Job Feature: Library Associate

Xenia H. - Library Associate

Q: How do you support the mission of your organization?

XH: The City of Saint Paul strives to improve the lives of all residents, and I support this mission by welcoming everyone to the library, providing programs that reflect our communities, and working on teams that ensure our services are distributed equitably and thoughtfully throughout the city.

Q: Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?

XH: Initially, I had a stereotypical idea of what Librarians do (e.g. work with books and keep the library in order), but quickly realized that working with people is the most important part of this role. I started working in a different public library system where I was able to use my degree in Spanish Literature to work in foreign language collections and teach technology classes in English and Spanish. It opened my eyes to all the possibilities that come with working in a library and the rewarding experience of helping people. I chose Saint Paul because the city has much to offer as both an employer and a place to live.

Q: What skills or abilities are essential to being successful in your job?

XH: Customer service skills are essential for a Library Associate. Actively listening is a great way to help connect patrons to books, technology, and other resources. However, you also have to be inquisitive and creative in problem-solving because there is always more than one way to meet people’s needs. Ask a lot of questions!  

Q: What tools or resources does the City provide to be productive and effective in this role?

XH: The City, from the Mayor’s Office to individual departments, provides strategic direction to help us stay on track with the mission of being the most livable city in America. In the Library, we have professional development opportunities and we prioritize community engagement to help us be more effective in our roles. Another great resource is the City’s Emerging Leaders Academy, which is a year-long program that allows us to team up with people from different departments and work on projects that will benefit the City as a whole.