Skip to Main Content

VIVA: Member Spotlight: University of Lynchburg

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

This guide has variable layouts and houses the majority of the "sub" pages for VIVA's website.

Transformation through Pandemic: 

University of Lynchburg


December, 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 order to meet the rapidly changing needs of the university community, the library transformed its spaces - both physical and digital. In the building, furniture was moved, paths of travel were shifted to one-way traffic only, sanitation stations were distributed, sneeze guards were installed, and various workflows were adapted. Similarly in the library’s digital spaces, research appointments went online with screen sharing, and instruction services adapted to include both synchronous and asynchronous online instruction options. Online engagement through social media and remote events took on increasing importance. Finally, in order to ensure that the library could continue to operate in the event of a future exposure to the virus, the library staff was split into two teams and worked in the building on an alternating two-week schedule.

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

  • The library created dedicated asynchronous instruction modules in LibGuides, and then implemented the LTI tool to allow instructors to embed instruction modules directly into their Moodle course environments.

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

  • Many libraries, both public and academic, moved to curbside pickup to help protect their staff and patrons. At the Knight-Capron Library, we put our own spin on this with our “Front Porch Pickup”. Basically, when a patron requests an item, it is placed on a bookshelf within the hour and held for up to seven days. Because of Front Porch Pickup, faculty, staff, and students can have access to our physical collection without entering the library building, and it has come in handy during the intersession when the building is only open two days a week.

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

  • Our colleagues at VIVA institutions have been the most amazing source of expertise and support through this ordeal. From answering questions and brainstorming ideas, to providing listening ears and understanding encouragement, VIVA librarians have been a bulwark of support!

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?

  • Despite the pandemic, the library continued in our outreach to the wider University of Lynchburg community. We partnered with the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development (OSELD) to put on a Zoom trivia event that was the most well-attended library event in our history. OSELD provided funds for prizes and helped with promotion of the event. Our outreach committee also put together exam snack bags for students to help boost morale during a stressful time, and our school mascot Dell even showed up to help hand them out. As well as events, our library social media accounts kept up a steady stream of fun and informative content during the school year. Cheryl Coleman, our Associate Dean of Humanities, said that “The library’s social media accounts have become a joy to many of us. They’re often entertaining and serve as a reminder that our colleagues in the library not only have a sense of humor but are promoting and sharing optimism and fun, which is no small thing in these challenging times.”