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Give Our Library Student Workers a Chance to Voice Their Opinions Zheng Ye (Lan) Yang Director of Direct Services Texas A&M University Library.

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Presentation on theme: "Give Our Library Student Workers a Chance to Voice Their Opinions Zheng Ye (Lan) Yang Director of Direct Services Texas A&M University Library."— Presentation transcript:

1 Give Our Library Student Workers a Chance to Voice Their Opinions Zheng Ye (Lan) Yang Director of Direct Services Texas A&M University Library

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3 Every work day… 800 interlibrary loan and in-house document delivery requests are processed 800 interlibrary loan and in-house document delivery requests are processed Lending request turnaround time is 24 hours Lending request turnaround time is 24 hours Borrowing request turnaround time is 5 business days, in general Borrowing request turnaround time is 5 business days, in general In-house document delivery request turnaround time is less than 72 hours for most items In-house document delivery request turnaround time is less than 72 hours for most items

4 Academic Library Department Student Workers are an indispensable component of the library operations

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9 The purpose of this paper is to find out… how the students perceive their library jobs how the students perceive their library jobs the working environment the working environment the work ethic of staff and students around them the work ethic of staff and students around them how well students communicate with their supervisors how well students communicate with their supervisors what training method is most preferred by the student workers what training method is most preferred by the student workers what motivates the students to do a good job what motivates the students to do a good job what most often triggers their resignation from the library what most often triggers their resignation from the library

10 Methodology The author distributed a survey in the fall semester of 2005 to all nineteen currently employed student assistants in ILS The author distributed a survey in the fall semester of 2005 to all nineteen currently employed student assistants in ILS The response rate was one hundred percent. The response rate was one hundred percent.

11 Results Among nineteen student workers currently employed by the ILS Among nineteen student workers currently employed by the ILS ten (52.6%) have been working in the ILS for less than one year ten (52.6%) have been working in the ILS for less than one year three (15.8%) have been with ILS for over one year three (15.8%) have been with ILS for over one year two (10.5%) for two years two (10.5%) for two years three (15.8%) for three years three (15.8%) for three years one student (5.3%) has been with ILS for her entire four-year college career one student (5.3%) has been with ILS for her entire four-year college career

12 ILS Has 264 Hours Per Week of Student Help Two student workers (30.5 hrs/wk) work in the borrowing unit Two student workers (30.5 hrs/wk) work in the borrowing unit Six (92.5 hrs/wk) in the lending unit, and eleven (141 hrs/wk) in document delivery Six (92.5 hrs/wk) in the lending unit, and eleven (141 hrs/wk) in document delivery Five students found the job in the ILS strictly through searching the website of Jobs for Aggies Five students found the job in the ILS strictly through searching the website of Jobs for Aggies The rest were recommended by friends who already worked in ILS. The rest were recommended by friends who already worked in ILS.

13 Student Handbook? The majority (84.2%) of students were not in favor of having a Handbook of Student’s Rules, sixteen of the students stated they would not read the handbook The majority (84.2%) of students were not in favor of having a Handbook of Student’s Rules, sixteen of the students stated they would not read the handbook

14 Job Knowledge Sixteen (84.2%) stated they learned the job through their supervisors’ thorough training Sixteen (84.2%) stated they learned the job through their supervisors’ thorough training Three (15.8%) didn’t think that their supervisor trained them thoroughly Three (15.8%) didn’t think that their supervisor trained them thoroughly Fewer than half (47.4%) the students would like to have a student training manual as a reference guide that details the step by step process of the work Fewer than half (47.4%) the students would like to have a student training manual as a reference guide that details the step by step process of the work Ten students (52.6%) liked the idea of having a library tour as part of their training to gain overall knowledge of the TAMU Libraries’ operation Ten students (52.6%) liked the idea of having a library tour as part of their training to gain overall knowledge of the TAMU Libraries’ operation Nine (47.4%) didn’t believe the tour would be helpful in doing their jobs Nine (47.4%) didn’t believe the tour would be helpful in doing their jobs

