Alkek student workers help keep the library open 24 hours for students during finals season by choosing to work late hours in the night. Student workers enjoy the benefits of helping other students, while studying for their own exams and earning higher pay.
Alkek is open 24 hours weekdays starting May 6 and ending May 15, closing at 11 p.m. on the last day of final exams for the spring. Finals season provides student workers with opportunities to earn more money by working longer hours.
According to Gaye Wood, library assistant, there are over 100 Alkek student workers, including 12 in her division. The students in her department normally work one to four hour shifts, but the hours may increase to six hour shifts during finals week.
Wood says it takes resources like an increase in student workers willing to work the late shifts and security to keep Alkek open 24 hours, but it can be difficult to get people to cover certain shifts due to final exams. When students work during finals, it is on a sign-up basis.
“It takes dedication, hard work and flexibility of student workers to keep Alkek running smoothly during finals,” Wood said.
Desereah Tolbert, elementary education senior, is a student worker for the Access and Collection Services Department, working on the third floor at the Periodicals/Media desk.
Tolbert has been working at Alkek since 2016, and has found her experience as a student worker at Alkek rewarding, especially during finals season.
On average, Tolbert works about 10 to 15 hours a week, but works extra hours during final exams because it is a good opportunity to earn a higher wage. Library students earn time-and-a-half when they work between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Tolbert relieves her coworkers from the night shifts before their exams by taking the 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. shifts.
“I think what I appreciate most about working at Alkek is working with so many different people,” Tolbert said. “Not just my coworkers and supervisors, who are all amazing, intelligent, funny people, but also the patrons. It brings me a fierce sense of joy to be able to not only help people but to represent Texas State and our phenomenal Alkek library.”
Tolbert said the library supervisors are very understanding of student workers placing academics first. As long as the job duties are fulfilled, library student workers can study for their own exams on the job.
Cora Godfrey, English junior, works at the circulation desk under the Research and Learning Services Department. Godfrey started working at Alkek six months ago, with the fall 2018 semester being her first time working at the library during finals season.
Godfrey said she is more comfortable this semester, as she has had more work experience at Alkek since.
“Honestly, it’s a lot easier because last semester I was a new employee who had only been there a month,” Godfrey said. “Now I’ve been working here six months, it’s not hard to answer people’s questions or troubleshoot problems. I feel like I have a really good grasp on my job.”
The Alkek renovations have not had a significant impact on the work environment for student workers during finals week. Godfrey said the library is heavily compartmentalized, and she works behind a desk where construction does not get in the way of her job. In addition, she has grown used to the construction noise.
Godfrey said working her evening shifts allow her to connect with her coworkers and study for her classes, especially during final exam week.
Alkek Library is able to stay open 24 hours during finals week because of student workers and security who operate on a skeleton crew, meaning departments are usually double staffed during regular hours. After 10 p.m., however, there will only be one student worker operating during the regular semester and finals week, with one supervisor working the night shift.
After a grueling week of finals and work at Alkek, student workers get to return to normal hours. Starting May 16, Alkek will be open on weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of May.