ZSR Side View
ZSR Side View

WHEW! What a semester! Along with the rest of the WFU community, ZSR librarians and staff had to make a pretty fast pivot to remote services, teaching, and learning in March of 2020. Not only were we moving our own courses (6 sections of LIB100, 1 section of LIB200, 2 FYS courses and 1 English course) online, but we were also assisting so many other WFU faculty as they transitioned their courses to online. Below are some of the highlights of this crazy semester!

Instruction for Classes

After Spring Break, ZSR librarians taught more than 40 virtual instruction sessions for WFU classes that had gone remote. These sessions were done via Zoom, Google Meet, and other platforms and allowed our librarians to demonstrate for students our online resources and how to access them from home as they completed their research for the semester. ZSR subject librarians also worked with faculty to find online materials for their classes. Well over 2000 emails were exchanged during the process as we helped our faculty locate online versions of their course texts, online streaming videos, and online information that could help replace their print and physical course materials.

Personal Research Sessions 

Helping students with research one-on-one is always a critical part of how we support students each semester, and that didn’t stop once we went remote.  We helped more than 120 students through personal research sessions – either via email or online through Google Meet or Zoom. These online platforms allowed our librarians to demonstrate searches and strategies for students via screen-sharing, not to mention getting to see our students beautiful faces live on video which was a delight.

Virtual Reference

In addition, we answered more than 600 questions from students, faculty, and the wider community that came in through our online chat/text/email system. These questions ranged from inquiries about the status of library services, to requests for help finding online materials for research papers, to questions about materials in our Special Collections and Archives. ZSR staff and librarians monitored these channels all week and over the weekends and we will continue this over the summer as well.

Online Tutorials

In the past 2+ months, our librarians and staff have made many publicly available online tutorial videos to share with students and faculty. With the help of our Communications Committee, we’ve created a ZSR Library Research and Instruction playlist on Youtube. We have also begun adding information literacy modules to the Canvas Commons. These modules allow WFU instructors to more easily embed ZSR video tutorials and activities into their Canvas courses. And don’t forget, Special Collections & Archives has subject guides for primary resources and digital collections for faculty to use! An easy Introductory Powerpoint (with accompanying audio) to SCA collections is also available for your online class and there will be a forthcoming guide on how to easily integrate digital primary documents into courses.

Scanning and Streaming 

To support remote courses, the access services and acquisitions folks in the library worked especially hard to scan or acquire online materials that our faculty and students needed. The scale of the effort was huge, but we think we ordered over 150 ebooks, 33 streaming videos, and scanned an additional 146 items for faculty to make available online for courses.

Supporting Faculty in their Teaching 

The University-wide support for emergency remote teaching was spearheaded by the four offices in ZSR’s Faculty Commons suite: the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), the Office of Online Education, IS Academic Technology, and the library’s Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication (DISC). Kyle Denlinger, Digital Pedagogy & Open Education Librarian, and Molly Keener, Director of DISC, participated in a series of open lab sessions for faculty for point-of-need advice, assisting nearly 50 faculty in the first few weeks of remote teaching. Beyond the labs, Kyle and Molly jointly had 93 faculty consultations on a range of issues from class projects to course materials to copyright. These four offices are currently planning a summer peer-to-peer learning community and additional professional development opportunities for faculty in preparation for fall semester.

Spring 2020 was a semester like no other, but the faculty and staff of the ZSR Library managed to find ways to continue many of our services so the critical missions of teaching and research could continue. We look forward to reintroducing some services gradually over the summer and fall and we cannot wait until we are back to a more normal routine. We have missed our colleagues, our students, our faculty, and our building.