Working in the Widener Stacks

The Stacks Division of Widener Library is one of the largest employers of student workers on campus. We employ more than 100 students a year to help us maintain the collections on over 50 miles of bookshelves in Harvard's primary research library.

We hire federal work-study students throughout the calendar year, including during Summer School. For a better idea of what student stacks workers do, check out the following videos of current students discussing the eight most typical tasks: ID Checking, Breaking Down, Discharging, Shelving, Trainer, Shelf Reading, Revising, and Rotations.

Students work 4 to 20 hours per week when classes are in session, and up to 35 hours per week when they're not.

Visit the Student Employment Office website (log in, and search under "Library" in the Category section) to see jobs available right now!

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Click to play video

ID Checking

Making sure people have access to the stacks

One of the especially nice things about ID checking is that you have extra time between when people are coming through... to check e-mail or get some school work done.

Jeff, Junior
Economics Concentrator
Cabot House

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Breaking Down

Preparing books for going back to their places in the stacks

It's just fun to get to know Widener, actually... If you have a research project you are not wandering around the library, thinking you're trapped in a maze, you actually know your way around the stacks.

Anesha, Sophomore
Social Anthro Concentrator
Currier House

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Processing books and other materials returned to the library

Harvard can get pretty hectic, so it's nice to just be in here and just have some time to sort out books and get your mind quiet, think about your own things and not academics or the social world around you.

Jerry Coletta
English Concentrator

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Returning books to their locations on the stacks' shelves

The hours are very flexible. You can choose your own schedule and if you know you have a busy week coming up, you can work your way around it... It's very good for students that have very busy lives and need to make a little bit of money.

Kayla PiƱa
Sociology Concentrator
Adams House

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Promoted from the Stacks Assistant ranks, helps library staff train new employees for various tasks

It's a promotion, so there's more responsibility... You also get to pick what you do each shift, based on what's needed and what you like to do.

Allison Drew
Psych Concentrator
Adams House

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Shelf Reading

Comparing call numbers between adjacent books and re-sorting them to make sure they're in the right order

It's a really relaxing job and you can always rely on basically doing pretty much similar things every time you come in.

Doug Duquette
Chemistry Concentrator
Currier House

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Straightening and neatening the books on the stacks' shelves

It's important because it makes the call numbers easier to read, it promotes the long-term health of really fragile books, and it just makes using Widener a more pleasant experience.

Sarah Tseng
Literature Concentrator
Mather House

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Physically moving sets of books in one classification from location in the stacks to another

The nice thing about working in the stacks is that it allows you a certain amount of flexibility... It's really a great job. I would definitely recommend it.

Ernesto Gonzalez
Biochemical Sciences Concentrator
Lowell House


Check out the Student Employment Office website and log in to see what jobs are available right now!

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