Friday Finds

Friday Finds

“The Long View”

The listserv is dead: long live the listserv!

The CJCLS Community in ALA Connect has inherited the aim, and most of the subscribers, of the late, great CJCLS-L. If you haven’t joined yet, see the end of this post to find out how.

This past week, one of our topics was about taking the long view: out of all the changes and adaptations community college libraries have made during the pandemic, which do we want to preserve even when these pandemic times are behind us?

More than one person noted that they hope to continue offering hybrid reference services, with both in-person and online options. Suzanne Bernsten of Lansing Community College Library notes that reference via online videoconferencing “has worked out very well for students, so we hope to keep it in the future.” She points out that this will be a matter of balancing in-person and online services. Perhaps that balance has shifted, even for colleges that began to offer videoconference reference appointments before 2020.

Debbie Herman of Manchester Community College says that they are “keeping the curbside pickup service for library materials. Many of our students (and faculty!) have very young children, so this is a great option for them as well as for those with mobility issues.” Along the same lines, Rebecca Funke of Des Moines Area Community College notes that they’re keeping their scheduling option to borrow a mobile hotspot. She notes that “the online scheduling option provides a more equitable opportunity for our students.” Holding on to new practices that make physical materials more accessible, and available more equitably, is well worth considering!

Not all changes are patron-facing. Garrison Libby of Central Piedmont Community College notes: “Instead of trying to get every library staff member from six campuses in the same place at the same time, we can just hold trainings and meetings virtually and make things so much more accessible for everyone. It’s been a big, positive shift, and while there’s definitely benefit to those in-person all staff meetings, there are so many that can be done virtually with no loss.” Even for colleges with a single campus, virtual meetings have great advantages. How to balance those with the different advantages that in-person meetings bring? Are hybrid meetings with both in-person and virtual attendees worth pursuing? I’m sure that many of us will be asking these questions over the coming months.

Robin Brown, Head of Public Services at Borough of Manhattan Community College (and current CJCLS Chair), is glad to say goodbye to one piece of technology: “For environmental reasons, I hope the copiers don’t come back.” Here at Pasadena City College, our copiers left the building too! Perhaps between the reduction in paper waste and the reduced reliance on physical presence, one lasting benefit we can hold onto from this most difficult time is a reduced environmental footprint.

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