We did a story on York County Community College back in 2018 where we shared the amazing work being done by just 2 full-time and 2-part-time librarians, including then Library Director, Amber Tatnall. When we got back in touch, we learned that Amber is now the Associate Academic Dean. The library is now part of the Student Success Commons, which Amber oversees along with Online Learning and Campus-Wide Assessment.
Amber takes us back saying, "As you know, YCCC has been an enthusiastic user of Springshare products for many years. Prior to March 2020, YCCC used Springshare primarily in the Library and Student Success Commons: over 100 guides, an online help desk, a few LibWizard tutorials, and an occasional survey. A few other departments at the College also had guides and an online help desk."
When asked to recall what the COVID-19 pandemic brought to their doors, Amber said,
During the beginning of March 2020, we had two weeks lead-time to go fully online. I knew that Springshare was going to be our saving grace.
Amber and Academic Dean, Doreen Rogan, asked the team to reflect on the work they did to ensure they could support their students and faculty during this unpredictable time. Here's what the librarians have to say:
Springshare has given us the ability to have a live chat option so students can drop in during morning, afternoon and evening hours to get LIVE help from a Librarian. Although the Library has a very rich web presence (that’s also thanks to Springshare!!), some students really need a live person to help them navigate the world of research and citations. Our Librarians are able to do that thanks to the amazing tools that we have in Springshare. We are very grateful we were able to pivot so quickly and really not miss a beat when it came to supporting students in the Library.
They did their best to keep things moving along. Having already made a solid number of LibGuides saved them so much time when they had to make the switch. Amber shared that "Library instruction sessions continued through that first online semester, using Zoom and featuring our ready-to-rock-and-roll library guides."
As libraries all over the world began to shut down, the sudden shift to handling all business online could have any team scrambling. Fortunately, the YCCC crew already had some tools in place to assist them with the new challenges. They found LibWizard and LibCal to be flexible and stocked with features making them useful to everyone. Amber affirmed,
Springshare allowed us to keep our finger on the pulse of student opinion and need in a time of isolation.
Amber playfully coins the term "full Springshare" as she shares some of the excellent ways they used the tools when the conventional ways had gone out the window:
The library team noted that the IT Department stepped up their services and developed their own knowledge base using the LibAnswers Platform, creating helpful FAQs and even built a new Technical Support LibGuide. YCCC had an uphill climb troubleshooting with the online students which, as Amber clarifies, "...oh right, that would be ALL of our students this year!" They worked hard and continue to do so to provide the best possible services in person or online.
Amber further explained that,
...behind the scenes, the data was piling up. In my new job with assessment, LibInsight, LibWizard, and all of the statistics tools helped me to track …. Well… everything! I could see where the trouble spots were, I could see what was working and what wasn’t, and could raise a red flag to administration, as appropriate. I feel we were able to be so responsive to both student and faculty/staff need because of the information I could pull from the analytics. Also, my Creating a Culture of Assessment LibGuide will make pleasant reading for our NECHE team’s follow-up accreditation visit this coming fall.
Doreen, Amber, and the York County Community College team swung into action. They not only had the full Springshare Suite to work with -- they had the imagination necessary to use the tools in new ways at a time when their patrons were truly counting on them.