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College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences News

Keeping the Library Open - Student Workers are Vital

by Sara Velasquez on 2021-04-15T09:47:00-06:00 in Library | Comments

Meet Two of Our Dedicated Student Employees

The College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences employs over 100 students during a typical school year. Student workers are vital to nearly everything that we do, whether the effort involves processing library materials, ensuring smooth business operations for UNM Press, assisting library users at our services desks, or helping with outreach and recruitment for our OILS academic program. By the time they graduate, our student employees have developed important skills and attributes that will help them succeed wherever their future pursuits may take them. It is a privilege to work alongside these students as they pursue their goals both during and beyond their UNM experience.

Student employee, Sarah SmithName: Sarah Smith

Major: Sociology and Communications

Hometown: Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Library/Team: Zimmerman Library – Access Services

Sarah has worked in University Libraries for 4+ years, promoting to the level of student peer supervisor. Along the way, Sarah has developed excellent customer service skills after many hours of assisting library users in the busy Zimmerman Library Learning Commons, leading fellow student workers on projects, and supporting library staff and services. Sarah has also provided essential support for Interlibrary Loan & Library Express, an essential service that provides online and physical research materials to UNM’s faculty, staff, and students.

What are 1-2 of the most valuable things you have learned as a student employee in University Libraries? Two of the most valuable skills I have learned from the library are leadership skills and people skills. I have grown so much in my ability to work with others and be confident in leading others.

What do you hope to do after graduation? After I graduate I am hoping to move to Denver to pursue a master's in Library and information Science at Denver University!

How do you see your library work experience helping you to pursue that goal? Working in the libraries has given me the opportunity to follow a career path that I wouldn't have thought of before starting college. All the experiences and skills I have learned over my four years working at Zimmerman have given me a great foundation for furthering my education and following a career in the field.

student employee, Riley HolstonName: Riley Holston

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Library/Team: Centennial Science and Engineering Library—Access Services

Riley has worked in University Libraries for 3+ years, promoting to the position of student peer supervisor. Over this time, Riley has developed and regularly displays exceptional customer service skills in finding the best way to assist students, faculty, and staff. Riley is a great peer and project leader.

What are 1-2 of the most valuable things you have learned as a student employee in the Libraries? I have learned so much about coordinating with others to get work done effectively and in a way that is accommodating but fair. I have led and assisted with several projects, including South Campus Repository preparations and collections inventory, which has taught me about helping my student coworkers understand their role in ongoing library projects. My ability to negotiate differences, communicate through misunderstandings and differences of perspective, and incorporate feedback and criticism have grown as well.

What do you hope to do after graduation? Once I graduate this semester, I plan to work and intern in various fields of human services and social work in order to gain experience in my preferred areas of expertise, such as with youth in mental health. I eventually hope to attend graduate school in either a social work or counseling program.

How do you see your library work experience helping you to pursue that goal? The interpersonal skills detailed above will be indispensable. The ability to communicate effectively both with one's coworkers and the individuals one serves is paramount, particularly when working with the diverse community we serve in New Mexico. Additionally, in any job, these skills are meaningful for building mutually beneficial relationships in the workplace that allow one to further their progress and wellbeing.


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