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Shumaker 1

Vincent Shumaker
Professor Rebecca Agosta
UWRT 1101-007
1 April 2017

Observation of Library
Guiding Questions:
How does the library run daily?
Who works here?
How can I tell workers from students?
How can a student utilize everything here?

Notes and Descriptions:

I finished some school work in the silent area on the bottom floor and decided to
start with my observation. Walking out, one of three janitors I saw that day came in
to take out the trash. I knew he was a janitor because he was toting around a cart
with cleaning supplies, but he didnt seem to have on a uniform of any kind. I
walked upstairs to the ground floor and witnessed the someone assisting a student
with printing, as I have been helped the same way before. The person assisting
wore a bright green shirt. She showed the student how to use the computers linked
to the printers and stayed with them until the task was complete. It was hard to
make out what was said, probably because I have horrible hearing. I continued
roaming around the library. I saw the clerks at the front desk. They had no uniform,
but one of them was wearing a lanyard around his neck with a badge hanging from
the end. I stopped to see if anyone would interact with them. No one came up to the
front desk and after a few minutes I decided to move on. Across from the front desk
is the resource center, where I witnessed a student using the computer there. In the
glass cubical sat another person wearing a badge around their neck. I waited to see
if anyone would interact with them, for much longer than before. While I was
waiting, I could see the front desk and kept an eye for anyone coming up to the
front or the person in the cubical. No one needed their services. As I roamed I saw
many students using all the tools provided for them, mainly computers spaced
throughout the library, but other things as well. There is a wall that is meant for
students to wright on and a wall for students to place Legos on. I roamed the entire
library and found no room without occupants, unless it was a study room that must
be reserved to use it. Some doors in the library require a key card for entry. I saw
another bright green shirt in a section filled with toys and what looked like junk to
me, all stuffed in bins. She appeared to be taking an inventory of some kind,
because she had a clipboard in hand as she inspected the shelves. When I walked
by, she asked me if I needed any help finding something. I replied No, thank you.
In this section was someone with a child and they were both playing with a toy.
Later, while I was doing some more schoolwork, I witnessed what looked like the
library handy man hang a picture. He asked another man who worked in the library
Shumaker 2

to help him in lifting the picture. After it was up he seemed to look at this man for
his approval. There was a nod and the handyman went about his business.

I didnt see many workers. Only the student workers and the janitors roamed
the library. Everyone else sat in a chair and waited to be approached. I assumed
that the man working with the handyman was a manager because of the way his
approval was needed. There appears to be systems in place that take the need of
interaction away. For example, the person using the computer to find something
instead of talking with the resource librarian at the resource center. There is more to
the library than what I witnessed. Some floors are only available at certain times. I
only roamed the four main floors because this is where the most action is. The
interactive walls seem to be some form of stress relief, there are many interactive
installments in the library. This implies that college life is stressful and needs

Interview with Najir Johnson, student worker at the front desk

Q: (1) What do you do daily, like how do you typically do your job every day?
A: Well, mainly I just come in, all I really have to do is just rent out laptops to
people and if they need any assistance with computers or printing or something like
that, I assist them with that as well.

Q: (2) Any special tools that you use? I guess like, the computer, the scanner?
A: You mean like a website or something?
Q: A website could be something.
A: We use this, worldshare, oclcworldshare, to check-in things like laptops.

Q: (3) How do you communicate with your coworkers? Do you have special tools
that you use or do you just do it verbally?
A: I just do it verbally since theyre so close.
Q: Does anyone else? I know that some of the student workers walk around. Do
they have walkies to talk to each other?
A: Roamers. I think they just report in verbally, because I personally dont do that
so I dont know.

Q: (4) Are you critiqued by anyone?

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A: Not really.
Q: Does anyone check up on you and make sure youre doing your job?
A: This job is too easy to really do anything wrong.

Q: (5) Is there any vocabulary or, like, abbreviations that you would use only at
A: Lets see, um.
Q: Like special terms that you guys use with each other?
A: We say Circ Desk, which is just this desk here, circulation desk.
Q: So abbreviations for areas?
A: Uh Im trying to think, Im sure there are, its just right now that Im on the
spot I cant think of any.
Q: If you think of any just let me know. Who do you use it with? Is that just to tell
someone to come to a desk or area?
A: Yea thats pretty much it.

Q: (6) Why do you think your role is important? For the workings of the whole
A: Well, students need laptops and help with computers and it would be too much
work if it was just those two over there just doing it all (motions towards the front

Q: (7) What skills do you need for the job? Computer skills?
A: Ha-ha yea, you need to know how to move a mouse, um, scanning objects, and
you know with Word and PowerPoint, you know, having basic knowledge of that
Q: You assist students in doing their work?
A: Mhmm, and with printing.

Q: (8) Did you get training from anyone for this position?
A: Yes, I
Q: Who trained you?
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A: Well I got this job around September before our old boss, before she retired. She
trained me, she just walked me around and introduced me to the place, and after
that I just shadowed someone who was doing this job and just watched them do it.
Q: Was that like a boss for just the student workers, or like the whole library?
A: Just the student workers.

Problem posing questions:

Why is there so little interaction with the employees?

How important are the student workers to the librarys daily workings?
What systems are in place to assist the students?

Related Interests