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Student Worker Guide: Guidelines

Library Student Worker Guidelines

Learning Outcomes

The librarian wants to ensure that you are receiving experience and learning opportunities that both benefit you now as a student, but also prepare you for a future in the working world. These learning outcomes will help to guide you in your position as a library student worker and help the librarian to assess the knowledge you have gained.

Upon the completion of the library student worker position, you should be able to:

  • Exhibit professionalism
  • Effectively communicate and provide exceptional customer service
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of library skills, including circulation, shelving, and reference interactions
  • Facilitate active and passive programming
  • Employ ethical ALA (American Library Association) standards in library tasks


The Irving Shapiro Library is an important component of the American Academy of Art. The library provides information, research materials, technology assistance, instruction, and other essential services to Academy students, faculty, and staff.

As a library student worker, you are essential to the functioning of the library! Your responsibilities include, but are not limited, to:

  • Assisting students, faculty, and staff with finding materials and checking these materials in and out.
  • Shelving books and processing magazines
  • Assisting students, faculty, and staff with computer, printer, and copier issues
  • Ensuring that books and materials are well organized and easy to find
  • Keeping the library a clean and welcoming environment
  • Communicating with the librarian via daily logs to ensure that projects and responsibilities are completed in a timely manner
  • Closing the library (evening shift)
  • Assisting the librarian in any special projects and requests

Besides being a part of the American Academy of Art, the Irving Shapiro Library staff are also held to library standards that have been established by the American Library Association and upheld by librarians for many generations. Later, we’ll go over the ALA Code of Ethics that all library workers should follow.


While you are at the library desk, your primary responsibility is to assist students, faculty, and staff who come into the library. Please be alert and appear available to people who may need your help. Do not sleep, wear headphones, or make phone calls (unless in case of an emergency) while sitting at the desk. Please keep personal conversations to a minimum.

Academic homework and recreational Internet use are permitted after all assigned tasks have been completed.

Food is not permitted at the library desk. Patrons may eat at the tables, but not while using the computers, magazines, or books. Please make sure any drinks brought into the library are covered.

Personal belongings should be left in your locker or stored underneath the library desk.

All tasks that you complete during your shift should be recorded in the daily work log.

Customer Service

Helping students, faculty, and staff is your most important job. Contrary to the stigma about librarians and library student workers, we spend a majority of our day helping and interacting with others. Customer service skills are a must. Keep these in mind:

  1. Be approachable. Make eye contact, smile, and acknowledge patrons who enter the library or approach the desk.
  2. Show interest. If you are helping a patron, stop whatever else you are doing and focus on them.
  3. Listen respectfully to the patron’s request and pay close attention to any questions. Ask for additional information if needed to clarify.
  4. Be knowledgeable about your job and provide the correct information. This is very important when working in a library. If you are unsure, or cannot do the requested action (process a fine, fulfill research/reference questions, etc.), refer the patron to the librarian.
  5. When the library is not busy, familiarize yourself with the library website, catalog, databases, this manual, and the Student Worker LibGuide. This will help you to gain confidence in the library’s functions and services so that you can answer questions.

Library Ethics

Library Ethics

Librarians are held to certain standards which have been established by the American Library Association. It’s important for you to know about these too so that you are providing a safe and user-focused library for all patrons.

ALA Code of Ethics

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

This means that you should ensure the following:

  • Do not give out any patron information, no matter who is asking. You cannot disclose what a patron has checked out, is currently reading, or any questions they had while in the library.
  • Provide a safe and welcoming atmosphere where people can freely do research, have discussions, and find information on a variety of topics, even controversial ones.
  • Treat your fellow library student workers and the librarian with respect.
  • Serve all patrons equally, regardless of how you feel about their request, the material they are checking out, or any other interaction you’ve had with them.
  • If there is pornographic or other dangerous material on any library computers, please log this in the Daily Log.
  • If you ever feel unsafe, contact Duncan Webb, Academic Dean, or any other faculty/staff who is available.