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The LibRAT Program: Peer Reference and Basic IL Instruction

Strategies, Advertising, and Interviewing

As the original LibRAT program was aimed at Residence Halls, and the Residence Halls at Cal Poly have College-based foci (such as Liberal Arts, Engineering, etc.) we sought a diversity of majors in the students we hired.   As this had great benefits in distributing knowledge across the cohort that we strive to maintain a mix of disciplines in the team members we hire.

We look specifically for students with service positions in their employment history (restaurant, etc.)  and volunteer work in their backgrounds. 

With teaching becoming such a large  when we now interview for subsequent generations, we screen for students with confidence and personality suited to teaching.  We have also implemented a second interview for the most promising candidates, where they have an opportunity to make a 5 minute presentation on the topic of their choice.  This allows us to get a sense of their communication style, comfort, and potential, for the instructional component of the position.

We advertise on the campus student job site, and generally receive 40-60 applications in a two week window. Typically we interview at least 15 of the applicants, based on the quality of their resumes and cover letters. We favor lower-division applicants because they will be available longer, but we always opt for quality.

All of the LibRATs have excelled, and one of the First Generation LibRATs, Mary Stirchak, decided to pursue a career in librarianship, and is now attending UCLA. where she was awarded the Marjorie S. Mardellis Fellowship to support her academic endeavors. Another graduated LibRAT has also entered library school (SJSU) and a third is debating whether or not to first obtain her MA in History or an MLIS.