Guest Author – Julie McDaniel, Student Success Librarian, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio
Focusing on college faculty and students in our work as librarians can make it easy to overlook the potential of reaching everyone else who works at our institutions. At Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, we have launched a variety of initiatives that help us connect with college staff, which we believe help us promote library resources to staff.
In my role as Student Success Librarian, I work with college staff who are also connected to student success and represent a wide variety of departments on campus. Part of my role is to connect staff to as much information about our college as I can to make sure that students are receiving the most accurate information the first time and to decrease inaccurate referrals. We have created several ways to do this. These programs go beyond the library’s traditional role of articles, books, and video.
We created a series of programs, called Sinclair 101, that help staff learn about other departments on campus. The Sinclair 101 team hosts two events each month – one where we tour a campus space (such as our automotive department, culinary spaces, theatre backstage, etc.) and one where we have a question-and-answer session. Staff are generally excited about the opportunity to talk about their area and other staff appreciate the opportunity to learn about the services, resources, and offices on campus and how they can help students. The cross training and new knowledge allow everyone to better serve students and improve referrals between departments.
Our library hosts an Employees Pursuing Graduate Degrees group once a month to allow employees to share successes and struggles while encouraging one another. As the participants discuss their experiences on their way to advanced degrees, we have been able to talk about library databases, citation management apps, predatory publishing, interlibrary loan as well as general research topics. We have also been able to make referrals to our Institutional Review Board and Research, Analytics and Reporting departments. Staff appreciate the attention to their “outside of work” projects and we benefit by being on the cutting edge of community college research.
We created a series of programs called Tips, Tricks & Hidden Gems that focus on various software programs or apps that are used on our campus. A “super user” leads the session and shares tips or work arounds that are helpful to others who also use the systems. Participants in the sessions are encouraged to share their shortcuts as well as ask questions to allow the group to problem solve as needed to help everyone do their job better. We were able to have one session focused on the library where we reviewed our website and used that as jumping-off point to talk about all our resources – which are, of course, available to staff as well as students.
In general, we have raised the visibility of the library by reaching college staff to help them do their jobs better as well as helping provide current accurate information about our institution to help our students succeed.