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(Mostly) Business as Usual @ the FM Evans Library

Posted: May 13, 2020 — The staff at the Evans Library have always felt that libraries are more a frame of mind than anything else.  When asked about libraries, most people typically think of a majestic building. The faculty and staff at the Evans Library however, think first of the people, the services, and the connections we make on a daily basis.  This perspective has never been more relevant than these challenging times as we were required to reconsider the way we provide services. For more than 50 years, we have predominately delivered in-person, direct, and pro-active library services to our college community and county residents. Recently, like other campus and community organizations, we needed to find other ways to connect when face-to-face transactions were no longer possible.

Such a transition was not as daunting as one might expect.  Over the past 25 years we have been developing and expanding our online presence until one could truthfully say that our library is the sum of two very equal, distinct, interwoven, and essential parts – our physical space and our virtual: library.fmcc.edu.  Because they are two parts of a whole, we were ready for the transition to online learning and the virtual college.

The first order of business was to ensure our resources were accessible and ready for use. That was easy; we personally use them on a daily basis. We were confident that our online resources – including databases, periodicals, books and media – were ready for our patrons.

Next, we needed to ensure that students knew where to find the librarians and other staff.  This was particularly important as course papers and projects requiring research were being assigned and the later part of the semester can be one of the library’s busiest.  We changed our homepage to spotlight our phone and text number as well as our 24/7 chat service. This service is staffed by FM librarians during the day and librarians across the nation at all other times.

We then turned our attention to loaning computer equipment to students who lacked the resources for online learning.  Late in March a notice was sent to students that there were laptops, Chromebooks, and Surface tablets available to get them through the semester.  Since the library is in the lending business, we were the most logical office to circulate these items to students.  As of late April, over 45 units have been borrowed.

Lastly, we were asked to work with Student Services staff to create a website that provided additional and easy-to-find information on financial aid, tutoring, students with disabilities, and advisement to name just a few services. This website: library.fmcc.edu/StudentServices is continuously monitored by Student Services staff and is updated accordingly.

And so it’s business as usual, for FM and for the Evans Library.  As we finish the Spring 2020 semester, we will carry on as always, serving our community with quality education and giving students the support they deserve.

This article was written by Mary Donohue, Professor and Library Director.

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