Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
The interest of integrating Knowledge Management(KM) in the management of academic libraries is growing after the success and wide adoption of KM strategies in the corporate sector (Sunalai & Beyerlein, 2015). However, one important component of academic library operation, student workers, are often kept out of the loop, despite the fact that the practice of utilizing student workers in academic libraries has a long history and academic libraries are increasingly dependent on student workers to provide a variety of services (White, 1985). The consensus seems to indicate that it is unworthy of additional resources to integrate student workers into a library’s KM system, given the high turnover rate of student workers and the simplicity and repetitive nature of their job tasks (Marouf, 2017). A quick survey of the existing literature on KM in academic libraries reveals that practitioners and researchers have focused on adoptions and applications of KM models and tools in the academic library setting (Agarwal & Islam, n.d.; Koloniari & Fassoulis, 2017). Regarding practices of student worker management, library managers and librarians are engaged in adopting web 2.0 tools to achieve consistency and cost-effectiveness in job training and to design creative means to motivate student workers (See & Teetor, 2014). However, there are few research studies that investigate the role of student workers in the KM process and the rationale behind such arrangement.
It is a common practice, in academic libraries nowadays, to staff-student workers at various public service points, serving as the first contact for library patrons (Brenza, Kowalsky, & Brush, 2015). The tacit knowledge the student workers generate through job tasks and communication with users are valuable pieces of organizational knowledge that facilitate improvement in the quality and productivity of library services. Meanwhile, it is equally important that student workers are updated with any new work-related knowledge on a timely basis to perform efficiently and effectively in their positions. This study attempts to develop a better understanding of student workers’ experience of KM practices in their libraries and explore the feasibility and potential impact of the further integration of student workers in academic libraries' KM practices.