Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA, is a Films On Demand subscriber. We recently talked with Jessica Oberlin, information technology initiatives librarian at Penn College’s Madigan Library, about her favorite part of being a librarian, how her library encourages usage among students and faculty, and more.
What is your favorite part of being a librarian?
Simply helping others when they have information needs. When I get a question from a student, faculty member, or anyone from the community, I try my best to answer their question, but also get to the root of what they are really searching for. This can be tricky at times, but when the user ends up being extremely happy with what they were able to accomplish working with a librarian, that makes me happy as well.
What do you think is the library’s most important responsibility at your institution?
Providing the best resources along with the best instruction for our school’s curriculum and users. We’re here ultimately for students and their success!
What have you done that has most impacted usage at your college?
Implementing a variety of resources at differing access points has impacted usage at our institution. We’ve updated our library catalog to a discovery interface that interconnects with other print and online resources, provided overlapping collections with web resources such as Google Scholar, and revised multiple access points on the college’s learning management system, internal portal sites, our website, and online library guides. Ultimately, we want our users to easily find materials from multiple access points. This definitely affected our usage these last few years.
How do you alert faculty to the new resources your library acquires?
One of our librarians is on a curriculum committee with other faculty so they are able to quickly relay information on what our subject librarians should be preparing for in our curriculums and library resources. This is a great asset to our library to work closely with faculty and classes. New resources typically start with trials to the resource, such as a new database, in collaboration with faculty. When we acquire new materials, we post announcements, create marketing materials, and work closely with faculty to integrate them into classes and the curriculum.
Tell us about your favorite YouTube video/LibGuide, etc., your library has created to promote a resource.
I think one of the best online guides we have created to promote use of resources is our Open Education Resources (OER)/Open Textbooks resource. Although this is not a promotion of our library-owned resources, we feel this is extremely important in today’s educational environment to have easy, knowledgeable access to open source materials for our students, faculty, and administrators. By creating a guide for our campus to these resources, we feel we’re providing the best guidance to the vast amounts of information that can be open to our users. This guide was also presented in multiple professional development sessions for our faculty, staff, and administrators.
How do you make sure students and faculty with disabilities or language barriers can easily access your library’s resources?
Our campus makes accessibility a high priority for our students. In the library space and our library classrooms, we have multiple assistive technology workstations for students with disabilities or language barriers. We also put our online guides through accessibility checks before they are published. One of our online guides lists every database and online resource vendor with information to their accessibility standards and procedures. When purchasing DVDs or video content, every material we own is either closed captioned or accompanied by a transcript of the material. Each librarian has taken professional development sessions on how to make our materials accessible; all of our materials for classroom teaching sessions are made to be accessible whether it’s a simple word document or a custom-made website. All users can easily access our resources.
What role does social media play in your relationship with your patrons?
Our library has an active Facebook account for our users to interact with Madigan Library. We also have created a Social Media Career Readiness LibGuide for our users to use platforms such as LinkedIn when pursuing their first job.