Russell Library provides services virtually

Russell Library provides services virtually

W hen Dr. Shaundra Walker, interim director of the Russell Library at Georgia College, first learned that the University System of Georgia (USG) would be transitioning to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her first thoughts centered around Georgia College faculty and students: How could the library assist in making the transition as smooth as possible? 

Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, Walker said she was concerned, but not alarmed. Libraries are forerunners in providing resources online, she explained, and the Russell Library is no exception. 

Libraries are traditionally associated with buildings and thought of as repositories of knowledge, particularly as knowledge exists in books.  We are increasingly providing content online, in a way that is accessible to students and faculty wherever they are. From electronic articles to ebooks, thanks to projects like GALILEO, we’ve been delivering materials virtually for over 25 years.
– Dr. Shaundra Walker

Instruction and Research Services faculty and staff participate in a Webex meeting
Instruction and Research Services faculty and staff participate in a Webex meeting
 As soon as Georgia College received directives from the USG, the library went to work to provide an even more robust online experience. Since the print collection would no longer be accessible, the library immediately began building resource lists of their existing e-book collections, while working with vendors to expand those options. 

The student research conference, hosted through the institutional repository, the Knowledge Box, will be all online this year, explained Holly Croft, digital archivist and assistant professor of library science. “There will be a posters section, a video presentation section, and a research in progress section, all of which will go in the Knowledge Box,” Croft said.

Walker highlighted another area of support: Students completing thesis or dissertation. Students typically obtain signatures from their committee members, working with the library to have copies of their thesis or dissertation bound and placed in the library’s Institutional Repository. Without being able to obtain signatures in person, the library is currently working with Information Technology (IT) to create a process to transition the signature page to GC signatures, laying the groundwork for a step-by-step virtual workshop to walk students through the process. 

Assistant professor of library science Jeff Dowdy hosts a tutorial on creating permalinks

The library has built on this now that instruction has moved online. The traditional library card has been supplemented by the GALILEO login, connecting campus to a wide variety of online content. 

Walker encourages the campus community to reach out to the library for support, and to rest assured that the library will be here to assist them. 

The library’s commitment to support their teaching, learning and research need is unwavering.  We’re very experienced at providing virtual services. Personally, I understand that these are uncertain times for everyone, and I am committed to doing whatever I can to make this period as stress and hassle free as possible.  The library is just a phone call, chat or email away.

Below are a list of online resources and updates provided by the library:

o    Our virtual support options include chat, online synchronous research consultations (via WebEx) and assistance via phone and email.  While we are no longer supplying book requests from other libraries, we are able to fill requests for articles.

o    Many of our vendors have been kind enough to extend additional databases and video collections beyond our current subscriptions.  Our team is working diligently to make as much of this content available as possible, because we understand the need to support teaching and learning in the online environment.  We have access to thousands of ebooks and streaming videos through collections such as the Journal of Visual Experimentation, Films on Demand, ProQuest ebook collection and EBSCO ebooks, among others.  Several of our archival collections, such as our yearbooks, are digitized. These resources are just a click away and our team of librarians is ready to help faculty identify specific resources if needed.  

o    We put together an online guide that provides quick access to our resources and services:  We stripped the guide down to the basics, because we realized that everyone is being overwhelmed with information as of late.  It’s a simple, yet access point to what we have to offer during this critical time.

o    We’ve extended the due date for any checked out items through the end of the term.  We are understanding and will work with students and faculty during this period.

The library will continue to update the campus community on services provided by the library on their Instagram and Facebook accounts.