Library, tutoring change to meet student needs

Remote learning inspires change within the Library to improve help for all students


Julie Gores, Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services

Twenty-nineteen (2019) is so yesterday! The world has transformed since then because of the pandemic, social justice awareness, increased knowledge of technologies and a chaotic political world. 

All these changes have inspired all of us to learn new things, do things differently and think creatively. Your Libraries and Academic Support Services has been sailing on that same ship. 

To start, many of us learned just how effective remote support can be. Whether by chat, phone, email or videoconference, students seem pleased at the increased ways to contact us – and the numbers prove it. We had 717,586 student engagements last year. 

We take pride in that because using the libraries or our student achievement centers is not mandatory. You choose to use our services, resources and spaces. We have heard how many of you appreciate our increased service modes and evening/weekend hours to accommodate your jobs, family needs and other daily responsibilities in this rapidly changing society. Maintaining flexibility and balance is needed for good mental health. 

Next, you will notice our approach to helping students navigate information is changing. Sure, finding, analyzing and using information is still an essential lifelong skill you will use in school, on the job and your life, but the new world order has forced us to be more responsible users of information, smarter about our own privacy and that of others, identify what is fact and truth versus disinformation and fake and so much more. 

These skills are what information consumers need to know to thrive and succeed. Being an information consumer, and participator, in the online world (think social media) has gotten harder, but if you put the time in, you will be much better for it. 

For years students have complained about the cost of their textbooks and other materials. It is ridiculous and we could not agree more. Yes, sometimes library reserves can help a bit, but it is not enough.  Our team has been leading the charge for encouraging Open Educational Resources use at the college for the past several years. 

When an instructor creates or uses Open Educational Resources, it allows for free access to textbooks, saving hundreds of dollars for students. It also gives instructors the ability to modify these works to customize it to their curriculum and be more inclusive in the content so that all students see themselves in the learning process. It saves students money, is more inclusive and can be customized to Madison College courses. What’s not to like about that. 

Lastly, our service options to students have changed. We still love to see you in the libraries or student achievement centers and that will never change. 

For some types of learners, face-to-face personal support is necessary for their success. It’s how they roll. Other students love the flexibility online appointments bring. Picture yourself sipping a cup of coffee in your pj’s on a snowy winter morning and still having a conversation with a librarian or tutor about your paper or assignment. No driving, no bundling up or slipping around. 

We can’t wait to start working with all of you. Stop-in, call, email, chat or book an appointment. The libraries and our student achievement centers are places you are welcome – and belong.