work involves considerable manual handling and physical activity, for example handling books for re-shelving, packing and lifting books, lifting boxes and pushing trolleys. Appropriate training will be provided.

Recruiting to this post 

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role.  

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.  

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage. 

How to apply 

We prefer to receive applications online.

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 https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in relation to the job responsibilities set out above;
  3. Examples of how you satisfy the essential criteria in the person specification, this will require completion of the 'Questionnaire' application section.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage. 

Contact details 

For further information please contact; Mrs Katharine Davidson-Brown, Customer Services Manager –Library j.k.davidson-brown@durham.ac.uk

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

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required 

Essential Criteria:

  • Relevant recent experience in a frontline customer service role and demonstrable customer service skills.
  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Good IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience). 
  • Experience of working as part of a team in a customer focused service to ensure the delivery of high quality services.
  • Experience of managing time in order to meet deadlines and confidence to work without direct supervision. 
  • Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues and knowing when to refer to a supervisor.
  • Ability to solve problems as part of a team and resolve straightforward issues whilst upholding policies and procedures.
  • Flexible approach to working patterns which will include commitment to early morning, evening and weekend working as the University demands.
  • Proven reliability and punctuality and ability to flourish in a constantly changing environment.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.
  • Understanding of library or information services work    

Realising Your Potential Approach

Embracing Change - Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, demands and changing roles. Seeing change as an opportunity and being receptive to new ideas.

Respecting Others - To embrace diversity by promoting and maintaining an inclusive and supportive work and study environment that enables all members of our University community to achieve their full potential.

Finding Solutions - Taking a holistic view and working enthusiastically and with creativity to analyse problems and develop innovative and workable solutions. Identifying opportunities for innovation.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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