Learning Through Student Employment: How to Make a Job at Your Library an Educational Experience

October 12, 2015 / by Rachel Reardon

At many universities, on campus jobs are like Willy Wonka’s golden tickets - they’re rare to come across and highly coveted by those searching for them. And why wouldn’t they be? Often boasting flexible scheduling that works around class time, on campus jobs keep students close to the academic buildings while offering a great way to make some extra spending money between econ 140 and chem 202.

But for students who have hit the jackpot and landed a job at your academic library, you want the experience to be more than just a way to afford the all-you-can-eat sushi bar off University Blvd. Working in the library can provide them with a wealth of skills they can bring to the classroom right away, later on in their careers and to grad school. Read on to find our tips on making a job at the academic library a valuable experience.

Offer skills workshops

No matter the major of the students working in your school’s academic library, many of them have never held a professional job or internship before and could use a little guidance. With help from the educators at your library, student workers from anthropology whizzes to future MBAs can gain insight on the basics of office behavior 101. Get started by offering them hour-long courses that focus on skills like time management, resume writing or effective communication. Teaching “soft skills” can build up their confidence, make them better students and help them become more prepared for future opportunities later on in their college career.

Give regular feedback

Many employers give employees regular performance reviews - some more often, like quarterly, and some just once or twice a year. These reviews can be nerve-wracking for many, but are especially stressful for interns and students who have never experienced a formal performance review before. During their time working for you, try to give students constructive feedback as often as possible. This will will help them become comfortable with evaluations and can teach them how to set performance goals, setting them up for success in whatever career path they choose to take.

Provide mentorship for those who want it

For some students, extra help can make all the difference in their academic and professional careers. If there are students who express interest in learning more about working as a librarian or desire mentorship help, do your best to offer them guidance. By showing them what you’re working on and  including them in more behind-the-scenes library activities, you just might open up an entirely new career path that they never considered before.

What does your academic library do to enrich the experience of student workers?

Are you looking to boost your library’s profile among students? Offering extra resources and innovative programs is key. Check out our case study of Brazosport College, a Mango partner who did just that.

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Topics: Higher Ed

Rachel Reardon

Written by Rachel Reardon

Rachel works with some of the coolest marketers, designers, and writers around to help Mango look and sound its best. She loves bold colors, old books, the Montréal metro, and Star Trek. She has conflicting feelings about the Oxford comma.

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