Law Students No Longer Working in the Weir Library
This year, no law students are working as student library assistants in the Weir Law Library. Last year, contrast, all the student positions in the library were filled by law students. However, the library’s spokesperson says that their hiring policy has not changed and that an email from Law Career Services stating that the positions were not open to law students was incorrect.
Christine Brown, head of the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Weir Law library, explained that library assistant positions in both the Weir Library and other university libraries are open to students from all faculties. Last year, nine students were hired for the Weir Library and this year, 10 were hired. The library’s budget and the wages of student staff have not changed. However, last year, all the Weir Library’s staff were law students. This year, the staff includes several students from the School of Library and Information Studies, a political science student and a PhD student in music, but no law students. Why the change?
According to Brown, this year no law students applied for positions in the law library before the deadline. One of the law students who had worked in the library last year attempted to apply after the deadline and was told the positions had been filled. However, Brown said the library offered to assist this student in finding another job.
The problem seems to have been with how the jobs were advertised. Last year, an email was sent out to law students through the Law Career Services department notifying them that jobs in the law library were available. This year, no email was sent out. Brown says the jobs were posted on the library’s central website. I wrote to Law Services several times this summer asking for information about student positions in the law library, and was eventually sent an email stating that the positions were only available to students in the School of Library and Information Studies – not to law students. Brown insists this email was in error and students from one faculty are not favoured over another in the hiring process.
Law Career Services Officer Mandy Seidenberg states that a library staff member (someone other than Brown) told her that only Library and Information Studies students were being sought. Unfortunately, due to these miscommunications it appears no law students were aware that they could apply for the positions. Brown said she will look at changing how the jobs are advertised to ensure law students are aware of them.
Danni Chu, a third year law student currently on exchange who worked in the Weir Library last year, said she was informed for the job through an internal email sent out with the regular Law Career Services postings. Chu says she loved working at the library and it improved her own ability to use library resources and do research. She was not told that she could be rehired and never heard anything from the library staff since her last shift ended.
Brown also noted that the Weir Library prioritizes consultation with law students about programs and services through an advisory committee. Last year, the Law Library Student Advisory Committee included several law students, one of whom worked at the Weir library. “We did have input from students on the committee last year on various issues,” said Brown. This year, the committee does not yet have any membership and the library is seeking up to six law students to participate. More information on the advisory committee can be found at the following link: http://ualbertalibrarynews.blogspot.ca/2015/09/seeking-members-for-students-library.html.
Brown said she will be sending an email to all law students inviting them to apply for the Law Library Student Advisory Committee. The application deadline is September 22. Brown also encourages law students to apply for the student jobs in the law library next year, while stating that students from one faculty will not be favoured over another. Additionally, Brown notes that the other student positions in the U of A libraries are available to students in all faculties including law.