Northeast Lakeview College (NLC) in Universal City, TX, is a Films On Demand subscriber. We recently talked with Tracey E. Mendoza, NLC’s Dean of Learning Resources, about how the NLC Library handles technophobes, how she encourages usage among researchers and faculty, and what the library’s most important responsibility is.
Tell us one way you’re helping users who may be hesitant to embrace technology to take advantage of your library’s online resources.
When faculty requested LibGuides to support their course learning outcomes or research assignments, we created an approachable “standardized” format for our course guides so students and faculty will recognize and easily locate needed information. Students will become familiar (across all courses) with where to find things like how to use our LSP, how to use databases that are most relevant to their assignments, and where to find tutorials that help them incorporate media and images into presentations. Our librarians work closely with our eLearning Center staff who assist students with all learning technologies. This consistency in format doesn’t mean consistency in the information included. Each guide is customized to the specific assignment or instructor-selected learning outcome.
What have you done that has most impacted usage at your college?
We don’t reuse guides semester to semester. We make it convenient for faculty to put in requests for instruction and assignment guides each semester as they may have changed the assignment and the resources they want emphasized. This helps to keep the guide from becoming stagnant and triggers the instructor telling us about any needed changes. One of our largest impacts has been with LIBR 0001 / LIBR 0002. The NLC Library is embedded in the core curriculum in both freshman English composition courses and we use the learning management system and LibGuides to deliver this instruction as part of every ENGL 1301 / ENGL 1302 course. We have been doing this for several years, and our data demonstrates a positive correlation between use, completion, and success in our LIBR 0001 / LIBR 0002 modules with actual success in students’ ENGL 1301 / ENGL 1302 course grades. It’s a terrific way to bring students into the fold and get them started on an information-literate future.
How do you alert faculty to the new resources your library acquires?
Our faculty are the conduit to our students. We are very aware that their knowledge and awareness leads to student awareness. We have several information avenues that we use to highlight the goings-on of the library and newly acquired resources. The library is part of NLC’s Division of Learning Resources (DLR), which includes academic support/testing, distance learning, and instructional innovation. The DLR has two faculty advisory committees, and we disseminate information through the advisory committees, meetings with our division chairs, electronic signage, blasts via our learning management system, with a new materials distribution list, and through librarian liaisons who attend division meetings.
How do you make sure students and faculty with disabilities or language barriers can easily access your library’s resources?
Because we work closely with our distance learning department, we are very aware of ADA standards and guidelines, and we verify that products conform to these standards and that our created resources have closed captioning, title tags, required navigation, and is screen readable. Our vended products need to have assistive functionality. Our students also have access to Spanish-language materials, which is our primary second language need.
What do you think is the library’s most important responsibility at your institution?
Because we are a “teaching institution,” the library’s primary mission is to support our curricular programs and our program learning outcomes. We do this by emphasizing resources and services that align formally and informally with our instructor partners. Our librarian faculty are responsible for learning outcomes as well. The NLC supports the institutional mission by supporting our broader community with information and research assistance and working with faculty in developing resources that support our “No Additional Cost / Open Educational Resources” initiatives.
Tell us about your favorite YouTube video/LibGuide, etc., your library has created to promote a resource.
We do something called Midnight Madness each semester, when our division stays open for extended hours the week prior to finals to give our students extra time with study space, assistance, and some stress relievers. It includes some Just for Laughs videos to remind students to take a break when needed. We have a theme each semester, and this semester it’s “Be a Night Owl; We Stay Long—So You Can Finish Strong.” Our LibGuide provides information about the services available to them during Midnight Madness like therapy pets and pancakes for supper (provided by our marvelous student success folks)! The food goes quickly, and then it’s back to work preparing for final exams.
Tell us how you are making the most out of your library budget in these uncertain economic times.
We have to look for resources that support our curriculum and our mission. We’ve had to determine if resources are being used, but we also have to balance usage with if the resource is a primary resource that is not well covered by other things we own or license. We have an advisory committee that helps to review our “collection development” guidelines, and faculty and librarians serve as liaisons with regard to resources for the library. It’s important that the library be able to provide sustainable services, including instruction, with limited funding and staffing. We take advantage of consortial agreements whenever possible, and we have a marvelous state consortia—TexShare. TexShare allows members to take funding that would be spent on these consortial purchases and put it in specialized purchases and licenses for the individual institution.
What is your favorite part of being a librarian?
I think librarians are incredibly well versed in many things. Librarians get to try their hand and expertise in systems, organization, project management, student relations, faculty partnerships, teaching and learning, intellectual property, learning technologies, strategic planning, facilities design, etc.! Because I get to work with amazing and talented people from all areas of the college, what’s not to love?