Student Employee Appreciation

Posted: November 12, 2019 9:00:00 AM CST

As I was thinking about something to write this blog about. I was having a really hard time thinking about something that would be both interesting and informative. Naturally, I was trying to bounce ideas off anyone who would listen. I approached the student workers in our department and they easily came up with a few ideas. However, while they were talking, I couldn’t help but realize how much I rely on our student employees. Then it occurred to me, “I wonder if everyone is aware of how important our students are to this library functioning?” So ultimately, I decided to shelve the ideas they gave me, and just take a few minutes to write a student employee appreciation post while informing everyone how vital they are.

As anyone who comes into the library knows, the Mary and Jeff Bell Library employs lots of student workers. Student assistants can be found wearing blue and white polos and helping library patrons in every department. Additionally, the library employs graduate assistants, who wear black and white polos and are usually helping the student workers as well as the patrons.

Now, I realize that “helping library patrons” may either sound like a lot of work or like something simple depending on who you ask; however, the student employees do so much more than just “help.” Depending on what department they work in, they also are responsible for helping set up tech equipment, running and assisting with the machinery in the I-Create Lab MakerSpace, filling Interlibrary Loan requests for other institutions, chatting online and in-person with library users to help them with research, and checking-in and loaning materials for students, staff, and faculty throughout the university.

There are student assistants who go around and snap pictures for social media, prepare marketing supplies, as well as work the library events. They process materials and put them out on the shelves after they are ordered, check-in and out study rooms, then go and make sure that the rooms are ready for the next people who need a space to study, help process maps and special documents so that they are available in our Special Collections and Archives department, sort all the incoming mail, and put out new journals and newspapers daily.  

Students workers getting training on using a fire extinguisher to put out a fireThat list, while it contains a lot of tasks, doesn’t even cover everything that they do to keep this library running. In addition to all this, they are all currently students that manage the stress that comes with classes and homework. They are on the front lines of the library and are always ready and willing to help anyone that may need assistance, as well as maintaining all the behind the scene tasks that often go unappreciated until something is not working correctly.

They are truly the lifeblood and unsung heroes of this library and I feel that we should show appreciation for them every chance we get because each of the tasks listed require a high level of focus and attention to detail to ensure that everything is done efficiently and correctly. I realize that there is no way I would be able to do my job without them completing theirs and for that I figured I would take this opportunity to remind others how important a role they have in this library.

By: Joe Hernandez

Category: Hello, from the Staff, Behind the Scenes