September 15, 2020 | Betty A. Proctor | Internal Press Release
As the world held its breath as the year 2000 arrived, Chattanooga State’s Augusta R. Kolwyck Library & Information Commons (KLIC) team was ready for “Y2K.” As early adopters of technological trends, the library staff embraced change in order to remain relevant and inspired in an increasingly digital world.
Lessons from the past were put to the test when COVID-19 hit Chattanooga in the spring of 2020. “In order to protect our campus community and each other, we quickly formulated new and creative ways to meet the needs of our students while also following health protocols,” recalls Susan Jennings, dean of Library Services. Poised and ready to make the transition to online learning, Ms. Jennings said, “Our transition seemed almost effortless since so much of what we already do is digital and internet based. In the twenty-eight years I’ve worked in libraries, I have seen much change but one thing remains the same: librarians and library staff are dedicated to the success of all students!”
That dedication to student success drives the library staff at Chattanooga State. “Our primary goal in teaching course integrated library instruction classes is that students will take the skills they have learned in ‘this class’ and apply them to other classes and life situations,” says Ms. Jennings. She notes that every academic division on campus has a librarian assigned as a liaison to help achieve that goal.
To support the educational mission and strategic plan of the College, KLIC not only has physical materials for check out but access to a large collection of ebooks, electronic magazines and journals, and streaming videos available online 24/7.
“KLIC’s Student Technology Support service is heavily used and has become crucial to our students’ success,” states Jennings. Support includes one-on-one assistance via phone, chat/text for help with troubleshooting barriers, accessing campus software, home computer issues and more. Amy Campbell, Education and IT Support coordinator, and Andrew James-Catalano, Student Help Desk technician, staff this two-person operation and have handled more than 300 help tickets, chats, and phone calls since August 24, which was the start of the fall 2020 semester.
Since March, Dean Jennings and Librarian Lori Warren have created over 40 virtual offices with chat service for campus to ensure campus offices could continue to function despite the pandemic. This popular “one stop shop” provides student assistance and enables the campus community to communicate and engage with students online. More than 8,640 chats have been answered between March 9 and August 31.
Currently, KLIC is open to Chattanooga State students, faculty and staff by appointment only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. “We are so happy to see some of our students coming in again, and we are thrilled to assist them with providing a place to attend online classes, complete homework assignments, and conduct research,” shares Jennings.
To learn more about Chattanooga State library services, visit library.chattanoogastate.edu/home.