“Nevertheless, They Persisted: Outreach, Instruction, and Collections Strategies to Best Support Students in Unprecedented Times” (Standard)

Thursday, June 10, 3pm EDT

Katelyn Angell (Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus) and Eric Shannon (Keene State College)

During this presentation you will hear from two librarians at very different institutions: an instruction librarian at a large urban campus in New York, and a collections librarian at a small public liberal arts college in New England. Both librarians will report on changes that they made in their approaches to outreach and engagement with students, faculty, and staff in order to facilitate learning during this challenging time period.

One presenter will focus on two initiatives grounded in persistence and collaboration. First, during the pandemic X Library wanted to honor the resilience and persistence of essential workers among the student body. Librarians created a scholarships program open to any student who worked in an industry deemed essential by the government. Funding allowed for two scholarships of $200. In addition to describing professional duties applicants explained how research they conducted helped them gain skills to succeed in their jobs. Librarians reached out to faculty colleagues for promotional assistance. A simple rubric was used to evaluate applications. Both winners both worked in healthcare, and were enrolled in nursing and physician assistant programs. All applicants were awarded smaller gift card amounts for their amazing contributions to the wellbeing of their communities.

Next, an instruction program for first year students needed to be developed for online learning. The presenter taught first year orientations with the team-based activity The Amazing Library Race (ALR) for many years. This format is best suited for in-person instruction. The ALR was popular with students and instructors, and the presenter was nervous about devising online instruction that would similarly provide new students with valuable library instruction. After months of planning and consultation the instructor created an interactive online activity focused on searching and evaluating health information resources. This topic was chosen due to its relevance to current events and the strong health sciences programs at the university. It included flipped classroom and polling components, and demonstrates the resilience of students to adapt and learn in new formats and of librarians to modify their practices in the face of external obstacles.

The other presenter will discuss adjustments made to collection development strategies to accommodate the changing needs of faculty and students during the transition to remote/hybrid learning while dealing with the reality of cuts to the library budget. This abrupt transition to hybrid learning and reduction in budgets caused by the pandemic can easily lead to frustration and burnout among educators. However, librarians can play a leadership role in promoting resilience by helping to guide faculty members in these challenging times. This presenter will discuss the process of reallocating budgets in order to accommodate increased demand from faculty for streaming videos, the importance of transparent communication with faculty members about collection decisions, and providing information to faculty members about content provided for free or at reduced cost during the pandemic. By actively engaging with faculty, and adapting quickly to changing instructional needs, collection development librarians can have a direct and positive impact on the process of teaching and learning.