The 2020-21 fiscal year saw the College Libraries continue to work hard to provide quality library services, resources, and spaces to students, faculty, and staff, in the midst of great uncertainty created by the COVID pandemic. Although most classes during the year remained online, the campus libraries were one of the first physical spaces to reopen for student use in August 2020 -- of particular importance to support students who needed access to computers in the library labs or a quiet place to study. Library faculty continued to provide class instruction and individual assistance primarily online, utilizing technologies in innovative ways, including the teaching tool Nearpod in Zoom sessions, iSpring software for creating tutorial modules in Canvas, and the many tools available through Springshare (24/7 access to chat, appointment scheduling, etc.).
Personnel-wise, the libraries continued to leverage a more flattened organizational structure, particularly among the library faculty, who worked in collaborative teams to continue developing an Information Literacy Program and to enhance the suite of services available to students and faculty online. One key development during the course of the year, involving all library faculty and staff, was the preparation for moving to a new integrated library system (Alma) and discovery service (Primo VE), managed by the Florida Virtual Campus. Library employees participated in training and worked on setting up local configurations of these important tools.
The full library faculty and staff also engaged in 6 months of strategic planning activities, aligned to the college "Flight Plan 2025" strategic plan. Working collaboratively, library employees defined a new mission statement, vision statement, and strategic priorities for the college libraries to address in the coming academic year and beyond.
In regard to resources, the libraries continued to pivot to providing more access to online resources to support curricular needs, including the acquisition of a considerable number of new ebooks and evideos.
Overall, the changes brought about by the pandemic have led to significant changes in the approach to library resources, services, and spaces that are expected to remain long after the pandemic subsides. Academic libraries across the nation and indeed the world are experiencing similar changes, leading to the realization that online student interactions with the library are no longer secondary to physical visits, but now primary. As noted library scholar Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe stated, it is important "that we remember that essentially everyone is a remote user of the library and sometimes they're an in person user, and not to assume that digital is when you can't do the in person. It's probably more common than less.”
As we all gain more clarity on what a "post-pandemic" world looks like, particularly in the sphere of higher education, the College Libraries stand ready to pivot and adapt, always with an eye on supporting student success!
-- Morgan Tracy, Director, College Libraries
Key: Green - Faculty; Blue - Career Service; Orange - Student Worker; Purple - Professional