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SWON Academics Meeting | March 15, 2016

Posted By Kari Siders, Monday, March 21, 2016

The SWON academic librarian special interest group met on March 15, 2016 at Panera Bread in Crestview Hills.  A total of seven librarians attended and engaged in a lively discussion of a variety of topics.


Budget Concerns

A short discussion ensued about how ever decreasing budgets can stifle library activities and resources.  Of course, this is nothing new, but something that each librarian keeps in mind throughout the year with those in charge of their budgets being especially mindful.


Embedded Librarians

With a huge focus on retention at every institution, it’s easy to see where help at the point of need for students can directly relate to retention efforts.  To assist in collaborations with faculty to make sure that a librarian is embedded into their courses it can be helpful to show how you can save the instructor time.  For example if they receive the same question 10 times over from students regarding how to do their citations, the librarian could help answer those questions for the instructor.  It can also be helpful to show what questions you can address before students ask.  If a librarian is present in the course it’s easy to send out information, create a short video, or do some other method of instruction to assist in countering questions. 


Library in the Syllabus

At Cedarville there is a blurb regarding help available in the writing center which is present in all syllabi.  The library decided to create their own for faculty to include if they wished.  This has appeared on syllabi from some courses. 


Menu of Library Instruction

Denise Fritch, from Gateway Community and Technical College, shared the recent addition of an instruction request form which features a short menu of instruction that faculty could request for their courses.  You can find this form at:   The form was created as a part of the website redesign of their library webpage, which is located here:


Reference Desks

The question came up as to whether libraries should continue to provide standard reference help through staffing a reference desk into the evening, or if this was a fading trend.  Only one library present actively has a desk that provides reference help in the evenings, although students seeking assistance during those evening hours is limited.  With other methods of meeting student needs such as one-on-one appointments, email, and the availability to easily meet online with a student the continuation of a desk may be irrelevant.  The large key for the removal of the desk is to help the librarian manage their time more wisely, as well as provide alternative solutions for students. Some libraries have found that one-on-one scheduling of appointments or having librarians be “on-call” during particular hours has been successful.


Innovators Group

Gateway has created a group to help with collaboration among various departments at their institution.  It has been successful in identifying and implementing ideas that help students navigate through college and allow better communication among departments.  In sum they’re implementing the things that just make sense.


Library Advisory Council

A collaborative group comprised of faculty, department heads, the library, and more all coming together to assist in making the library better.  The feedback from those in attendance assists the library in knowing what is going on with various departments and programs, and knowing the needs that the library may be able to fill.  This group has also been helpful in getting the word out about various library related activities and resources to all of the various departments. This group is meeting on a bi-monthly basis to begin and will eventually transition to once a semester or twice a year. 


Next Meeting

For our next meeting, prior to the SWON membership meeting on April 19, 2016 at Dayton Metro’s Miamisburg Township branch, Jack O’Gorman will be speaking.  This presentation will be all about data management and what this means for your library.  A further summary of this can be found on the event page:

Tags:  Academics  Meeting Notes  SIG 

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Academic SIG Meeting | December 1, 2015

Posted By Kari Siders, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Prior to the fall membership meeting the interest group met with eight librarians in attendance.  Discussion ranged through various topics and overall it was a great discussion.


Chat Update

One institution said that the chat service they started this semester has been rather quiet, while another gave an “it comes in waves” update.  Both noticed an ebb and flow with assignments.   Staffing for these services have been during library hours when staff are already at work and at their computer.  There was also discussion in how the chat service was marketed to students.  Areas of marketing included a rotating banner on the webpage, an EBSCO database button, and mention within instruction sessions, signs by the computers in the library, and a widget in the institution’s CMS.


Reference Help

The question was posed as to whether institutions tended to have walk-in or scheduled appointments.  A couple of institutions are online only and do these via Skype or Google Hangout.  Many of the libraries at least offered a scheduled appointment time, if that worked best for the patron.  When meetings were arranged if there were subject or liaison librarians those appointments would be set with the appropriate librarian.  If not, then whomever was available would schedule to take the reference meeting.


Information Commons

Gateway Technical and Community College this semester started their information commons.  An information commons desk is located at each of their three campuses.  This shared/common desk makes all departments available to students at a common desk.  This project is grant funded and allowed the college to utilize staff that they already had.  It has been helpful for students who have a variety of issues allowing them to know that they can go to a single information point of contact.  They operate on a tier 1 and tier 2 level for service.  Tier 1 are all those basic questions, which get answered at the desk, where tier 2 are elevated questions or issues to the correct department.  The traffic at the desk seems to come in waves, depending on the time of day, when classes let out, etc.  Staffing the desks at all times includes two staff and a student worker.  There are currently some bumps in getting this project started and it will be interesting to see what develops as time goes forward.


Embedded Librarians

One institution has an e-learning department, which worked well with the library to make sure that classes with research components would have embedded librarians automatically.  Each librarian within the courses send announcements once a week to share resources for their upcoming assignments. The librarian also reminds the instructor at the beginning of each semester that they’ll be in that course and how the process works.  There is also a new online instructor orientation in which the library is included to share how the embedded program works and what that means for the instructor and the students.


