Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley Library

LAUC-B and Library Staff Research bannerUC Berkeley

As the highest-ranking public research library in the U.S., the University Library at Berkeley provides the intellectual resources to support the University's diverse teaching and research activities. It has enabled generations of Cal scholars to teach and learn, to reflect on the past and shape the future, and to advance human understanding and knowledge.

Cover page of Cultivating Public Service Competencies in Student Employees: A Case Study

Cultivating Public Service Competencies in Student Employees: A Case Study

(2021)

How can we best train student employees for public service roles? At UC Berkeley, as in many academic libraries, a student employee is the first person that a user will see when entering the library; they are the “face of the library.” A positive interaction will set a positive tone for the user’s library experience, while a negative interaction may discourage the user from ever visiting the library again. As such, it is critical to prepare student staff with the competencies to engage positively with library users and feel confident in their roles. This paper shares a case study of a public services training piloted for Access Services student employees at UC Berkeley.

Library Staff Morale in the Academic Hierarchy

(2021)

Academic librarians have increasingly gone public with their experiences of low morale and burnout, yet less attention has been paid to the workplace experiencesof library staff. As Kaetrena Davis Kendrick notes in her work on the persistent harm of low morale among librarians, “the cost of silence can be high.” Our research team includes library staff, former library staff, a recent MLS grad and MLIS student, and librarians. Through 34 structured interviews with academic library staff nationwide, we seek to demonstrate how organizational culture, library hierarchies, and management style affect staff morale. In this webinar, we present our findings establishing that efforts to address equity in compensation, provide professional growth opportunities, and create more collegial work environments can all improve staff morale. Finally, wesuggest how you can make changes in your own libraries to assess and improve morale across staff hierarchies.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

#LibraryStaffLife: Improving Staff Morale in Academic Libraries 

(2021)

Academic librarians have increasingly gone public with their experiences of low morale and burnout, yet less attention has been paid to the workplace experiences of library staff. As Kaetrena Davis Kendrick notes in her work on the persistent harm of low morale in library settings, “the cost of silence can be high.” Our research team includes library staff, former library staff, a recent MLS grad, and librarians. Through 35 structured interviews with academic library staff nationwide, we seek to uncover how organizational culture, library hierarchies, and management style affect staff morale. In this poster, we present our findings establishing that efforts to address equity in compensation, provide professional growth opportunities, and create more collegial work environments can all improve staff morale. Finally, we suggest how you can make changes in your own libraries to assess and improve morale across staff hierarchies.

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Planning an Entry Sequence with Service Design:  A Case Study

Planning an Entry Sequence with Service Design:  A Case Study

(2020)

How might we plan user-friendly entrances for the library? For this project, we learned about and applied service design tools to an entry experience at an academic library. Service design means working to understand users and applying this understanding to the creation or refinement of services. After learning about service design, we created six user profiles and walked them through different entry scenarios to examine each step. Then we created easy-to-understand graphics to provide library leadership with planning materials.

Training Student Employees in Public Service

(2020)

How can we teach student employees to interact positively with patrons? At UC Berkeley, Access Services supervisors worked with Reference and Instruction librarians to create a training to better equip student employees to interact with the public and learn basic reference tools. The “Public Services and Effective Referrals Training" teaches student employees how to 1) Apply public service guidelines, 2) Deploy de-escalation techniques, 3) Make effective referrals, 4) Navigate key search tools, and 5) Identify methods for seeking research assistance. The program has been running since 2016, and we have trained over 200 student employees. We believe that all student employees should receive training on these basic tools to excel at their jobs and their studies.

  • 1 supplemental video
Cover page of On Scholarly Book Awards in Anthropology

On Scholarly Book Awards in Anthropology

(2020)

A brief article that explores how and why academic book awards are proliferating, and how anthropology book awards may be used in academic library collecting.

Planning an Entry Sequence with Service Design

(2020)

Celebrate the possible with service design! The design of academic libraries is often rooted in the history of the institution. But how might these processes be improved to meet the needs of today’s users? Join us as we discuss our year long journey learning about service design and applying service design tools at UC Berkeley. We will share how we examined the entry sequence from the perspective of various user groups to meet user needs. Ideally service design incorporates user observations and feedback, but we will show you how service design tools and principles can be used even while a library is closed during a pandemic. After this session, you will be ready to embark on your own service design journey.

  • 1 supplemental video
Cover page of Educating the Central Asian Librarian: Considering the International MLIS in Kazakhstan

Educating the Central Asian Librarian: Considering the International MLIS in Kazakhstan

(2020)

Why do Central Asian librarians enter the profession, and how do they decide which educational strategies to pursue in developing their careers? Using 13 conversations and 10 qualitative interviews with Kazakh and Kyrgyz librarians, this chapter finds that librarians enter the profession due to personal interest, by happenstance, or for university funding and continue when they perceive an opportunity for career growth as well as salary mobility. Central Asian librarians evaluate their educational options, including local bachelor's degrees; distance education from Russia; MLIS programs in Asia, Europe, or America; and short-term online training, while balancing family responsibilities and career prospects in and outside of librarianship. Prospects for creating a local MLIS or other improved professional training programs are discussed.