Library Student Employees Adapt For Remote Work

As one of the largest student employers on campus, the UCLA Library relies on student workers to bring their talents and unique perspectives to support Library operations. At the same time, students rely on the Library to help them pay their way through UCLA and to develop new professional skills. 

Throughout the pandemic, the Library has been working with student employees to re-align their work as we continue to move knowledge forward. Here, three Bruins briefly share how they were able to shift focus in order to address the Library’s fast-changing priorities. 

For Tianji Jiang, shifting focus meant pivoting from in-person duties at the Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library to assisting with online cataloguing and reference services. As a Ph.D. student in information studies, working for the Library has provided Jiang an “insider’s perspective” on how concepts operate in practice and the value of shared interactions. “I’ve learned much about communicating and cooperating with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds,” said Jiang.

Kaitlin Alcontin, a public affairs student who works at Powell Library, has likewise embraced the challenges of working remotely. With Library spaces temporarily closed, one of Alcontin’s priorities has been creating digital content to update students, faculty, and researchers about remote services. She also has been drawing from her own experiences to help the Writing Instruction and Research Education (WI+RE) program create online learning tools for fellow students. “I’ve gained creative skills related to graphic design, video editing and photography,” she said. And with its “emphasis on empathy and experimentation, WI+RE has helped me to grow as a communicator and educator.”

Student contributions continue to be a critical part of Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC), which lends laptops and other equipment. With responsibilities including software testing and scheduling equipment distribution, biology major Jeanelle Daus has observed firsthand the importance of access to technology. Along with ensuring students have the answers and support they need, Daus said she has gained valuable communication, organizational, technological and customer service skills. “Because I've been able to take these skills and apply them to other spaces,” she said, “I definitely feel I can take them into the real world when I graduate this December.”