THE INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT
In recent times, Victoria University (VU) Library has experienced significant changes in its staff and support service model. Organisationally, the Library at Victoria University is being transformed as a library and educational support space known as the Learning Commons where educational support services (Library, IT, Careers, and Learning Support) have been drawn together in common spaces as part of a strategy of improving the institution's learner-centredness (Keating and Gabb, 2005). A feature of the development, management, and delivery of co-located educational support services within the Learning Commons has been the large-scale use of student employees, recognising that "many students feel more comfortable seeking assistance from a peer" (Keating and Gabb, p. 14). Working under the governance of the Learning Support Unit, Student Rovers perform peer-to-peer student support roles within that environment, as students-helping-students, from the perspective of their own position as successful students.
Drawing from data and feedback from student employees and their supervisors, this study reflects on the impact of large-scale use of student employees, with particular focus on the Student Assistant program under the governance of the library The issues experienced in implementing the program have included the cycle of recruitment, induction, and turnover; and integration of student employees into the main business and culture of the organisation at the local and wider levels. The study also situates the range of Library student employment programs in the context of broader organisational directions.
Since the library introduced its Student Assistants program in 2008, the work environment has become more differentiated and stratified with the impact of an increased number of temporary workers. The Student Assistants program aligns comfortably with emerging university initiatives including the Learning in the Workplace and Community policy, which aims to enhance the future career readiness of students.
The focus of the Learning Commons is to foster a culture of learning by creating a place for collaborative, supported learning, with and from peers. Research has indicated that peer-to-peer assistance has proven beneficial to student retention and progress, and that student employment on campus is associated with reduced attrition (Gabb, Milne and Cao, 2006). It seems that coming to class and then going home or to work is less conducive to retention than students studying and then working on-campus. These are more likely to succeed than those working off-campus, particularly for those starting from a lower educational or socioeconomic point, as do many VU students with "Students at Victoria University on average come from socio-economic backgrounds well below the Melbourne average ... About 75% of students in the University come from families in the bottom half of Melbourne's socio-economic distribution." (Messinis, Sheehan and Miholcic, 2008).
MODELS OF STUDENT EMPLOYEES IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
It is the library's business, as indicated in its mission statement, to provide organised anticipation and response to the teaching, learning and research information needs of the university community. It also provides significant infrastructure (technology, collections, space, and staff) to enable it to achieve this. Librarians have access to a wide range of knowledge resources, aiming to add value and expertise, and simplify complexity, in their provision of services to clients. This service element is a key part of their role and is essential in facilitating the success of the library in effectively connecting people to information. However, less experienced, although knowledgeable, student employees can also play an increasingly important role in augmenting the library's ability to do this, in part due to the recognition that students fed …