Linworth Libraries Unlimited

Short-Term Staff, Long-Term Benefits

Making the Most of Interns, Volunteers, Student Workers, and Temporary Staff in Libraries

by Nora J. Bird and Michael A. Crumpton, Editors


Too often, the time and effort required to train, manage, or integrate short-term staff seems to be more work than benefit. But it doesn't have to be that way.

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Cover image for Short-Term Staff, Long-Term Benefits

September 2018

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 143
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Management and Administration/Human Resources and Communication
  Management and Administration/General

This book offers a novel, more efficient, and mutually beneficial approach to attracting, training, and working with short-term staff in ways that benefit all involved: the organization, the short-term staff, and library personnel in general.

After recent cutbacks in funding, many libraries now suffer permanent gaps in their staffing—gaps that have necessarily been filled by temporary staff and volunteers in order to complete essential work. Unfortunately, short-term staffing presents its own issues. But having temporary staff doesn't have to be problematic or frustrating: this book shows how short-term workers can offer libraries much more than just a solution to being shorthanded.

This book will help readers better plan and more efficiently manage short-term staffing arrangements, covering how to best work with community volunteers, students earning service or academic credit, library school internships, grant contract staff, librarian post-graduate residencies, and work-study student employees. The authors present models of temporary staff human resource development and demonstrate how to apply them effectively in libraries of any size, describing how to train and enculturate short-term staff into your organization to maximize productivity. When temporary and long-term staff are set up to work together properly, having temporary staff benefits the organization with more than just their labor—the situation can refresh and update the skills of incumbent employees, too.


  • Demonstrates how to get the most out of short-term staff and volunteers, while also meeting the needs of these individuals
  • Covers all types of short-term library workers: volunteers, service learning students, interns, work-study students, and grant personnel
  • Documents how having experienced staff mentor and collaborate with short-term staff presents new opportunities for learning and growth as well as provides the direct benefit of completing tasks and projects more quickly
Author Info

Nora J. Bird, MSLIS, PhD, is associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds a master's degree in library and information science from Simmons College, Boston, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Boston University. She worked as a reference librarian in academic libraries in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Her teaching and research interests include the role of the internship in library education, community college libraries, and workplace information literacy. She is coauthor of Handbook for Community College Librarians.

Michael A. Crumpton, MLS, SPHR, is assistant dean for administrative services at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and former director of library services at Wake Tech Community College. He is a certified senior human resources professional and holds a graduate certificate in adult teaching. He writes a column for The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances and has published on workplace information literacy and staffing issues, including working with formal internships. He is coauthor of Handbook for Community College Librarians.



"A compact book exploring new ideas for dealing with workforce issues in both public and academic libraries."ARBA

"This well-written and informative book is recommended for public libraries who wish to create a win-win situation for short-term workers and the library by embedding the concept of learning into working relationships."Public Library Quarterly

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