Helping students and academic staff access what they need online is always a big part of what the Academic Liaison teams do, so unsurprisingly we have been busier than ever since our physical campuses closed and we all moved to working from home.
Within a few days of universities starting to send students home, big publishers and online platforms started offering to ease licence restrictions on e-books, and provide temporary free access to a huge range of resources through university libraries, and this is still growing all the time.
Academic Liaison Librarians have been doing a lot of work to keep students and staff aware of what they can now access. We have created a special online reading list of Library resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, plus some additional lists for specific subjects, like Law and Computing). There’s now extra information on the Library home page, and we have been busy putting lots of updates out on all our social media and on Moodle as well as emailing students and staff in different cohorts.
In some cases getting access is very straightforward; in others we have to prioritise which are our key titles, which has meant a lot of going cross-eyed looking at reading list spreadsheets! More Books is also continuing and has moved to e-books only, which is keeping us busy too as lots of our students request new e-books and we try to source them.
Most important, though, is the teaching and 1-2-1 support we offer to students and our academic colleagues – and that’s very definitely continuing. As well as supporting Library Live Help chat and general email enquiries, all the Academic Liaison Librarians are available by email to answer individual student queries. We’ve had lots of students getting in touch for help with accessing dissertation resources, how to get hold of e-books, referencing and so on, just as usual.
Many of us can also offer video 1-2-1 support and screensharing through Google Meet, so we can show a student face-to-face how to improve a search strategy or access a resource, and we can also use Google Meet to teach groups or give short video presentations. We’ve been creating guides to Library support during COVID-19 and contributing to Upgrade’s guide to Studying Online During COVID-19 and the University’s digital education teaching plans.
And while all this is going on we’ve been adjusting to working from home, keeping in touch with our teams and our colleagues, and working around children, pets and other responsibilities just like everyone else – as well as gossiping in our online coffee sessions about where to source online deliveries of everything from compost to paint to baking flour!
Everyone is thus looking forward to a well-earned few days’ break over Easter – hopefully our students and academic colleagues will be able to take a rest and enjoy the sunshine too.
–Hazel Rothera, Academic Development Team Leader