15 Job Assignment Only one student (5.3%) deemed that the daily job assignment was too much, the rest (94.7%) all regarded their job assignments as adequate Only one student (5.3%) deemed that the daily job assignment was too much, the rest (94.7%) all regarded their job assignments as adequate When reporting to work, nine (47.4%) student workers prefer to be assigned a specific task When reporting to work, nine (47.4%) student workers prefer to be assigned a specific task Five (26.3%) students prefer to decide how many requests that they could process on that day Five (26.3%) students prefer to decide how many requests that they could process on that day

16 As a student, how hard do you work? Fifteen students (78.9%) felt that they worked as hard as their fellow student workers Fifteen students (78.9%) felt that they worked as hard as their fellow student workers Three (15.8%) considered themselves hard workers than their fellow students Three (15.8%) considered themselves hard workers than their fellow students One (5.3%) modestly recognized his peers worked harder than he did. One (5.3%) modestly recognized his peers worked harder than he did. Eleven students (57.9%) perceived that they worked as hard as their supervisors Eleven students (57.9%) perceived that they worked as hard as their supervisors While eight (42.1%) regarded their supervisors as working harder than they did. While eight (42.1%) regarded their supervisors as working harder than they did. None of the students felt that they worked harder than the staff members in ILS None of the students felt that they worked harder than the staff members in ILS

17 Are you informed? Only two (10.5%) didn’t feel that the supervisor kept them informed about any changes in the procedures, workflow, and tips. Only two (10.5%) didn’t feel that the supervisor kept them informed about any changes in the procedures, workflow, and tips.

18 Can we talk? Thirteen (68.4%) felt free to voice their frustrations/concerns to their supervisors Thirteen (68.4%) felt free to voice their frustrations/concerns to their supervisors Six felt intimidated by their supervisors Six felt intimidated by their supervisors Two students (10.5%) indicated that the supervisor did not treat them with respect, but all nineteen students concurred that other staff members in the ILS treated them respectfully Two students (10.5%) indicated that the supervisor did not treat them with respect, but all nineteen students concurred that other staff members in the ILS treated them respectfully

19 Getting Information To Students When supervisors offer feedback, the majority (sixteen, 84.2%) prefer that the supervisor talks to them in person When supervisors offer feedback, the majority (sixteen, 84.2%) prefer that the supervisor talks to them in person Two (10.5%) prefer Two (10.5%) prefer One (5.3%) prefers notes/announcements/tips to be posted in a central location for everyone to read One (5.3%) prefers notes/announcements/tips to be posted in a central location for everyone to read The majority (fourteen, 73.7%) would rather have timely feedback if their work does not meet expectations than be evaluated by their supervisors at the end of each semester The majority (fourteen, 73.7%) would rather have timely feedback if their work does not meet expectations than be evaluated by their supervisors at the end of each semester A bit over half (ten, 52.6%) students liked the idea of having a meeting with all ILS students at the beginning of each semester, to be better informed about expectations, rules and regulations A bit over half (ten, 52.6%) students liked the idea of having a meeting with all ILS students at the beginning of each semester, to be better informed about expectations, rules and regulations Nine (47.4%) didn’t think that necessary to have a meeting Nine (47.4%) didn’t think that necessary to have a meeting

20 What Motives To Do A Good Job? Seven (36.8%) believed: “I made a commitment, and I would like to carry it through” Seven (36.8%) believed: “I made a commitment, and I would like to carry it through” Six (31.6%) thought: “a sense of accomplishment in a job well done” Six (31.6%) thought: “a sense of accomplishment in a job well done” Three (15.8%) felt: “everyone works hard in the ILS, and I want to contribute” Three (15.8%) felt: “everyone works hard in the ILS, and I want to contribute” Two (10.5%) chose: “I feel appreciated” Two (10.5%) chose: “I feel appreciated” One (5.3%) selected: “my supervisor sets a role model for me.” One (5.3%) selected: “my supervisor sets a role model for me.”

