Skip to Main Content

Student Worker Handbook: General Expectations

What you need to know to excel as a library assistant

Library Student Worker Job Description


  • Assisting patrons at the desk 

  • Checking materials in and out 

  • Shelving books and DVDs 

  • Helping patrons find resources in print and online 

  • Keeping the library spaces tidy and clean 

  • Assisting students with printing and copying 

  • Answering the phone 

  • Tracking questions answered and patrons counted 


  • Good customer service skills 

  • Detail oriented 

  • Servant minded 

  • Punctual 

  • Dependable 

  • Self-starter 

  • Team worker 


  • Daytime and evening hours are required 

  • You could be scheduled anytime between 7:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

Handling of Money

Student workers are not responsible for handling cash.  If a patron needs to make a cash payment, find a library staff member to handle the transaction.  Online payment of fines is encouraged.  The link is on the library website.

Avoid Eating At Work

  • In general, student workers should not plan to eat while on duty.
  • A bottled drink is acceptable while at the desk. Keep liquids away from computers and library materials. 
  • Student workers should not have meals while on duty. If you need to eat a meal, you should sign out. 
  • Occasional snacks are allowed, but this should not be a habit.

Behave and Dress in a Professional Manner

  • You are the public face of the library when you work at the desk. 
  • What you do shapes your fellow students’ perception of the library. 
  • Be courteous, respectful, and professional in the way you act and speak.
  • Dress in a way that represents the university well.

Be Welcoming and Helpful

  • Smile and be friendly. 
  • Be helpful to everyone entering the library building. 
  • Refer patrons to a librarian if you cannot help them.
  • Keep an eye out for patrons who might need assistance.
  • Do not wear earbuds, earphones, or headphones while working.

Be Prepared to Work During your Shift

  • Be punctual.
  • Inform your supervisor as soon as possible if you will be late for a shift or unable to work an assigned shift.
  • If you know that you will miss a shift, you are responsible for finding a replacement.
  • ​Do not expect to have study time while you are at work.
  • Library tasks must always be completed before doing your homework. 
  • Check off tasks as you complete them.


Follow staff Directions

Your supervisor will be assigning schedules, signing timesheets, and directing responsibilities.  However, remember that you work for the entire library staff.  You should treat all librarians and staff members as your boss.

Maintain Confidentiality

It is never acceptable to divulge who has checked out an item.  If someone thinks they need this kind of information, ask a staff member for assistance. There are ways to assist with locating material that do not break confidentiality. Other personal information in a patron’s record is private as well. You may not access patron records to look up a phone number, e-mail, or address. This is a legal issue, not just a SWU policy.  Breaking this policy may result in loss of your job.

Take Initiative

If you see something that needs to be done, and you know how to do it or have an idea of how to contribute, do it.  If you have ideas on how something can be done more effectively, talk to a staff member.  We encourage you to use your gifts and talents to improve library services.   

Communicate with Your Supervisor and Fellow Workers

  • Tell someone when you are leaving. 
  • If you are the only one at the desk, inform a staff member that your shift is about to end so that someone else can staff the desk after you leave. 
  • Let a staff member know where you will be working in the library if you are not going to be at the front desk.  
  • If something isn’t working well or there is a problem, discuss the matter with a staff member before you get frustrated or angry.
  • If you need to leave a note for a member of the library staff, be sure to include date, time, your name, and any other information such as patrons or others who need to be contacted. It is vital that notes are detailed in case questions arise.

Maintain A Positive Attitude

The library staff functions as a team. The full-time staff members do whatever is needed and help each other out. The same is expected of student workers – help each other and help the full-time staff. 

  • Your attitude is a key to teamwork. 
  • Do all things without grumbling or complaining.
  • Treat your neighbor well.