Student workers

October 16, 2006

There was some discussion on the Lone Arrangers blog concerning frustration with student workers, so I thought I’d pass on some tips I’ve learned over the 3 years I’ve been doing this.

  • Before they take job make sure they know they are actually going to have to work, not just sit and do homework. That’s the kind of job some are looking for.
  • It is a flexible schedule, but each students has specific hours when they are expected. I can’t have more than 2 workers at a time.
  • I stress that, while I’m understanding about school work load and will give them time off, they MUST let me know if they are not coming in. I give them my card for contact information (that always seems to impress them for some reason.) If they don’t show, and I haven’t heard from them, I e-mail them to find out if they are alright, or if there is a problem. It seems to drive home the fact that they need to let me know they aren’t coming.
  • I give them the complete tour, go over the rules for researchers and let them know they are responsible for helping me keep and eye on researchers. They accompany researchers to the copier and “guard the gates” if I leave the archives for a meeting or something. Since I take this seriously, so do they.
  • I stress many times, that if you’re not sure where something goes, or how to do something they should ASK. Our archives is very confusing, and unfamiliar territory for most.
  • I teach them a project, check several times that they are doing it correctly. Then I trust them, and so far they have lived up to the trust.
  • I try to be a friend and mentor, as well as a supervisor, so there is always discussion on what fun things we do over the weekend, how their classes are going, etc.
  • We all enjoy the great treasures that keep showing up in Archives.

I hope this is helpful to those who are just starting to use students. 🙂


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