Status Update on Student Employees in Reference

By , March 23, 2009 11:27 am

The process of developing a new program for employing and training students to work at the Reference Desk is continuing and nearing complete definition. Here are some updates:

  • The students who will eventually be working at what is now the Reference Desk will cover all the hours the Desk is open (10:00am – 10:00pm MTWR, 10:00am – 5:00pm F, 5:00pm – 10:00pm Sun) and will also work in the I.T. department from 9:00am – 5:00pm M-F. Julianne and I will be creating a pool of students who will work mostly either in Reference or in I.T., but will also spend some time in the other area.
  • After much bandying of words and experimenting with titles, we ended up deciding that we preferred Information Commons Associate for the student position title. “Associate” makes the position sound much more professional than “Student Assistant” and the more we played with “Information Commons,” the more we liked it. Julianne has already been calling her space the “Instructional Technology Commons” and we came up with a vision for the Information Commons, while having a main hub in the library (esp. the Reference Dept.), being essentially a virtual space with various physical manifestations. Students can enter the Information Commons virtually from their dorm room, chat with Info Commons Associates online (or liaison librarians for that matter), browse the Digital Commons, or physically visit the Information Commons in Irwin or Jordan (or eventually other campus locations).
  • Julianne and I plan on finalizing the job description and the program’s description and mission this week. This will allow us to start advertising and hiring students early in April.
  • The Info Commons Associates will be coming back to Butler a week before classes start. We will spend that Thursday and Friday training them on basic tech support for the computers and software we have, research skills (info literacy), customer service skills, and how to recognize when to turn over a student’s research question to a liaison librarian.
  • In the future we plan to involve the more experienced students in the training of their peers. Our goal is to create an internship style of program that will lead to students taking portfolios and local “certifications” with them when they graduate.

At the next librarians meeting, the details will all be in place and I will present more information on the program.

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