ALAO Summaries

A few of the librarians in attendance also attended ALAO recently and shared their experiences there.


Menu for Instruction

In previous meetings we had discussed a menu for instruction.  A list of all the topics and lessons that the library could provide and allowing instructors to select other options.  One librarian will be attempting to modify their instruction request form to improve it and also include a version of a menu for faculty to choose from.


Next Meeting

Please join us for the next Academic SIG meeting.  That meeting will take place on March 15, 2016 at the Panera Bread in Crestview Hills, KY from 1pm – 4pm.  This meeting is open for dropping in and out as needed.  Our discussions run the gamut of topics, so feel free to bring your ideas, topics, and concerns to our open discussion table.  Registration is located on the SWON webpage.

Tags:  Academics  Meeting Notes  SIG 

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Academic SIG Meeting | August 5, 2015

Posted By Kari Siders, Thursday, August 13, 2015

We had a successful meeting at Gateway Community and Technical College of eight librarians.  There was discussion on orientations, chat services, information commons creation, and embedded librarianship.



Everyone has student orientation of one sort or another.  Some have strictly online orientation for the college, while others the students come into the library for orientation.  The following are some examples of orientations that occur at various institutions:

  • Online orientation.  Students come into the library to get assistance with finding the orientation on Blackboard.  Unsure about mention of the library within that orientation.
  • Orientation split into groups.  As each group comes into the library the basics are shared.
  • New student orientation is built into the first class.  A walkthrough of how to write an APA paper is a primary focus, as well as how to use Grammerly (writing help) and Smarthinking (online tutoring, on-demand). 
  • Part of a multi-day freshman orientation.  Library does a scavenger hunt type game.  Looking into other options.
  • Graduate students.  Tour of library, rare book room, access to UC library resources.  Found that students do better practicing rather than being told.

Two institutions also shared that if a student is struggling or falling behind they were referred to the library for extra assistance.  This has had mixed results at both institutions with those students who found the help useful being forever grateful and the ones


Beyond new student orientations there was a small discussion about what, if any, faculty orientation included the library.  Some institutions do not even had new faculty orientation, which was many of the ones meeting, but even those without have found other ways to introduce themselves and the library to new faculty. 

  • One on one faculty orientation/introduction/relationship building.  The institutions who do this had positive feedback about the experience from the library side, including that faculty seemed more receptive to collaborations with the library and library usage in general.
  • One institution is a part of their adjunct faculty orientation and does a presentation during the week before the semester when all faculty work from a single campus for a variety of meetings.
  • Another institution has an entire half day with faculty going through orientation.


Chat Service

Two of the institutions represented at the meeting recently purchased Springshare’s LibChat service.  The fall semester should be a good test to see if the chat service is utilized.  There was some trepidation in how to get the word out in a way that would lead students to utilizing the service.  Some of the advice given was to just try different things until you know what works and make sure that you’re marketing to make the service readily accessible to students.  One key component is to ensure that you’re responding to chats ASAP.  This prevents students from getting frustrated when there is a delay.  There was also the suggestion that requiring an email address or other information upfront could help guide the chat discussion and limit abuse of the service.  Update on how this service works through the semester will be discussed at our next meeting.

 Another institution already utilizes SnapEngage as their chat service.  Experience with this service was that it was mostly unused.  Barely a one chat a week sometimes. 


Information Commons Creation

Gateway Community and Technical College is embracing a new concept of collaboration for all student services.  This includes the library, financial aid, student support services and admissions.  The change is a large one for the entire college community, but will help serve students through a ticketing system and better direction for students to get information.  This concept creates singular information desks at each campus with a variety of student services representatives.  These representatives will be cross trained to answer basic questions for a variety of departments and will escalate inquires requiring more intense service to the appropriate department.


Embedded Librarianship              

Indian Wesleyan as a cohort program with the adult learners had embedded librarian information in each class as they go along.  This has had mixed results, although doesn’t seem to equate to higher library usage.  The questions raised from this were what is the best method of integrating the library into a class?  And although this is targeted to their assignments at the time how many students look at the information?


Other Notes

As with all of our meetings we sometimes have tidbits mentioned that don’t fall into a category, but are interesting concepts to think about and consider. 

  • Analogy that could be positive to use with faculty and students “A Library Degree is a degree in research”
  • Idea of a club that would meet weekly at a particular time to review the lesson of the week.  This could be targeted to what students would be learning or general.  Student success skills, time management, organization, improve vocabulary, etc.
  • Return to College group- Idea to create a group for those students who are struggling with the transition of using the digital library of today, when the library of their yesterday was rooted in print materials. 


Next Meeting:

Please join us at the next Academic SIG meeting prior to the membership meeting on December 1, 2015 at the Reading Road branch of the Cincinnati Public Library (More information can be found on the event page).  To start off our meeting we would like to discuss updates to what was new for the fall semester and how did it work?  Good, bad, or ugly examples are welcome.  We want to know what your library tried and how it went.  This will hopefully include some update to ongoing conversations from the August meeting including chat services, discovery layer, and the information commons at Gateway.

Tags:  Academics  Meeting Notes  SIG 

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