Student Employees, Cross-Training, and the Preservation Department-Mindy Moeller

Here in the Preservation Department at Iowa State University we rely on our student employees to help with many tasks and projects around the department.  Usually the students are trained on how to do anywhere from minor repairs to full sewing and new book case repairs, to packing/unpacking books for the bindery shipment, searching the stacks for missing items, or scanning projects.  When they come to the Preservation Department after first hired they are trained on how to do some of the simpler things in the lab such as cutting and gluing tissues on to ends sheets, disbinds, tip-ins, etc. until their skill levels improve so they can do the more complicated treatments such as rebacks, full repairs, recases, sewing a book back together, and new cases, and if they are here long enough they will learn how to construct clamshell boxes or other specialty boxes.

In the past we have had our Conservator interview and hire the students and currently we are waiting for our new Conservator, Sonya Barron, to start on December 1, 2015.  Some of my job duties have changed so I will be doing the interviewing and hiring instead of just training the students.  We like to get students early enough in their educational career here at ISU as a freshman or sophomore because we invest a great deal of time training, and the experience with eye-hand coordination takes time to develop and perfect.  We would prefer students to work over the summer months too.

Another new thing we are adding this time to our student schedules here in the Preservation Department is that the students will be “floaters” and will be crossed-trained to work in all areas of the Preservation Department.  This way when we lose a student to other employment elsewhere or to graduation we don’t have to hurry and hire someone to take their place.  If a student is ill or miss work because of a class then we can still get scheduled work done with the bindery shipment and the aid of another cross-trained student. One of our existing students will be able to jump right in and do the tasks needed such as helping to pack books going out to the bindery and keep the work moving.

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