Typically a busy hub for study and research, Cox Library needed a plan to serve the community through this year’s remote and hybrid learning plans. Milton’s librarians went to work finding creative ways to operate.
When Milton first went remote last spring, it “coincided with the start of the history department’s ‘research season,’” said Laura Pearle, director of the library. “We created a portal that included a chat box so students looking for library assistance could talk with a librarian from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students from all over the U.S., China, and Europe contacted us for help with citations, using the databases, and general help on various topics.”
The library purchased access to a database of more than 200,000 ebooks to help students do their research since the print collection was unavailable. They also extended outreach to the community via quizzes and social media postings.
Over the summer, the librarians (Pearle, Beth Reardon, Joanna Novick, and Mitchell Edwards) participated in professional development; attended numerous webinars about books, providing remote services, and tech tools for remote learning; and participated in online discussions with their peers nationwide on providing service with a closed facility. They also started a library newsletter to promote new resources and remind people of existing ones.
This fall, the library added SORA, an ebook service. Most recently, they added curbside pickup for the print collection. Students can reserve books online and they are left for pick up on a table in front of the library. For Middle School students, books are delivered to their homeroom.
The librarians are still providing the remote chat opportunity, creating more resource guides for classes, working on tutorials for commonly asked questions, and maintaining outreach via Instagram and the newsletter.