September Staff Meeting

The first staff meeting with the student assistants went really well! I had a full agenda of topics to discuss and everyone was engaged and full of ideas (the extra sugar from bringing cookies seemed to help).

One of the challenges that comes with working in the Read MMM is our location within the basement. It is nearly impossible to find your way around and people often accidentally stumble upon us while trying to retrieve laundry or grab a snack from the vending machine. One way to strengthen presence within the building is through social media. The staff and I discussed switching from using a Snapchat account to Instagram. We brainstormed some daily hashtags and one SA even suggested doing a movie battle to engage patrons to vote and interact with the account. One SA mentioned how they gave snack sized candy to patrons if they followed us on social media; I thought this was a great idea to reel people in and have them subscribe to our updates on platforms they already check regularly. It will be interesting to see how that influences check out rates or awareness.

I also suggested encouraging patrons to sign up for Renter’s Rewards; for each item that a patron checks out they add a sticker to a little cut-out with their name on it, which is then pinned to the bulletin board. When a patron gets 5 stickers, they get a full-size candy bar. This month, the little cut-outs are IU’s Trident and we have had a few patrons sign up so far. Our marketing SA and local Read RA, Kyle, has been giving tours of the MMM and letting visitors know about the free candy opportunities could help draw people in.

Next, we discussed ordering and changes to materials. We have had requests for video games and board games to staff as well as the suggestion box. One SA volunteered to generate a list of popular PlayStation 4 games that could be helpful to add to the collection. Another SA has a strong interest in foreign films and suggested that we organize the foreign film collection by country of origin. While I liked the idea, I thought the implementation might be tricky as far as shelf-reading and re-shelving would go. I asked if she would mind creating a list of foreign films by their countries of origin and offered to brainstorm how to incorporate this piece of information into the collection. I am also getting stickers with music notes to add to the musical collection and foreign film stickers to add to the corresponding films; my hope with these stickers is to make shelving these materials easier (currently SAs have to look at a list and then put items where they belong).

Finally, we discussed how the current schedule is working out. Everyone enjoys the consistency of having a set block schedule that changes every other week. Planning the monthly staff meeting on Sunday works great for everyone’s schedules, so I will keep that consistent going forward. Based on the feedback, I will try to keep a standard schedule as much as possible. Of course, life happens and schedules change as the semester goes on, but adjustments can be made to the standard.

Overall, I thought the staff meeting went really well and I heard a lot of suggestions and positive feedback from the student assistants. It is really encouraging that a couple of them have volunteered on side projects that will help make the MMM even better and I’m excited to see what these changes look like!

A New Face

This week I had a meeting with Shawn, my supervisor, and a Read Residence Assistant named Kyle. In this meeting, Shawn introduced Kyle as a new Student Assistant. However, his role is very different than the Student Assistants I am in charge of. Instead of completing the usual Student Assistant tasks (discharging items, shelf-reading, checking out items to patrons, etc.) Kyle would be promoting the MMM to the residents of Read. Kyle is enthusiastic, friendly, and well-connected in the Read community and I was eager to hear how he could help.

Shawn suggested that Kyle give tours of the MMM to residents. This would help physically bring people into the space, as well as raise awareness of our existence in the basement. I thought this suggestion would be really beneficial for all–it would encourage patrons to visit and use this wonderful service that is free, which would increase check-out and patron count statistics, and finally it would help build relations and community between Kyle and a variety of residents.

We also discussed how the MMM could host programs in conjunction with other RAs or organizations within Read. The libraries within Residential Programs and Services have access to movie licenses, which allow people to host movie nights with newer titles (often times before the movie is released on DVD). Kyle suggested working with another RA who has been brainstorming a Study Buddies group that would meet every other week to work on homework. Shawn said that the MMM could offer snacks or even some small study supplies and introducing the event with help from the MMM would allow yet another opportunity to promote the materials and services that we offer.

Kyle and I are planning on meeting at least every other week, if not every week to plan, advertise, and implement programs for the residents of Read. I am eager to see how this inside connection will foster symbiotic relationship for all of the stakeholders involved.

Opening Day

Opening day was a success! I was really lucky as a CS because I had seven returning staff members. I conducted one interview before I trained my staff and after meeting with the returning staff, it became very clear that seven was the magic number. Since all of the SAs were returners, the staff training was mostly a refresher about policies and procedures and a brainstorming session about programming and preference for scheduling. It was great meeting face-to-face with the SAs and they all seemed very bright, eager, and full of ideas! Since many of them had worked at the MMM before, they had valuable information to someone who had not worked in the MMM before (me). I spent the week before opening getting ready the center ready. I created a display, “Find Your Niche at Read” which showcased various DVDs accompanied by a little tag with the name of the genre that the film belonged to. The residential libraries have a check-out promotion where renters can get a full-sized candy bar when they check out 5 items; I created a “Renter’s Rewards” bulletin board for renters to write their name on an IU trident and add stickers, which denote each time an item is checked out, to. I also dusted the space, organized the cabinets, and became familiar with the materials in the collection. I adorned a few of the utility poles in the middle of the MMM with cream and crimson streamers to add a welcoming flair to the space. We had a few patrons trickle in and check out the space. One issue with the MMM is visibility. The MMM is located in the basement of the Read Residence Hall and it is a labyrinth down there. One goal is to create a solid presence of the MMM within Read so residents can find us!

Training and Preparation

The past week has been filled with an overload of information about a range of topics that include hiring and training staff to ordering materials into the collection. As a manager of a Music, Media, and More at a residence hall on on-campus, I am in charge of many elements that keep these types of centers up and running. The training was 5 days; the first few days mainly involved presentations and tutorials about procedures and instructions for administrative duties as a manager. This includes information about how to hire, train, and communicate with our staff. We also learned how to track our employee’s hours, approve their time sheets, and submit reporting for payroll. Collection development, ordering office supplies, and receiving new items were very practical skills that happen behind the scenes within libraries and information centers, but are important functions to know. However, I found the sessions about programming and marketing to be the most interesting. There is a large network within the Residential Programs and Services that I had no idea about. Reaching out to various members and planning programs for patrons and residence is what draws people in and creates a sense of community for students in their home away from home. I am excited to take this new knowledge and brainstorm programs and displays that will draw patrons in to check out the impressive collection of movies, CDs, TV series, board games, and video games available to them for free!

About Me

Hi all! My name is Amy Minix and I am a second year master’s student studying information and library science. I am a graduate assistant at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and I recently accepted a position as a Center Supervisor (CS) at a Music, Media, and More (MMM) at a residence hall here on-campus. My role as a CS is to manage a staff of undergraduate student assistants (SAs), maintain and grow a collection, and plan programs for patrons and residents. Managing the MMM will provide me with first-hand experiences that librarians deal with on a day-to-day basis, which is invaluable as a graduate student. I’m hoping the skills and knowledge I gain here will establish a strong foundation as a leader within libraries and information centers. Besides attending classes and working, I also enjoy reading (surprise!), collecting vinyl records, and attending concerts.