Q&A with a Library Student Assistant & Graduate Assistant

Posted: March 6, 2020 9:10:00 AM CST

As the Student Coordinator for Access Services, prospective employees often have questions about the Student/Graduate Assistant positions we offer. I figured I’d take the time to interview a current Student/Graduate Assistant so that they can provide some insight about their positions here with Access Services. For this interview, I interviewed Alexandra (Lexy) Tomes (Student Assistant) and Kevin Wong (Graduate Assistant).

Can you describe your position and what it entails?

AT: I am a student worker at the Circulation Desk in the library. This position usually entails helping others, such as students or faculty member, find and check-out books and study rooms for them to use. After these items are returned it is my job to place them back where they were and check the rooms.

KW: My position as a Graduate Assistant is to supervise the student workers at the circulation desk. This involves assigning them regular tasks such as re-shelving library books as well as tasks related to larger projects such as shifting the library main collection. In addition, I manage any fines that come in and offer directions to any patrons who come in seeking library services.

What is the best thing/worst thing about your job?

AT: The best part about my job is the environment I work in. The people I work with are fun and understanding, which is very different than any other job I’ve had previously. I know I can count on those I work with and have a good shift.

KW: The best thing about my job is that I can work with a good group of coworkers who make the job enjoyable. It is a very friendly and welcoming environment that makes it a pleasure to come to work. The worst thing about my job is whenever I am unable to help patrons find what they are looking for in the library.

What are some challenges that you experience while on shift?

AT: While on shift there are times that a patron requested book can’t be found. This is challenging as it has to be determined if the book had truly been lost or was just placed back wrong.

KW: Some challenges that I experience during a shift are dealing with patrons who are unsure as to what they are looking for or during cases in which the item they are looking for does not appear in the system. Figuring out how to best help them can be a challenge.

What were your expectation about this position?

AT: I expected this position to be less work than it ended up being. I never realized how many things actually go by the circulation desk, such as checking the study rooms, re-shelving books, and moving them to new shelves.

KW: My expectations for this position were influenced by the fact that I used to work in this department as a student worker during my undergraduate degree. I knew what was to be expected from me as a graduate assistant and that I had to help ensure that the day to day functions of the circulation desk were done.

How was the interview process for your position? (What feelings were you experiencing?)

AT: The interview process was easy and quick. I am naturally nervous around new people, but the interview was more inviting than other previous interviews I’ve done.

KW: Going into the interview for this position, I was not particularly nervous, given that I had previously work in the department as a student worker and was familiar with the staff and the duties of the position. I knew that they were people who did their jobs well and people I would enjoy working with so that helped me to feel more comfortable.

Do you recommend this job to your fellow Islanders?

AT: Yes, I would recommend this job to other Islanders. As the work environment is nice and because of it being on campus it’s easy to access and apply.

KW: I would absolutely recommend this job to my fellow Islanders. It is wonderful to work with this team and is a low stress environment; the job is extremely flexible in terms of schedule and works well for a graduate student.

What qualities do you believe make an exceptional worker?

AT: An exceptional student worker needs to be able to balance work with classes, by not procrastinating and doing work before it’s due. Also, student workers must be able to take time away and enjoy college life to destress.

KW: I believe that an exceptional student worker should first and foremost be able to work well with others. At the circulation desk, we work together for the job so being able to work well with your fellow workers is a crucial skill. An additional skill I would recommend is to be punctual and on top of things. Since our job is to handle organizing the library, being able to stay on task and handle situations as they arise is an essential skill.

What is something interesting you have learned while working with Access Services?

AT: While working with Access Services I learned about the Interlibrary Loan opportunity the college offers. This service offers students the ability to check out books from other college libraries that this University doesn’t offer. This is a great way to possibly get course required books or just books that you’re interested in without having to go out looking or even buying them.

KW: Something interesting I have discovered while working with Access Services is the variety of services that are available which I would never have known about otherwise. Many things seem to exist that most students are unaware of like that fact that we have a variety of board games available to check out when students take a break from studying.


photo of AT and KW


By: Nick Rodriguez

Category: Behind the Scenes, Hello, from the Staff