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Chapter 4: Work Practices and Policies

Attendance at Library Student Assistant Party

Student assistants may attend the Library student assistant party for 30 minutes or one half hour of paid time. Those students who come to the party at times other than scheduled work periods may put 30 minutes on their timecards for this party attendance. Students who do not come to the party may not be credited with the 30 minutes.


You are eligible for a 15-minute break when working 3.5 consecutive hours. If you work 7 or more consecutive hours you are eligible for 2 fifteen minute paid breaks. Students working more that 5 consecutive hours are eligible for a one half hour unpaid lunch or dinner break. Arrangements for breaks should be made with your supervisor. 


Regarding Patron Records

All information about patron records and about library use is confidential information not to be discussed or shared with non-library staff. Any inquiry by non-library staff concerning patron records or library use should be referred to the Dean's Office.

Regarding Library Employees

When answering questions, either in person or by phone, about any library faculty, staff, or student assistants, simply ask for the person's name and telephone number, and tell her/him that you will leave a message with the party about whom she/he is inquiring. Do not give the individual any scheduling or other information that indicates when a staff member or student employee would be at work.

You may make an exception to the above if the party is well known to you and it is clear that the inquiry is a constructive one, for example in the case of a spouse calling about his/her spouse. But generally, take a message for the party about whom the question is being asked.

Department Head Initiated Transfers

Sometimes a student assistant is not performing satisfactorily in his or her current position but, in the department head's judgment, has the potential to perform satisfactorily in a different position. In such cases the department head may consult with the Student Employment Coordinator to determine whether an appropriate vacancy exists. If such a vacancy exists, the Student Employment Coordinator will notify the prospective new department of the situation and provide the appropriate information (application form and student evaluation, if available). If, after reviewing the paperwork and consulting with the original department head, the new department head wishes to consider hiring the student assistant, the student in question will be notified and given the opportunity to interview for the new position. Should the transfer not occur or no vacancy exist, and work performance does not improve, departments will follow the established policy regarding student dismissal.

Revised: February 19, 2010

Departmental Transfers of Student Assistants

Students wishing to transfer from one department within the Library to another may do so, if the following conditions are met

  1. The student assistant has demonstrated a satisfactory level of performance in his or her original department (the student assistant's evaluation form, and supervisor and department head will be consulted prior to approval of the transfer); and
  2. The student assistant's reason for transfer is considered reasonable by the department heads involved; and
  3. Both the original department head and the head of the department into which student wishes to transfer agree to the transfer.

Students wishing to transfer from one department to another should proceed as follows:

  1. Consult with their department head to inform him or her of the student's wish to transfer;    

    If the department head approves the potential transfer: 

  2. The student should consult with the Student Employment Coordinator to indicate his or her desire to transfer, fill out a student assistant application form, and determine what position vacancies exist in the Library; if an appropriate vacancy exists, the Student Employment Coordinator will contact the student supervisor in the new department, informing her or him of the student's desire to transfer and providing the student supervisor with a copy of the student's application form and evaluation forms;
  3. If the new department wishes to consider this transfer, the student supervisor and/or department head will interview the student and determine whether or not they wish to hire the student; if the decision is to accept the transfer, the student supervisor or department head will so notify the Student Employment Coordinator, who will initiate the appropriate paperwork.  The start date in the new position will be jointly agreed upon by the respective department heads. 



In most instances, normal school attire is satisfactory. For safety reasons, footwear is required at all times. Individual departments may have additional restrictions and/or preferences. Contact your supervisor if you have any questions. 

rev. 11/01/12

Enrollment Exceptions

Students on Work Study Employment payroll must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 undergraduate hours or 5 graduate hours per academic semester. International students must be enrolled full time, 12 hours for undergraduates/ 9 hours for graduates. Departmental students only need to be enrolled. Students are allowed to work during summer session without being enrolled, as long as they show enrollment the previous spring and the upcoming fall semester.

If a student does not meet enrollment requirements, a student supervisor and/or department head can request an enrollment exception through the Library Student Employment Coordinator, which must then be approved by the Financial Aid Office. Normally, the library will request an exception for a student only one time. There must be extenuating circumstances for us to request an exception for the same student more than once. 

Released: February 19, 2010; Updated: July 2016

Ethical Situations

If you ever encounter a situation while on the job in the Rod Library where you feel that you are being pressured or asked to do things that are contrary to the policies outlined in this manual, or that you believe are inappropriate (whether it be by a supervisor, a co-worker, or a library patron) we encourage you to seek assistance. Ideally, you will be able to discuss the issue with your supervisor. If your concern relates to your supervisor, we encourage you to talk to your Unit Head or the Library Student Employment Coordinator. We want you to know that you do not have to face uncomfortable or inappropriate situations alone or in isolation.

