Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Student Assistants Value Employment at the University Libraries, Citing Excellent Work Experience and Flexible Scheduling

The Ball State University Libraries employ approximately 170 students part-time during the regular academic year, making the Libraries one of the top employers of students on campus. Over the summer sessions, there are about 80 student assistants.

There are always several projects in various stages at the University Libraries — and student assistants are a valuable resource in completing these projects or in serving the students and faculty who use the programs, services, and collections of the Libraries.

Student assistants who work at the University Libraries report that they value the experience, saying the work contributes to their professional and personal growth.

“This job has taught me how to quickly adapt to many different situations,” said Jonathan A. Byrd, a graduate student from Muncie. Currently, Jonathan works in the Education Resources Collections (ERC) and helps people to find materials and check out the items from the ERC. He also works on projects that improve the unit’s programs, services, and collections.

“I appreciate my supervisors who provide a good work environment and understand the scheduling demands placed on students,” he said. Jonathan plans to obtain a doctorate degree in English and teach at a university.

Holly C. Hampton, from Anderson, is another student assistant who works in the Educational Resources Collections. She is enrolled in Ball State’s elementary education program. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in elementary education or school psychology. In the course of a day, Holly works on a variety of tasks, such as shelving material, equipment inventory, and answering the telephones. She also assists students and faculty at the ERC circulation desk by retrieving material they need for research and learning.

“Working in Educational Resources has been very helpful for my elementary education major because I am exposed to children’s books, textbooks, videos, and realia items that I can use in lesson plans and unit plans,” she said. “I have also learned valuable customer service skills through workshops and interactions with patrons.”

Holly says working at the University Libraries has provided her with a better understanding of the importance of always greeting people with a positive attitude and helping them get their questions answered as completely as possible.

“Customer service is really about taking that extra step to make sure that a patron finds what he or she needs and has a positive experience in the Library,” Holly added.

“This is so much more than a job to me. It is a valuable opportunity to work with other motivated students in an educational environment,” she said. “This job has really helped me feel like a connected, contributing part of the Ball State community. Bracken Library is the central location on campus where learning and social interaction take place and it is rewarding to be part of that on a daily basis.”

Abby J. Foltz, a junior student from Greenville, Ohio, works in the University Libraries’ Dean's Office. Abby performs office tasks such as filing, making folders, organizing, running errands, and various computer tasks.

“Most of the students on campus complain about their jobs, but my job has taught me that work doesn't have to be a pain! I'm very fortunate,” she said. “Working at the Library has proved to be beneficial to me because I have become acquainted with all the resources it has to offer, and it has helped me do well in school!”

Abby is in the speech pathology program and plans to attend graduate school to prepare for employment in a hospital or rehabilitation center to work with those who have traumatic brain injuries.

Kylee B. Younts, a student assistant in Access Services, helps students, faculty, and staff as they check out materials. She also handles searches, organizes carts of materials to be re-shelved, and sometimes answers questions from library visitors.

“Ever since I was seventeen, I’ve been working in customer service, so I’ve understood the value of hard work, service, and working with others. However, from working at Bracken Library, I’ve come to a complete understanding of working with others. It’s important to have a professional and friendly relationship with your coworkers,” she said.

Kylee is from Centerville, Indiana, near Richmond, and she is majoring in elementary education with a concentration in kindergarten. After teaching a few years, Kylee says she may attend graduate school for a degree in library science or return to Ball State for a degree in nursing.

“Working at the library has been a wonderful opportunity, and it’s given me a chance to meet amazing people. This job works well around my schedule and gives me a few extra dollars in my pocket!”

Amanda D. Hunt, a student assistant in Archives and Special Collections, said that she has learned a lot about archival practices, and this fits perfectly with her long-term goals to become an archivist. Amanda, who is from Vincennes, Indiana, is working toward a degree in history and plans to obtain a master’s degree in library science some day.

“I’m growing more confident in what I am able to do and am more willing to try new projects,” Amanda said. “I’m always learning how to do something new.”

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