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VIVA: Member Spotlight: Roanoke College

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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Member Library Interviews

Transformation through Pandemic: 

Roanoke College

October 12, 2020

Share a success story from your library’s shift online in response to the pandemic in the spring. How did your library change when campuses went online in the spring of 2020?

  • As the campus transitioned to online only, the Library staff immediately shifted their focus to actions that would support users getting and maintaining access to the materials needed. We extended due dates for resources that had been checked out; implemented a pick-up service for materials only available in physical form; added streaming media and other online resources; created video tutorials to address questions; and modified the library website to highlight online services and resources to support online classes.

What are you most proud of in your library’s response to the rapid shift to online services?

  • Just how quickly Fintel Library staff pivoted to support of the Roanoke College community to provide physical and remote access to resources and services. The College had been offering some online classes during the prior summer sessions. Librarians had developed a series of support services, resources, and outreach actions related to summer sessions. When the campus shut down, we were able to ramp up quickly because we had that summer plan in place.

What is a creative solution your library staff came up with to meet users’ needs in this environment?

  • Our “Dorm Drop-Off” was a creative solution for getting library materials back. Our students left campus in mid-March, with many students leaving their belongings (and library materials) in their dorm rooms. Once it became evident that the campus would not be re-opening, students were allowed to return to for phased “move outs.” We placed boxes in each dorm for students to drop off library materials that they had checked out. After an appropriate quarantine period, we gathered the items from the dorms to return to the Library’s collection.

How did VIVA, either through resources or its collaborative network, support your community during the emergency switch to online learning? 

  • VIVA’s collaborative network provided much needed guidance on what to consider when operating in a pandemic. The list of COVID-19 resources posted on the VIVA website was extremely helpful. In addition, the online resources to which users have access through Fintel Library’s participation in VIVA certainly facilitated the ability to pivot.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your library’s experience supporting and/or collaborating with your campus community in the spring?

  • The pandemic has taught us all to be more flexible and creative, giving new meaning to “thinking outside the box.” We are appreciative of the spirit of collaboration exhibited by of all our colleagues. And, we can’t wait until we are face to face with all of our students, faculty, and colleagues once more.