By MIT Libraries’ student blogger, Pri Tembhekar
I’ve spent quite a few posts now describing resources offered by the Libraries. This week is about a resource that jumps off the page all by itself: money. The Libraries offer a range of paid positions for student workers, including jobs during the summer and IAP. Full information can be found at the student jobs page.
Jobs come in three major flavors. The first and most visible is circulation. These students may have helped you get books you reserved or check out materials. They also work to open and close the library and re-shelve books. Other responsibilities include answering questions, checking the shelves to make sure the materials are correctly placed and accessible, and retrieving materials from the stacks. The second is clerical. Fairly self-explanatory, this position includes ordering materials, stamping books, managing spreadsheets, sorting materials, and special projects like managing digital collections. Finally, students can also do storage and project work. The specifics of this job often depend on what is needed in the Libraries. That might be looking for books, applying barcodes, moving materials into storage, and helping with circulation and clerical duties. To get started you’ll need to identify the job you want, have at least some sense of your schedule, apply online, and fill out an I-9. One of the major advantages of these jobs, in addition to being paid, is the opportunity to work in a peaceful, beautiful space surrounded by books. To get an insider’s perspective, I interviewed Rebecca Navarro and Kaylee Brent on their experiences.
Name: Rebecca Navarro
Job and tenure: Circulation at Lewis Music Library, four years
Hours per week: I’m one of the crazy ones so I work between 12 and 20 hours each week. But it’s easy to get more or fewer hours.
Highlights of the job: I like the relaxed environment. I love the staff. They are really knowledgeable. Working at the music library has also given me an opportunity to continue to pursue music. My concentration is music and I’m really interested in it. The composer forums, open mics, live concerts, and other cool events bring music to me. I get to learn more about music and keep that passion alive.
Reasons for working at the Libraries: Honestly as a freshman it was because I needed a job for the money. I live in senior house so I actually know the music library exists. Reasons for continuing were that I love the staff that I work for. They are really accommodating. During finals week they allow for more downtime so that I can study but they also give me assignments when I’m bored.
Learnings on the job: I have learned how to use Barton, how to research properly at the library. I have also learned how accessible the staff is, even for obscure questions.
Take-away message: Don’t be afraid to ask for something you need. I see so many people struggling to find something that they could have found in a few minutes with my help, or the help of the staff.
Name: Kaylee Brent
Job and tenure: Circulation at Dewey Library, two years
Hours per week: About 10 hours a week.
Highlights of the job: I like that it is pretty easy work and that it is fairly flexible. I get to listen to music when I’m in the stacks. When I’m working at desk I can do some homework during downtime. I’ve also found out about some great resources.
Reasons for working at the Libraries: I needed money. I’ve worked a bunch of different jobs at MIT. This is low stress and reasonable. I have gotten to the point where generally people see me as competent. They are comfortable with giving me more control of the library. I don’t have to ask questions all the time.
Learnings on the job: I have learned how useful course reserves are! I haven’t bought a textbook in a while because I can use them for free in the libraries.
Take-away message: You should act in the first week of term to maximize opportunity for jobs. It varies by library what your responsibilities are.