CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Tara Copic, Library Assistant, East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Ltd.

Category: Meet our Members

This blog is part of our Meet Our Members series, focusing on different members and their careers.

Hi I’m Tara, and I currently work as a public library assistant for East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Ltd. I do this alongside studying Library and Information Science at Strathclyde University, as having a relevant part-time job is a great way to gain some hands-on experience before graduation. This also gives me the opportunity to make links between theory and practice.

Enjoying books is a no-brainer, but the most important thing you need to get your foot in the door as a public library assistant is customer service experience and a passion for working with people! You never know who is going to walk through that door, making your days at work extremely varied, and sometimes quite exciting. Most staff members work in a few libraries within a council area, so Monday you may be singing with 50 families at a BookBug session, Wednesday you’re helping older generations use the new tablet they got for Christmas, and Friday you’re hunting down the latest thriller in a library not much bigger than a caravan.

The Scottish Government states here that poverty is projected to rise in the coming years, particularly among households with children. With this forecast coming after cuts to public library services (forgetting for a moment about Brexit, climate change and all the rest) the future is looking grim. At the public library, people can use the internet for free, learn about their family heritage, have a one-on-one technological training session, receive cancer support and make friends through activities like singing, knitting, writing, coding and more. Some will never step into a public library because so much can be done from home now, but for others these free services are a lifeline.

The aim of the public library is the same as that of any library: to serve the user. Although we help people in small ways, it is not always possible to know the true impact of the service or how much the user has really gained from their trip to the library. My CILIP membership keeps me up to date with the latest developments in the sector and reminds me of the big picture, making me feel even better about the work I do. I hope to see you soon in one of our libraries!

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