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Depending on Student Employees: A Win-Win-Win Situation

Author(s): Joyce Salisbury

Journal: MLA Forum
ISSN 1539-4123

Volume: 5;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Library Management | Student Employees | Academic Libraries

Student assistants are an integral part of an academic library, yet there is a continuing debate over what role they should play in the library and even the value of hiring students at all. Library literature dating at least as far back as 1930 discusses hiring and training students in academic libraries. Two recent articles confront the issue from diametrically opposed points of view and, unsurprisingly, come to two very different conclusions. Gerlich and Baird are both librarians in university libraries and yet their attitude toward hiring student assistants is completely different. Gerlich approaches the issue from a purely monetary viewpoint – is the quality of output worth the dollar amount spent. Baird views the students’ employment in the library as a positive part of their college career, an enhancement of their education as well as an employment opportunity. The goal, then, is to bring these viewpoints together. How can we make it economically worthwhile to hire and train student assistants while creating an experience that makes the job more than something that helps pay the rent?
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