Students Make the Libraries Work!

Alex is shelving recently returned books.
Alex is shelving recently returned books.

By Kaia Sievert

Imagine this: You enter your favorite library on campus. On the way in, you pass a book return flap jammed open with returned books. Since you have a book to return, you set it on the floor nearby, and you wonder when—and if—it will be taken off your account. Then, you head off to find a book you need. As you near your section, you notice piles of unshelved books everywhere, in no particular order. The shelf where your book should be is empty. You decide to ask for help at the desk, but no one is around.

Now stop picturing this library dystopia and compare it to the last time you visited a library on campus. What is the difference between the two? Our wonderful student workers, of course!

How Student Workers Help You

Sara is preparing books to be put on the hold shelf, so you can pick them up.
Sara is preparing books to be put on the hold shelf, so you can pick them up.

Did you find your own book in the stacks? One of our student workers helped with that. Our students can shelve an average of 60 books an hour. Student workers like Alex also help keep the shelves in order, putting discarded books away and looking for books that are out-of-place.

Did you request a book to be placed on hold or delivered to your office? Your book probably would not have arrived without a student worker.

Throughout the day, our student workers find books you requested, send them to the correct locations, and put them on the hold shelf.

Have you asked a question at our desk? A student worker might have helped you too.

In addition to helping us keep the library in order and finding your materials, our student workers also help at all of our service desks.

Margaret is ready to check out your books or help you use the library.
Margaret is ready to check out your books or help you use the library.

University students are employed in all parts of the Libraries. The students pictured here are demonstrating only a small sample of the work students do. The truth is that we could not run the Libraries without the help of our student employees. Thank you to all student workers!

National Library Week

To see more behind-the-scenes work that goes on at the Libraries, follow us on Instagram! During National Library Week (April 12 through 18), we are sharing a special photo series, “UMN Libraries from A-Z.”

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