By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–The IU Southeast Library touches every aspect of academic life on campus, and many off campus as well.
So it’s only natural that the Library should kick off a new series of monthly events called the Student Success Spotlight.
“The series intends to shine a light on the excellent work of individuals and units across campus who are making student success a priority,” said Dr. Kelly Ryan, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “In these challenging times, it’s important we find ways to communicate beyond individuals and units, and build a shared sense of mission that encourages and appreciates all of our unique talents.”
The hour-long event will take place on Wednesday, January 27, at 12:20 p.m. on Zoom, and can be accessed via this link. The password code is 904322.
The initial presentation will be led by Courtney Block, the instruction, reference, and user engagement librarian.
She will be joined by Library faculty and staff colleagues who will provide a rounded picture of facilities and services.
“We will talk about new services that have evolved, the ways in which we’ve modified physical spaces for safety, and how we’ve continued to meet the research needs of students,” Block said.
The Library exists in many realms, according to Block. It is a physical space that houses resources and provides reliable internet and technology for students. This function has been vital during the coronavirus shutdown, when the Library stayed open to accommodate students’ needs.
“Not every student has access to reliable internet and/or computers to complete their work, so our physical building remained open throughout this pandemic, so that nobody would be left behind,” Block said.
For some users, the Library has also been a welcome space to escape the chaos of the pandemic and the distractions at home, as Block has learned from student feedback. Mendick and Vest will speak about measures taken to maintain safety protocols so the building can remain open.
But the Library also functions in the virtual realm, providing 24/7 access to electronic resources. During the pandemic, access to research assistance and librarians transitioned almost entirely to the online space.
“Library employees aren’t just passively waiting for students or faculty to visit us, we’re working hard behind the scenes to proactively deliver the best services, spaces and help that we can,” Block said.
In reflecting on 2020, Block feels the Library met the challenges head-on. Remaining open throughout the pandemic sent a message of continuity and calm to a community in crisis, and demonstrated once again the commitment of staff and faculty to leveraging their collective knowledge and energy to ensuring that students’ learning journeys would continue.
“Libraries are great at adapting,” Block said. “And they’re great at creating community.”