June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.349.1 - 14.349.10
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. https://peer.asee.org/5332
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