York County Community College (YCCC) Library successfully serves faculty and students -- who range in age from 16 to nearly 90 -- with just two full-time librarians, one part-time library technician, and one very part-time library adjunct. Springshare tools are a great help here, as we handle the technology-side so the library is able to make challenge-free learning their priority. Amber Tatnall, the Director of Library Learning and Resources at York County Community College in Maine, said,
...the library has had to become very self-sufficient with regards to technology. Springshare helps me and my staff do what we need to do, with a minimal learning curve and lots of room for creativity. The backend stats are an added feature that let me place hard data in front of decision makers.
With tight budgets and limited staffing, the Community College libraries are always tasked to do more with less. YCCC library serves a vibrant campus of diverse backgrounds, from teens in their Early College Program to military veterans to international students to the 80-year old students in their Senior College and more. Amber says, "our students share a strong work ethic and a desire to improve their lives. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be part of their academic journey." A good number of the students are the first in their families to go to college. Many are economically disadvantaged. There are hurdles as their experience with research varies widely.
With the Springshare Platform, we have turned that challenge into a huge opportunity for innovation and growth, not only for the library but for the whole campus. --Amber Tatnall, YCCC Library Director
York County Community College first acquired LibGuides in July of 2010. According to Amber,
We dropped some databases to afford it and that was the single most impactful decision I have made on this job in 18 years. It changed *everything*!
Having full control of the library website was really important to Amber and her librarians. She told us
Back in July 2010, the library decided that they needed to have direct access to their own website. The college's administration considered the college's website to be primarily a marketing tool and they were having a hard time understanding that a web page could be a pedagogical tool.
They built a strong case for purchasing LibGuides, envisioning all the obstacles they could remove to be able to have a website that is truly a tool for instruction as well as having the standard information that is available on a library website. With LibGuides the librarians have direct access to creating and editing content, making the library website a critically important learning platform rather than just a marketing tool.
Amber continues, "...we did not have the ability to edit and create our own web pages without going through other departments, which were, understandably perhaps, not as responsive to our needs as we felt we needed them to be."
The library at YCCC is dedicated to the conversation they are having with their students and faculty. Listening to the user feedback, Amber found that the library needed to build a guide on Last-Minute Research, and… voila, the guide was published.
Annette Tanguay, a librarian at YCCC says,
One of the most valuable parts of using LibGuides CMS is the ability to create what we need in a reasonable amount of time and with relative ease. In one small example in our attempt to help students evaluate news sources, we created a new tab on our Library website with a jigsaw puzzle entitled, How to Spot Fake News.
Amber says they decided to purchase LibWizard for
...the ability to create tutorials. We'd been trying to do that in-house for years, but we didn't have the technical capabilities. I really like making a video, embedding it in a LibWizard with some interactive work, and then following up with a quiz.
YCCC library has a Research Instruction-to-Go page that houses their tutorials along with quizzes, and printable handouts, and files they've uploaded -- like a Checklist for Writing Your Research paper. They also have LibAnswers FAQs in there and links to guides on things like Developing a Topic.
The LibAnswers Platform has a two-fold purpose. First, it's a central hub to manage interactions with students, faculty, patrons, the public-at-large, and staff no matter which avenue they prefer to use to contact you – email, live chat, social media, texting, etc.
Second, it has a great statistics package to ensure you are capturing the complete picture of the work being done at your library. You can walk into your meetings armed with data from LibAnswers on how many interactions and questions the library handled.
What's brilliant about YCCC's LibAnswers FAQs is how they use them to circulate the content they've already made. They have FAQs built that have links to guides they've built and links to tutorials, plus they've included a feedback survey -- while they have your attention! Amazing. Way to capitalize on the moment. Amber says,
I think if folks don't integrate everything, they're missing an opportunity to reach someone.
Springshare's tools are designed to work together to create a connected library experience for your team and your patrons. With widgets and APIs you can embed to your heart's delight. Display a LibChat widget on your A-Z Database list page. Add a LibCal mini-calendar to a LibGuide. Use the LibGuides CMS LTI Integration tool to offer tailored subject-specific resources inside courseware pages. There are so many ways to use integration to connect your patrons to the services you offer and the resources they need.
Amber is excellent at executing this idea. She says,
We really like to cross-integrate all of our Springy creations. So if we have an FAQ, we make sure to drop it into a LibGuide, as appropriate. Similarly, if we create a LibWizard tutorial, we create a matching FAQ. The goal is to have information/education available wherever a student may look for it. I like the idea of getting the full benefit of all the various tools. I also like that we can create a text document, a video, an interactive tutorial -- each creation appealing to a different learning style.
Librarians want to know they're doing all they can. Connecting all the touch points. Helping people find what they need and get their questions answers -- that's the beautiful job.
Getting the word out to inform the community about the many services the library offers is critical, and Amber and her team are doing a great job at it, with some help from Springshare tools.
More visibility and advertising of your services lead to more usage. You can prove this with statistics from various Springshare tools. When asked about Springshare stats reports Amber said, "They're essential and I use them as a bludgeon." Their library, like many, compiles annual reports and they use this data to fight for the library's budget. But, Amber goes a step further in utilizing statistics. She says,
...a cross-departmental team was working to redesign all of the pages devoted to online learning. There were lots of pages, lots of links, documents, media, etc. Lots of duplication and a complete lack of consistency. By analyzing the usage stats on the links and assets, we were able to see what assets were actually getting used by students and then, we eliminated ones that weren't getting used at all. Based on actual data! Who knew?! LOL! We were able to streamline the whole section (less is more) and make it more responsive to student need. Folks had no idea that we had that sort of functionality.
We're so glad Amber's team is putting Springshare tools to such great use. While they may be a small team, they are fighting big fights and they do so because they love the student body that they serve. We’re thrilled and honored to help Amber and her team on their amazing library journey.;