Job Details

Reference Librarian, Amesbury Public Library (Amesbury)

Position Title: 
Reference Librarian 

Grade Level: 


Reports to: 
Head of Public Services and Library Director 

Statement of Duties:  Under the supervision of the Head of Public Services and Library Director, responsible for identifying and interpreting user needs; providing reference, readers' advisory, computer, database and referral services to Library patrons directly, and by telephone; and assisting patrons in material selection. 

Supervision Required:   Works under the direction of the Head of Public Services and Library Director or his/her designee but works with considerable independence in setting own daily work plan. Unusual situations are referred to the Head of Public Services.   

Supervisory Responsibility: As a professional librarian, may be required to act as “in charge” supervisor in the absence of the Director or Assistant Director.   

Confidentiality: The employee has regular access to a wide variety of confidential information, including library patron records and borrowing history in accordance with the State Public Records Law. 

Accountability: The nature of the professional or technical work means that errors in analysis, techniques or recommendations would probably be difficult to detect. Consequences of errors, missed deadlines or poor judgment could result in excessive costs, delay of service delivery, or legal repercussions. 

Judgment:  The work requires examining, analyzing and evaluating facts and circumstances surrounding individual problems, situations, or transactions, and determining actions to be taken within the limits of standard or accepted practices. Guidelines include a large body of established department policies, practices, and precedents, which may be complex or conflicting, at times. Judgment is used in analyzing specific situations to determine appropriate actions. Employee is expected to weigh the efficiency and relative priorities in conjunction with operational or procedural concerns in decision making.  

Complexity:   The work consists of the practical application of a variety of concepts, practices and specialized techniques relating to a professional or technical field. Assignments typically involve evaluation and interpretation of factors, conditions or unusual circumstances; inspecting, testing or evaluating compliance with established standards or criteria; gathering, analyzing and evaluating facts or data using specialized fact finding techniques, or determining the methods to accomplish assigned work. 

Work Environment:  The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of library settings. Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant. Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours in accordance with the library’s work schedule. 

Nature and Purpose of Public Contact: Relationships are constantly with co-workers, the public and with groups and/or individuals such as patrons of the library and representatives of professional groups to explain or interpret department procedures or practices, to plan or coordinate work, and to resolve problems.  More than ordinary courtesy, tact and diplomacy is required to resolve complaints or to deal with uncooperative patrons of the library. 

Occupational Risk:  Duties generally do not present occupational risk to the employee although the employee is required to lift, push or pull objects such as library materials and/or equipment.  

Essential Functions: 

The essential functions of the duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, relates, or is a logical assignment to the position. 

-Provides assistance to library patrons of all ages in location and use of library materials, resources and facilities, in regularly scheduled reference shifts. 
-Supervises special projects and performs other duties as assigned. 
-Represents the library at consortium, regional and state professional meetings. 
-Regularly scheduled coverage of the Reference Desk, interlibrary library loan functions (Commonwealth Catalog, CLIO, OCLC, etc.); computer troubleshooting; training of public on the use of computers and electronic databases.  
-Assist patrons with public computer use including troubleshooting, printing, and scanning. 
-Assist patrons with eReaders and eBook services like Overdrive/Libby. 
-Provides information, basic reference, and readers’ advisory to library users in direct consultation, by phone, email and other emerging technologies.  
-Answer routine reference questions, using print, electronic, and community resources.  Maintains a welcoming environment at the library’s Reference Desk. -Models good customer service practices at all times. Provides referrals to other libraries, sources, etc. when necessary. Maintains statistics on usage of reference services.  
-Maintains high level of awareness of new databases and new web resources.  Develops handouts of library materials, services, web resources, etc. for library users.  
-Requests books, articles, and other items from libraries outside the MVLC network, in accordance with procedures and polices established by the library and MLS. 
-Orders, weeds, and maintains the Fiction/Large Print collection.  Manages and maintains the Book Club Kit collection and module.  
-Attends workshops and conferences that enhance library skills relevant to this position and participates in staff meeting discussions.  
-Performs circulation desk activities as required.  

Recommended Minimum Qualifications: 

This position calls for a high degree of initiative and independence. 

Both flexibility and ingenuity are required to develop new or adapt existing methods and approaches for accomplishing objectives or to deal with new or unusual situations.  

Extensive interaction with co-workers and the public to plan and coordinate work or to answer questions makes it essential that the employee possess a high degree of diplomacy and judgment and be able to work effectively with all types of people with courtesy and tact.   

Education and Experience: A Master’s Degree in Library Science in a program accredited by the American Library Association and a minimum of 2-3 years professional experience or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience.  

Special Requirements:   Possess Certification in Librarianship from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. 

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill 
-Strong public service commitment. 
-Proven general computer skills, including software, and hardware. 
-Broad knowledge of personal computers and their applications in a library setting.  
-Expertise in the use of Windows operating system and knowledge of Web-based technologies. 
-Familiarity with integrated library systems, preferably Symphony. 
-Understanding of social media and its use to build community and promote the library and its services.  
-Ability to develop effective working relationships with department personnel and with the general public.  
-High degree of flexibility and the ability to multi-task and frequently change focus 
-Effective time management skills. 
-Excellent oral and written communication skills. 
-Develops grants for library programs and services as appropriate and available.  

Physical and Mental Requirements  

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.  

Physical Skills: 

Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, kneeling, walking, and standing.  There may be some occasional lifting of objects such as books, office equipment or supplies (up to 50 lbs.). 

Motor Skills: 

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job requires motor skills for activities such as moving objects such as computer equipment, operating a telephone system, computer and/or most other office equipment. 

Visual Skills: 

Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes. Depth, color, peripheral and distance vision routinely required. 

Salary Range:  OPEIU Grade 14, Step 1, ($26.37) Full benefits package.  

Schedule: 35 hour work week includes regular evening and weekend rotations with other professional staff. 


Full/Part Time

Full Time




$26.37 per hour

Closing Date

Open until filled.

How to Apply

To Apply 

Send or email resume and letter of application to: 

Alyssa Premo 

Executive Assistant 

Office of the Mayor 

City of Amesbury 

62 Friend Street 

Amesbury, MA 




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