21 Raises Fifteen (79.0%) agreed that they were fairly rewarded with pay raises based on their performance Fifteen (79.0%) agreed that they were fairly rewarded with pay raises based on their performance Two (10.5%) did not agree they were fairly rewarded Two (10.5%) did not agree they were fairly rewarded Two (10.5%) had not yet received raises. Two (10.5%) had not yet received raises.

22 Reasons Students Chose to Work At ILS Eight (42.0%) responded “learning to balance my time between work and studies” Eight (42.0%) responded “learning to balance my time between work and studies” Four (21.1%) chose “purely to earn money” Four (21.1%) chose “purely to earn money” Four (21.1%) selected “training myself to be a responsible person” Four (21.1%) selected “training myself to be a responsible person” Three (15.8%) indicated “gaining some work experience.” Three (15.8%) indicated “gaining some work experience.”

23 Are You Happy Working At ILS? More than three fourths (16) of our student employees are happy working in the ILS More than three fourths (16) of our student employees are happy working in the ILS Three (15.8%) indicated that they are somewhat happy Three (15.8%) indicated that they are somewhat happy None chose “I am not happy working in the ILS, but I need to earn money.” None chose “I am not happy working in the ILS, but I need to earn money.”

24 Why Would You Quit? “the pay is too low” (chosen by eight students, 42.1%) was the trigger which would prompt most of our students to quit the library job “the pay is too low” (chosen by eight students, 42.1%) was the trigger which would prompt most of our students to quit the library job “the job is too boring” (three, 15.8%) “the job is too boring” (three, 15.8%) “I am not treated well” ( three, 15.8%) “I am not treated well” ( three, 15.8%) “the job is too tiring” (two, 10.5%) “the job is too tiring” (two, 10.5%) “I don’t get along with my supervisor” (two, 10.5%) “I don’t get along with my supervisor” (two, 10.5%) “the working atmosphere is not good” (one, 5.3%) “the working atmosphere is not good” (one, 5.3%) None chose “the work distribution is not fair” or “I don’t like the people.” None chose “the work distribution is not fair” or “I don’t like the people.”

25 Recommendations All our nineteen students would recommend a friend to work in the ILS if there were a vacancy All our nineteen students would recommend a friend to work in the ILS if there were a vacancy

26 Would You Work in a Library After Graduation? Two (10.5%) gave a positive “yes” Two (10.5%) gave a positive “yes” Seven (36.9%) firmly discarded the option Seven (36.9%) firmly discarded the option Ten (52.6%) thought “maybe”. Ten (52.6%) thought “maybe”.

27 Conclusions Student workers at the Texas A&M University Libraries’ Interlibrary Services feel very positive about the work environment Student workers at the Texas A&M University Libraries’ Interlibrary Services feel very positive about the work environment They perceive that everyone in the department works hard to achieve the mission of the TAMU Libraries which is to provide superior service and expedite requests to the patrons They perceive that everyone in the department works hard to achieve the mission of the TAMU Libraries which is to provide superior service and expedite requests to the patrons Student workers and their supervisors maintain good working relationships Student workers and their supervisors maintain good working relationships Low pay is considered to be the number one trigger to force student workers to quit the library job Low pay is considered to be the number one trigger to force student workers to quit the library job Respect and appreciation go both ways, only when we treat our students well can we hope to retain them for as long as possible with good performance and high productivity Respect and appreciation go both ways, only when we treat our students well can we hope to retain them for as long as possible with good performance and high productivity

28 Students’ Comments of the Survey “Thank you for taking the time to take the student workers’ opinions on the work environment. I believe this is truly a positive step in the right direction!” “Thank you for taking the time to take the student workers’ opinions on the work environment. I believe this is truly a positive step in the right direction!” “Thank you for always making us feel respected and appreciated!” “Thank you for always making us feel respected and appreciated!”

29 Thank you!


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