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Library Student Assistant Handbook: Library Policies

This guide contains everything you need to know while working at the UNH School of Law Library Circulation Desk

Food and Beverages

Food is now allowed anywhere in the library--except for the Kenison Room and the Gire Archives. Patrons may bring in beverages. Please ask patrons to clean up after themselves and dispose of food waste in the specially-marked gray trash barrels. It is your job to enforce this policy. Be firm, fair, and consistent.

Study Rooms

The Law Library maintains group study rooms for the exclusive use of UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law students, law faculty, and law staff. These five rooms for group work are on the first floor. The study rooms are available for group or individual studying or viewing of videos.  People may check out the key for three hours a day, not renewable.  Group Reservations (2 people or more)  should be entered in the study room notebook at the Law Library circulation desk.  Write both names clearly.  Note the hours (no more than 3 per day).  Rooms may not be reserved for more than one week in advance by groups of 2 or more.  If a group is more than ten minutes late for a reserved time, they lose the reservation and the room is open for use on a first come first serve basis.  Individuals may sign in and use rooms that are available at time of use but may not "reserve" a room.  During the exam period, rooms will not be checked out to individuals – even if no one else is using the room.

A reservation from the Registrar's Office "trumps" all other reservations and should be held for the entire time of the reservation.  Study rooms may be checked out by the Registrar's Office during midterms or finals. Room keys reserved by the registrar should be checked out to "Matthew Grady."

It's YOUR job

When there are no librarians here, it's your job to enforce the law library's rules and policies.  Sometimes students feel uncomfortable  reprimanding their friends and fellow students but, it must be done.  If you have to ask someone to change his or her behavior, the following "script" is recommended:

Student Worker (coming upon another student eating a big meatball sandwich in the IP Reading Room): Excuse me.

Offending Student (mouth full): Yeth?

Student Worker:  My name is (insert your name here.)  I'm working the library desk.  While eating IS allowed in the Law Library,  the sound of you chewing and that garlicky meatball smell is bothering other people.  Could you please finish that sandwich outside?

Offending Student:  Oh sure.  I forgot.  Sorry.

Student Worker:  Thank you.

The script calls for you to: identify yourself and why you're "in charge;"  identify the rule-breaking behavior; ask the offender to stop the behavior.  Almost every time, the offender will stop.  If he doesn't, just ask for his name, and give his name to Kathy Fletcher.  She will handle it upon her return.  It's important that you reprimand your friends as well as others, if there is an issue.  Remember the mantra:  Firm, Fair, and Consistent.

Dealing with Difficult Patrons

While working in the library you will encounter patrons who are dissatisfied and patrons who are breaking rules. Most of the time their problems arise because they don't like one of the library's rules, they can't find the information they are searching for, or the photocopiers aren't working. Here are some tips to help you provide good service even under the most difficult situations:

·Always identify yourself as a library employee before enforcing any rules (e.g. "Hi.  My name is Sue Ellen and I'm working the library desk right now.")  Enforce the rules consistently. Nothing irks people more than selective enforcement of the rules. Be firm, fair, and consistent.

Never tell someone that you cannot help them. Tell them you will help, even if it's only to give the person an acceptable alternative, or to find someone who can help.(Example: Suggest the State Law Library if a person does not have access to this library.)

· Knowledge is your greatest strength. Try to predict possible questions and know the answers.

· Be firm and polite. Never ever be rude!

· Find out how to deal with any potential copier problem. (The best way to learn about the photocopiers is hands on so don't shy away from trying to solve a problem even if you haven't seen it before. Read the screens!)

· Always Remain Calm,and Listen carefully to patrons and let them finish speaking before answering.

· If a person is upset, stay cool and tell them you understand they are upset and that they may have a valid reason. Sometimes if you say, "You might be right," they will calm down. Most people just want to be heard and their side understood. (Sort of like, "I feel your pain.")


Silent Areas

Conversation is allowed on the second floor and in study rooms, although in these areas it should be kept at a low level. Discourage people from using this area for study groups or meetings. When on the phone or when talking to others near the desk please keep your voice low.

All other sections of the library are "silent zones." (Including the stairway) If you find individuals conversing in any other location please ask them to be quiet or to move to another area. Present a good example by never talking in a silent area.


Keith Harrison