Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC) in Rowan County and Cabarrus County, North Carolina, is a Films On Demand subscriber. We recently talked with instruction and outreach librarian Laurie Robb about how RCCC handles technophobes, encourages usage among researchers and faculty, and makes library resources more accessible for all patrons.
Tell us one way you’re helping users who may be hesitant to embrace technology to take advantage of your library’s online resources.
Students at RCCC get opportunities in class and individually (both face-to-face and virtually) for research help from librarians. In the past, our English instructors have been encouraged to bring classes in for library instruction where students have an opportunity to demonstrate online searching through the library’s databases. Librarians are also embedded in courses, create research guides for classes and topics, and also answer virtual reference questions through a chat widget.
As the new instructional librarian at RCCC, I will continue to work on outreach with faculty and students for seamless integration of research into class assignments. The new ACRL Framework emphasizes flexibility, critical thinking, threshold concepts, and uncovering the “stuck” places. I hope to build more traditional and online workshops to help students with their problem areas and giving students the skills and confidence they need to navigate online resources.
What is your favorite part of being a librarian?
I enjoy helping students brainstorm topics and find resources. I learn something every day! Helping students mold their ideas into researchable questions and then choosing how to frame their points into papers, projects, and speeches is very rewarding for me.
What do you think is the library’s most important responsibility at your institution?
Information literacy has become a vital role of the library in community colleges. The value of information today can be deceiving and hard to ascertain. The role of the library is to help students ask critical questions to determine the usefulness of resources to their particular need.
What have you done that has most impacted usage at your college?
I demonstrate Films On Demand with my library instruction classes and highlight both the link to the database as well as specific titles on research guides. For example, for the American History and World Civilizations classes here I have pulled film titles, linked the URLs, and provided summaries for the students. I have also worked with instructors to incorporate Films On Demand products into their Blackboard classes.
How do you alert faculty to the new resources your library acquires?
Our collection development librarian has a link to new Films On Demand videos on the library’s home page. Librarians also communicate with their liaison faculty members to alert them to new resources.
Tell us about your favorite YouTube video/LibGuide, etc., your library has created to promote a resource.
I really like using the history research guides that I’ve created because they give students a nice variety of credible library resources to get them started on their research. I also love Ken Burns, and I have included the Civil War series on those pages.
How do you make sure students and faculty with disabilities or language barriers can easily access your library’s resources?
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has strived to meet ADA recommendations for accessibility. The transcript feature in Films On Demand is a valuable tool that assists us with that goal. The library has also “cleaned up” its pages so that assistive technology can be used more effectively. Librarians at RCCC have made the library resource pages more accessible by encouraging proper use of the alt-text tag and testing our pages with Web-Aim’s free Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE).
To increase usage of Films On Demand and other library resources, it is important for librarians to know their patrons’ needs, whether they are students or faculty. Oftentimes, students need resources with general information about topics (instead of in-depth scholarly articles or articles about current topics), and Films On Demand provides the perfect amount of credible information in a friendly format. It is also helpful to stay abreast of the students’ and faculty’s needs so that the library can provide “just-in-time” help with credible resources.