Skip to Main Content

VIVA: Member Spotlight: Virginia Wesleyan University

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: 

Virginia Wesleyan University

October 2020

Share a success story from your library's response to the pandemic?

  • Starting with the spring pivot to remote instruction and continuing into this fall semester, the librarians at Hofheimer Library provided guidance for faculty who were new to using videoconferencing programs (Zoom and Google Meet) and other instructional technology needed for remote teaching. Because the librarians were already prepared to support VWU's growing online programs with research consultations and library instruction via videoconference, they were able to pivot quickly and support their colleagues who had little or no experience with these technologies. Librarians made themselves available for practice sessions with faculty who were faced with teaching through technology for the first time and as a result, we were able to ease some anxieties as teaching faculty made the leap to remote instruction. 

What are you most proud of in your library’s response to quickly shifting needs both on and off campus, virtual and in-person?

  • I am most proud of the resilience of the Hofheimer Library staff and the support we have all given each other during times of constant change and uncertainty. Sharing articles about strategies for working from home and for self-care and well-being have helped us all get through some very challenging times. Our flexibility and adaptability and the care and concern that we have for each other has been vital to the uninterrupted service and support we have provided to our campus community. 

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

  • We used our monthly library newsletter to promote online services and resources that we felt would be most relevant to our community during this time. This included highlighting specific resources and the availability of online instruction, research consultations and tutorials. After reviewing annual statistics for our existing online tutorials and finding that many saw a substantial increase in usage during the spring pivot to remote instruction, we conducted a survey to identify further needs for tutorial development. We are using the survey results to prioritize which topics we will address in future tutorials that will be developed over the next year.

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

  • I have found great support from my network of VIVA colleagues through regular videoconference calls of the VIVA Directors and the groups set up for COVID-19 reopening and collections. With so many decisions needing to be made quickly, it really helped to know what colleagues were doing elsewhere. As Chair of the Resource Sharing Committee, I was pleased to see the Whole E-book Task Force immediately pivot to shift their scope to concerns related to COVID-19 on behalf of the consortium. Beginning with logistics for how to continue resource sharing as institutions went remote, the group expanded its scope beyond resource sharing to support member institutions as the situation evolved.

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?

  • We are taking the opportunity to educate our community, particularly faculty and administrators, about the high costs associated with providing streaming video. The acquisitions models are entirely different than those for physical media and no single provider can meet all the needs of our community. In the short term, there are immediate needs for streaming video to support students who are remote and if classes need to pivot again, but in the long term we need solutions for the university's expanding online programs.