Restructuring the Student Worker Program in an Academic Library

Julia McKenna has been working in libraries for the past 5 years, most recently as the Circulation Services Manager at Jacksonville University. Her experience includes time in almost every part of library operations including circulation, technical services, periodicals, government documents, and ILL. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville University and is a current MLIS student at Valdosta State University and MSOL student a Jacksonville University. Julia is a member of the ALA TOLD committee and a current participant in the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute. She is also the founder of Managerine LLC, an educational platform for new and aspiring female leaders. Her article “So many students, so little time: Practical student worker training in an academic library” was published in the January edition of the Journal of Access Services.
In the Spring of 2018, the Carl S. Swisher Library restructured it’s student worker program from one general student worker position to five unique roles. The change was made in responsive to a small staff size struggling to keep up with both day-to-day operations, as well as their additional responsibilities and projects. Students were designated to either work in Circulation, Collection Management, Technical Services, Archives, or Government Documents. Each role was designed to assist a staff member on the circulation team and help to make the day-to-day operations more efficient.

The poster will examine the process of making these changes, what worked, and what didn’t. It will dive into the more successful components, areas for improvement, and overall how the restructuring has made an impact on the department over the past two years. There are certainly both benefits and drawbacks to the change, but overall it has been a positive asset to the library.

Overall, the poster will be designed to help managers looking to make a similar change to their student employee structure. It is also relevant for those managing volunteers in public libraries. Because libraries are typically short staffed and running on a shoestring budget, this restructuring can help to bridge the gap between meeting increasing demands with decreasing staff size.

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