The William H. Hannon Library employs over 100 students each year to maintain operations and keep the library open 24 hours a day, five days a week, plus weekend hours. Without the dedication and hard work of our student employees, we simply couldn’t provide the level of attention and service that the campus community has come to expect from us. While librarians are working to ensure that students are able to utilize, navigate, and understand the complexities of the 21st century information ecosystem, our student workers help to maintain the day-to-day operations, including processing new acquisitions, shelving (and reshelving and reshelving), preparing archival exhibitions, helping guests navigate our physical spaces, and serve as a friendly host to visiting patrons.
We thought we would check in on two of our student workers who have since graduated from Loyola Marymount University: Andrea and Kevin. Both worked in our Document Delivery Services department (the team that handles LINK+, basement/stacks retrievals, and interlibrary loan). We asked them a few questions about their experience working to the library and where they are now.
What department did you work for while employed at the William H. Hannon Library?
Andrea: I worked for Document Delivery Services, both receiving and preparing books and articles for exchange with other libraries through Link+ and ILLiad. I also worked in the Main Stacks, mostly doing retrievals and shelving, but also supervising other student employees.
Kevin: I worked in Document Delivery Services, which then merged with Collections. I mainly handled interlibrary loans.
How long did you work for the library?
Andrea: I worked at the library for about 18 months.
Kevin: Almost two and a half years.
What skills did you learn during your time here? Do you use any of them in your current profession?
Andrea: I considered this as my first real job, only having worked as a gas station attendant before. I learned how to effectively be part of a small team, not only taking care of my responsibilities but leaving things such that someone after me could smoothly step in and resume duties.
Kevin: It was a very first job, so learning how to properly interact with my various supervisors was very helpful for me to this day. I’m currently a student, but working with interlibrary loans have really helped me in my current position as Chief Research Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review because I often must collect books and articles to verify the citations in our articles.
How was the library a resource for you as you prepared to graduate and search for jobs?
Andrea: I credit my position at the library for providing the experience I needed in order to seek and be hired at my two subsequent positions while a student at LMU. It boosted my confidence to work with supervisors that valued me both as an employee and human being.
Kevin: I wasn’t looking for jobs at the time.
How did working as a library assistant give you better research skills, or aid in your academic growth at LMU?
Andrea: I learned how to use a library and find the resources available to me as a student. I regularly use my current library to access journal papers and texts that are relevant to my work now. I would not feel nearly as prepared without my experience working as a library assistant.
Kevin: It made me really comfortable with searching for physical sources in a library or navigating online databases.
What did you enjoy most (or least) about working at the library?
Andrea: I most enjoyed working with Orlando Penetrante, Chamero Mack, and George Garcia. These three made the library culture as warm and nurturing as it was. I have yet to appreciate and respect my superiors as much as I do them, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Kevin: I’m sort of a bibliophile, so I loved being around books. I also loved the people I work with. My supervisors were very nice and made my first job very enjoyable.
What is your current profession?
Andrea: I am currently a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering, with a year and half left before I get my PhD. After this, I intend to teach at the university level.
Kevin: I’m currently a law student in my final year of law school.
Do you feel that your experience working at the Hannon Library better prepared your for life after college?
Andrea: I do believe that my experience working at the library better prepared me in life. Prior to this job, I had gone through a trying time and did not think that I would be able to recover from it. Thanks to the belief in my abilities I gained from this role, I felt empowered to apply for engineering internship and research positions which ultimately brought me where I am now.
Are there any programs, services, or resources that you believe the library should offer/promote that can better aid in student success?
Andrea: There aren’t any specific programs, services, or resources that I think the library could promote better. I think the library is a resource that students will seek out when they are ready. So long as those employed are competent and well compensated, I think the library is a smooth-running institution that supports the growths of its employees and members.
Kevin: Hold workshops on using online databases.
Is there any advice that you would give to current student assistants on what to focus on in order to be a marketable candidate and/or a better student?
Andrea: I would advise current students to take pride in the work they do. While they may not see tangible benefit from it now, it will make a difference for their success in the long run. I also encourage current students to retain a certain level of innovation; if they notice something that could be done better, they should share their ideas to keep the system from stagnating.
As always, we are immensely grateful to our student employees. We are encouraged by their success and are delighted to know they are doing well after graduation. Did you work at the library while you were a student at Loyola Marymount University? We would love to hear from you! Contact John Jackson, Head of Outreach and Communications. Tell us what you’re up to, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. Special thanks to Rachel Deras and Chamero Mack for pulling this together.