In tough financial times, library administrators want to keep expenditures down while offering outstanding services to and maintaining good public relations with patrons. In order to accommodate requests for tours and library instruction from non-university groups, we have Reference Public Support student assistants provide such services. Our presentation will outline the procedures we use to prepare the student employees to do this work, as well as the skills our students gain through it. We will also discuss the benefits for high school and community college students.
Having veteran student assistants conduct tours and library instruction sessions for non-CMU students extends the “low-level” reference assistance our students provide on an individual basis at the Reference Desk. Student employees earn far less than librarians and professional staff, so by utilizing their skills, we can provide services to the public that we would otherwise might not be able to afford or have a large enough staff to do.
Visiting students enjoy seeing someone close to their ages leading their group. Our student employees serve as role models because they tend to be excellent students and represent a positive college experience. They have campus jobs they gain practical skills from and enjoy a great deal.
Our practice also helps recruit top library student assistants for the profession. In the past few years, a number of student employees have gone to library school, and many others have strongly considered library and information science as a profession.
Mathson, Stephanie M. and Salisbury, Joyce, "Utilizing Students Employees as an Alternative Means of Providing Library Instruction" (2011). LOEX Conference Proceedings 2009. Paper 7.