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"I'll Take Circulation Policies for 100, Alex" or Fostering the Team-Based Approach among Library Student Assistants

1 July 2003


The value of the contributions made by student workers to the mission of the academic library is well established in both theory and practice. The ACRL draft "Standards for Libraries in Higher Education 2003" includes specific mention of student assistants in terms of assigning responsibilities appropriate to their, "qualifications, training, experience and capabilities." (ACRL, 2003). Student workers are particularly important in small academic libraries where, because of limited budgets and personnel constraints, they often may be relied upon to a greater degree than in larger academic library settings.

Scheduling student assistants within any given library department is an art that requires juggling factors such as departmental need, the amount of work study funds assigned, as well as class schedules, social obligations, etc. This often results in a large number of students working a very limited number of hours with infrequent contact outside their departments, which can contribute to a lack of cohesion and formation of a common identity. If student assistants can be made to feel more a part of the total library organization, they may come to realize that their contributions are appreciated not only at the individual level, but also at the group level.


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