An information specialist works for people
Teppo Hjelt had only been working as SAMK’s library information specialist for a couple months before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the exceptional circumstances, he has been able to manage his work well, thanks to efficient technology solutions that support teleworking.
The campus-wide INFOtelakka service helps SAMK students and staff find the right kind of materials.
Teppo Hjelt works at SAMK’s Pori campus library, and his job mainly consists of helping people find information. This includes, among other things, instructing students in the basics of information retrieval, assisting students with theses, and helping students and staff with any problems concerning information search and retrieval. Hjelt also maintains SAMK’s reference guidelines, which were updated last year.
– The campus-wide INFOtelakka service helps SAMK students and staff find the right kind of materials. The service is useful at all stages of study, and guidance is available both face-to-face and remotely, says Hjelt.
As SAMK's students represent many different fields, the work of an information specialist is also diverse. For example, theses vary in different subjects, which also affects information retrieval in many ways.
Efficient technology and office ergonomics
SAMK's library employs a total of nine people, six of whom work at the Pori campus. Other campuses also have their own libraries. With the COVID-19 pandemic, library services became increasingly accessible online, and teleworking hours can now be agreed upon by means of a teleworking agreement. In Hjelt's case, teleworking is not always possible, as his work involves a lot of face-to-face guidance. However, technology is strongly present even then.
– I always keep a microphone with me and record the guidance session for those who can’t participate in the session. In addition, part of the session is implemented as a hybrid, so in addition to the students in the classroom, some students participate remotely, says Hjelt.
Whenever I have needed some special technology for my work, it has always been arranged
While teleworking is natural for Hjelt, he also enjoys working at the campus. Ergonomics have been considered in Hjelt’s office in various ways; for example, the workstation and lighting can be adjusted as needed. More specific needs have also been taken into account.
Whenever I have needed some special technology for my work, it has always been arranged,” says Hjelt in praise of his workplace.
The work of an information specialist requires good interpersonal skills
Hjelt spends about half of his working time assisting students and SAMK staff in guidance sessions and one-on-one meetings. For Hjelt, interaction with students is meaningful and motivating.
– I really enjoy being able to help students. I have worked in educational institutions almost throughout my entire career, first as a mathematics teacher and then in the library of the University Consortium of Pori. Students are at an important stage in their lives, preparing for their future profession. I am happy to be part of that process.
In addition to assisting students and staff, SAMK's library also cooperates with external entities. Finnish Universities of applied sciences work closely together, as do the libraries in the Satakunta region. Interpersonal skills are therefore very important in Hjelt’s work.
– I also enjoy development work, but the beginning of the school year, for example, is always a busy time as the focus is on guiding and assisting students, says Hjelt.