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VIVA: Member Spotlight: Marymount University

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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Transformation through Pandemic: 

Marymount University

November 11, 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?

  • In addition to moving circulation and reference services online, we moved library instruction online, as well. The English composition courses' library instruction "season" was getting underway as the university pivoted to remote learning, and the library supported this by creating online modules that could be embedded into the Canvas learning management system courses. The library tutorials mirrored the in-class library instruction experience, using two modules since the in-class experience is typically two 75-minute sessions. 

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

  • Library personnel took on the herculean task of rapidly developing new ways of providing services and access to collections, and they remained flexible throughout the turmoil, adapting plans daily in some cases to continue to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. Their flexibility and persistence in the midst of constantly shifting sands was beyond impressive. 

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

  • We provided contactless pickup of items for faculty and staff, starting in the summer. The service continues and is now open to students, as well. We also created a LibGuide of research resources that were temporarily made freely available by publishers, as a way to efficiently direct our students to important resources that were available online, which helped to compensate for the reduced access to physical resources. 

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

  • VIVA best supported our community at Marymount beginning in the summer, with the creation of a reopening group. The VIVA Reopening Group brought together a community of library professionals who were all experiencing similar, but different, policies and procedures for reopening their respective libraries. This group has served as a sort of support group that allows for a continual exchange of ideas and information that has helped facilitate conversations at our own university libraries.  

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?

  • Marymount libraries revised its laptop borrowing policy to extend the loan period to meet students’ online learning needs. Several students in need of computing devices borrowed library owned laptops for the whole semester.
  • To adapt reference services to physical distancing needs, while continuing to serve our students, we retrofitted a stand-up desk to create a self-service information desk with a dedicated webpage featuring online chat service and other frequently accessed online services.