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VIVA: Member Spotlight: Reynolds College

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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Member Library Interviews

Transformation through Pandemic: 

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

 

December 4, 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?

  • When the pandemic hit in March, we only had one week to switch gears from a mainly onsite to a 100% online operation. We immediately launched a virtual service desk. We then reached out to students by embedding librarians in Canvas courses with features like a Virtual Library Lounge where students could just pop in on Zoom to meet with us. We also started a weekly “Let’s Talk” series. All through this we continued library instruction/workshops but in an online only format. For library staff, bonding together was achieved through ‘virtual’ Zoom huddles to brainstorm and to support each other. All these activities were taking place with intensive and intentional staff training. At Reynolds, the virtual campus was already the 2nd largest campus even before the pandemic. For years we’ve been working hard towards the goal of offering the same services to students be they onsite or online. Now we are proud to say we ARE READY for the increased online learning environment!

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

  • We’ve implemented some great projects to meet the quickly shifting needs. I’m particularly proud of the staff who, unfazed by the challenges brought by the pandemic, demonstrated amazing creativity, team spirit and resilience. New skills were acquired and new programs were implemented in a matter of a few days. Staff step up to help each other and take over new job responsibilities as we manage to keep both the onsite and online libraries open.

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

  • Reaching out to students and making ourselves readily available to students in the online learning environment is our top priority. To that end, we launched our own chat service and posted a “sticky note” that follows students when they are surfing the library website.

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

  • VIVA is an incredible source of support and resources. I can’t thank VIVA enough for the great work it has done. The new VIVA Directors COVID-19 Discussion offers a great opportunity to learn best practices in coping with the new challenges. Reynolds particularly benefited from the VIVA Curriculum Driven Acquisitions Pilot Program which impacted 461 students with a total saving of $ 11,733.10 in fall 2020!

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?

  • Reynolds Libraries launched a laptop loan program in collaboration with Reynolds Single Stop, the Reynolds College Foundation and our own Dept. of Technology. Over 150 students benefited from the program. Library staff also supported the online registration lab and SOAR (New Student Orientation).