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Competencies For Student Support Staff And Engineering Librarians

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

“And Other Duties as Assigned”

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.349.1 - 14.349.10



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Paper Authors


Amy Kindschi University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Amy Kindschi, Head of Faculty and Student Services at UW-Madison Wendt Engineering Library since 1998, is responsible for reference and other library services. She is library liaison to four Engineering Departments and is an advocate for the information needs of students and faculty. She has served on campus-wide library committees in instruction, reference, web resources and distance services.

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Anne Glorioso University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Anne Glorioso, Circulation and Information Services Librarian, manages the circulation unit and provides reference service at UW-Madison Wendt Engineering Library. She trains and supervises 12 student staff who work at the combined circulation/reference desk She also teaches drop in workshops and undergraduate course related library sessions.

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Diana Wheeler University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Diana Wheeler, UW-Madison Wendt Engineering Library Instruction Coordinator, is a teaching, reference and liaison librarian with experience in assessment and course management systems.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Competencies for Student Support Staff and Engineering Librarians: Did we answer your question?


engineering library. The phone rings ominously. On the other end is a distraught professor. The article database that he often uses is asking for a password, which it has never done before. The other student worker sees a young student at the counter

SAE paper. The next student in line want Great Expectations.

Can student workers solve all of these problems? Should they be able to? Would a set of competencies prepare them to excel at their jobs?


We think that student support staff should be able to solve a wide range of problems. It is our job to give them the necessary training. Wendt Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large engineering library which relies heavily on student staffing at the public services desk. The public services desk is a multi-function area with Circulation staff at one end and Reference staff at the other. Reference librarians staff the desk 41.5 hours/week, but Circulation students staff the desk without librarians 61.5 hours/week. Staff are well trained, but there is room for improvement. We want to ensure a positive experience when patrons do ask a question at the public services desk.

Our librarians work closely as department liaisons with faculty and students, teaching course- related sessions and creating library course pages for faculty. They make promises to students and faculty that certain materials are available through the library. If these students come to the library and are unable to find these promised materials, the liaison librarians have egg on their faces.

We employ 13 student circulation staff and have seven reference librarians, one reference librarian intern, one reference student and one practicum reference student. We have a low turnover rate for student staff, needing to hire only one to three new people each semester. Even with low turnover, we train approximately three librarians and five students every year.

We have several types of training for our staff. We provide a formal six-eight hour training program for circulation students and on the job shadowing for both circulation students and reference librarians. We keep reference staff up to date with monthly reference training programs which are co-presented by an experienced librarian and a newer librarian. We also send our

Kindschi, A., & Glorioso, A., & Wheeler, D. (2009, June), Competencies For Student Support Staff And Engineering Librarians Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5332

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015