Libraries Transform in a Community College

March 1, 2016

Libraries Transform

The beauty of the Libraries Transform campaign is that it allows library professionals to focus on how their libraries are transforming and changing but also allows them to illustrate how services and resources have always provided transformative opportunities to their constituents. Although this is true in all types and sizes of libraries, it is especially true for community college libraries today.

In fact, as higher education changes, as administrators redesign the educational process, as faculty refocus pedagogy, as educational vendors repurpose content, and as students and community users change how and when they learn, the community college library finds itself identifying and marketing what it already has to meet needs as well as what it redesigned or purchased new. And while the list of new resources and opportunities to support constituents grows exponentially, a few examples of both what we have and what’s new to market with Libraries Transform include:

  • restructured online content to illustrate support for new processes, for first-time-in-college students and guided pathway online subject guides for redesigned curricula, majors, and concentrations
  • data to illustrate how the resources and services play a role in student engagement and success
  • integrating information literacy into classroom content that supports required and preferred discipline-specific competency attainment (state, national, and discipline-specific standards and guidelines, etc.)
  • online and print resources to support changing research assignments
  • online, interactive learning (tutorials, assignments) that provides 24/7 educational experiences outside the more traditional classroom setting to provide learning opportunities and contribute to effective use of physical spaces and maximizing income from classroom scheduling
  • seamless support for students completing online-only degrees and certificates for accrediting bodies
  • expanded focus on resources and services to support STEAM exploration and learning
  • expanded user input for selection as well as user selection of materials, such as review panels for vetting resources and patron-driven acquisition

And although it’s difficult to transform to meet the needs of 45,000 students—the lead time on new, trending, and cutting edge grows shorter every day—my institution is transforming through:

  • Gathering and using student engagement data. Austin Community College (ACC) has data-­gathering software with ACC discipline-specific outcomes matched to librarian/patron interactions to illustrate how reference desk interactions support curriculum and competency attainment.
  • Creating a supporting document on how library resources and services will be supporting the college’s guided pathway initiative to include redesigned online pathfinders and information literacy to focus on new educational paths for students.
  • Expanding integrated online and in-person information literacy (award-winning tutorials) into required coursework for entering first-year students.
  • Identifying STEAM resources and activities marketed to all students. ACC has a Friday afternoon makerspace pop-up BatLab—branded to match the school mascot—at the newest ACC library, smaller makerspace kits for checkout at every ACC library, and online pathfinders on makerspaces.
  • Aggressive marketing using the ALA poster campaigns and branding our own “know how” advertising specialty. ACC creates posters and advertising with area high school principals photographed with their school librarians whose students are our early college start population. Libraries Transform—beginning with relevant “Because” statements—is being integrated into the library campaign.

The challenge for many libraries continues to be funding and staffing levels; however, the first steps in illustrating how libraries transform include marketing how the library has always had resources and services to support, provide opportunities, and transform constituent experiences; the need to benchmark other successful transforming opportunities; and integrating the new national campaign into local, area, and statewide library marketing.