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Student Library Assistant Training Guide: Customer Service

This guide was created to assist FSCJ campus libraries in training student assistants. These web resources and tutorials could be used with training materials specific to each LLC.

Job Expectations

As an employee of FSCJ and the LLC, it is important that you demonstrate excellent public service skills. Our main goal is to assist patrons (students, staff, faculty) in a friendly, helpful way.

Be readily available to help the library staff. That means stay nearby for the staff to call on you as needed.

Be willing to perform the tasks that you are trained to do in a competent and complete manner.

If you do not know how to help someone, take the time to direct them to a staff member who can assist them.

How to Give Courteous Service

  • Assist a patron in a friendly, attentive manner. Greet them with a smile!
  • Use good listening skills when helping a patron.
  • Ask questions, repeating to make sure you understand what a patron wants.
  • Try to be helpful, but if you don’t know the answer, refer the patron to a staff member.

We Depend on You!

Without our student assistants, we would have a hard time keeping the library organized. We rely on you to help us with the daily tasks, but we also need you to help us take care of the patrons.

When we are busy at the Circulation and Reference Desks, or short-staffed, we cannot walk away from the front counter. We depend on you to help patrons find the book they need in the stacks or help them with their printer and computer issues. We need you to run errands to other departments. All these things, and more, help us to do our jobs better! Thank you!

That's why it is so important to us that you:

  • Show up to work!  Call if you will be late.
  • Perform your job duties correctly; correct your mistakes.
  • Ask questions if you aren't sure how to do something.

Patron Privacy

By law, the patrons have a right to privacy concerning what library materials they borrow. For this reason, student assistants are trained on patron privacy.

They also shouldn't hang out behind the Circulation Desk, where they could view a patron's records.

How to End a Conversation

We all like to take breaks to talk with friends and co-workers. We want to be friendly when patrons start to chat with us. However, we also need to be mindful of the time, so here are some strategies to excuse yourself from a conversation:

End it on a positive note. "It's been good talking to you, but I should get back to work now." or "Let's talk more before class. I gotta finish shelving these books." or "...I gotta see if the library staff needs me."

Sum up or agree with what they just said, then end it. "Alright. Anyway, take it easy man." or "Wow, it sounds like you have a lot going on. I'm sorry we can't talk longer, but I've got to...."  Then redirect your attention to the next patron, your computer, the book shelf/cart, etc.

Use non-verbals that show you're ready to end the conversation:

  • Stand up, if you've been sitting down.
  • Start moving in the direction you were originally heading.
  • Start to give quicker, shorter responses--"Yep, yep, yep, totally. Anyway, I should get back to..."
  • Look more frequently at the thing you need to get back to, e.g. the book shelf, the front desk, before you started chatting.
  • If the conversation hasn't wound down, actually get back to the thing you need to do at the same time you're talking.