Food and Drink

Food and drink are allowed in Rod Library. Non-alcoholic beverages are allowed in covered, spill-proof containers. It is the individual’s responsibility to throw away wrappers, containers, and other trash in trash receptacles. Report major spills to library staff immediately, so we can arrange for clean-up. In the event of damage from food or drink to library materials or equipment, costs may be assessed to the responsible patron.

All food and drink are restricted from the following areas:

1. Special Collections and University Archives
2. During use of locked collections in Youth, Fine and Performing Arts, or Maps.

Care should be taken around other library equipment such as computers, microfilm reader/printers, scanners, etc.

Rod Library wants to maintain an environment that is appropriate for the protection of library materials and conducive to study. Food and beverages attract rodents, cockroaches, and silverfish and other unwanted pests that damage library materials. By complying with our policies, users and staff will help maintain a clean work environment and a pest-free building, and aid in the preservation of our collections, while enjoying food and drink in many areas of the building.

10/25/10 (rev. 09/2011; 08/2014)

Handling Complaints Regarding Offensive Computer Display

The Rod Library and the University of Northern Iowa value intellectual and academic freedom; individualized learning and the well being of UNI's students, faculty and staff. The library provides unmediated access to the World Wide Web and a variety of free and unrestricted resources. In some instances patrons may choose to view material that other patrons or library personnel find objectionable or offensive. The Rod Library aims to support the principles of intellectual freedom for all patrons, including online researchers, while at the same time maintaining a comfortable research and working environment for all.

Users of library computers are expected to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy for Library Public Computers, which says that "Users should be sensitive to the public nature of shared facilities and take care not to display images, sounds, or messages in a way that will negatively affect those who will find them objectionable or offensive. Display of internet content should comply with university harassment policies and state and Federal Laws; the UNI Policy on Use of Computing Resources; and all other applicable university policies."

If a library patron voices a complaint about an offensive computer display, your responsibility is to immediately notify your supervisor. The supervisor will follow through from there.

Headphone use while working

Individual library departments and units may decide whether or not their student assistants may listen to music through headphones while working. Each student position shall be considered individually. Within one department, there may be some student positions which allow use of headphones while working, while others in the same department, because of the nature of the work, do not. Such positions may require great attention to details or providing service to the public. Issues that departments should address include:

Illness and Emergency/Weather Related Closing

In case of illness or emergency notify your departmental supervisor as soon as possible before your scheduled shift. In case of weather related closing of the library contact your unit supervisor for further information regarding your schedule.

Misuse of Library Property

Library equipment such as typewriters, photocopiers, fax machines, computers, printers etc. for personal use is prohibited. Students may not use the library business phones for personal calls except in cases of emergency or with the permission from a unit supervisor.

Revised: February 19, 2010

Non-Work-Related Activity

While at work student assistants are expected to refrain from conducting non-work-related activity. This could include, but is not limited to, Library phones, personal cell phones, or computer communication and could include personal use of email, chat, text messages or social media. In case of an emergency, students may use library phones, personal cell phone, or personal email with permission from a unit supervisor. Student assistants should limit personal communications to scheduled break-times.

Personal communication during work time can interfere with productivity, attention to detail, and the service we provide to other library staff and patrons, and cause distraction to those around you.  We ask students to limit activities that might impact the ability to practice good customer service and fulfill work responsibilities.

Released: February 19, 2010 (revised, endorsed by DAG and Dean of Library Services June 21, 2017



Successful employment at the Rod Library will afford you a valuable reference during future job searches. You may ask for a written or verbal reference from your supervisor(s) before leaving the University or after. Please notify the individual when using him/her as a reference.

Student Use of the Staff Lounge

Student employees may use the Staff Lounge during a break or meal period while on duty at the library. They may not use it while off duty.  The Lounge is locked after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Students should request the key from the Library Services desk before their break and return it there afterward.  The Lounge must be locked and the lights turned off after use on weeknights and weekends.

Revised: February 19,2010; Updated July 2016; Dec. 19, 2018

Useful Telephone Numbers

  • Access Services - 273-2838

  • Administration & Planning - 273-2737

  • Fine & Performing Arts - 273-6252

  • Resource Management (Collections) - 273-7255

  • Dean's Office - 273-2737

  • Interlibrary Loan - 273-2912

  • Learning & Outreach - 273-3718

  • Liaison & Research - 273-2838

  • Museum - 273-2188

  • Special Collections/Archives - 273-6307

  • Cataloging & Metadata - 273-2781

  • Resource Management (Acquisitions) - 273-2801

  • Youth - 273-6167 

Work Schedules

You and your departmental supervisor will determine your work schedule based on your available hours and departmental needs. According to University of Northern Iowa policy 3.19 Student Employment, domestic undergraduate students employed by the University are limited generally to working 20 hours per week during the semester. In addition, students may work up to 40 hours per week during breaks and summer. Federal law mandates that International students who are employed by the University are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year. Students working more than one job on campus are responsible for making sure that they do not go over the weekly hour limits.

 Work Practices and Policies Section Revised: March 30, 2010; Second Revision: November 30, 2015

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