Leveraging the 21st Century Library: Opportunities for Collaboration to Support Student Success
Good afternoon, everyone my name is Sabrina Cofer and on behalf of Choice and ACRL, I'd like to welcome you to today's program, Leveraging the 21st Century Library: Opportunities for Collaboration to Support Student Success, which is sponsored by Ithaka S+R. Today's discussion is one in a series of sponsored webinars from choice and ACRL that addresses new ideas and developments of interest of academic library community. Before we get started, I'd like to point out a few features of the webinar software, all the attendees who join the presentation are automatically muted and your cameras are off so don't worry about generating any noise or feedback we've got that taken care of for you. And the main area of the screen you can follow along with the presentation materials. We are using the Q&A feature today. Please use it to ask questions of our presenters. We do expect many questions and we likely won't have time to get to all of them so we apologize in advance for that. But that being said will answer as many questions we have time for at the end of the presentation so please do type them into the Q&A module as they occur to you.
You can also use the upvote feature to highlight questions that you like. Also there's closed captioning available for today's session. To toggle the automated captions on or off, please use the CC button on the bottom right corner of your screen. And last, please note that we are recording today's program and everyone who registered should receive a follow up email with a link to the archived version. And with that, we ready to get started. So I'll pass it over to our presenters today. Melissa Blankstein, Terra Jacobson, and Spencer Brayton. Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for joining today and Sabrina for that introduction. My name is Melissa Blankstein and for today's webinar will be seeking to examine the following question.
How can the library's unique Roby maximize to enhance both institutional and student success so to investigate this question today I'll be reviewing some national community college library director survey findings to better understand just how the unique contributions libraries are already providing in the greater ecosystem of academic and students support structures. I'm joined today by Tara Jacobson of at Moreno Valley Community College and Spencer Brighton net will bounce the Community College, who will speak about their own libraries and the collaboration models they have to support students access. So for our agenda first I'm going to briefly go over the larger project that the survey was a part of just to provide some greater context.
I will then go through some of our most relevant survey findings and throughout the presentations up with those findings, we'll hear from Volterra and Spencer on their libraries pre pandemic and pandemic related cross campus collaborations to support academic student success. And before we get started, we have this short poll for you all just to get a better sense of who's here with us in the audience today so reason the poll indicate where your institution fits in the following categories Community College baccalaureate institution masters institution doctoral institution or another option that might not be listed. I know these categories aren't completely perfect, but please indicate the institution type that best fits the institution that you're currently at. I'll give me some time to answer the poll. Great. So I don't know if you can see it here but looks like we have a good, good mix of people here today so great, thank you so much for attending.
Alright, so for those who maybe aren't as familiar with like asking are. We are a non for profit research organization and our work seeks to help and support academic and cultural communities better understand what's coming next, and to support research based strategy and decision making the SNR part of Africa SNR stands for strategy and research which most people don't know actually had to ask that myself when I started, say, this is a, we are as if the customer. I also just wanted to mention that this research initiative couldn't have been possible without the support of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, through their support we've embarked on this three year initiative to help community college Library academic leaders take action to translate research on student needs into services that support student success. And so we think I MLS for their support.
So the research initiative that I'm here to talk about today was developed to more fully understand the greater college ecosystem and how services are organized funded and staff from an administrative end, and how the library can then be situated as a partner in developing, as well as potentially providing support services to students. And so these three questions really guided the construction of the project so first we asked you know how are these departments and structures and support services, organized funded and staffed what are their key success factors their challenges their trade offs opportunities. What types of library services and conjunction with other academic and student support services do community colleges need and how can the library best organize itself to develop and sustain programs or services that contribute to the overall college mission. And so based off of those research questions this multi year is funded initiative, had three corresponding research intensive phases. So the first phase was a survey of 249 Chief Academic and Student Affairs officers conducted back at the start of the project in 2019. This survey explore their perspectives and the value of services provided at their college, their challenges and any other organizational information.
And so when I discuss some of the key findings from our library director survey, I'll often allude back and even include some comparative data from the survey. When we can be done conducted interviews across community colleges in 2020 with an array of different stakeholders at the college, including administrators, faculty, staff, librarians and library staff, students, and so on. Just to provide a bit more of a holistic perspective on how services are currently structured and the library's role in providing services to students. And finally, we then surveyed the library directors across the country and early 2021, which I'll be primarily reviewing today. And I'll post the full report of findings in the chat in the q amp a for the chat for you all to refer to, which should have
more details on other key findings from the survey. And with that, I'll get into the national library director survey findings. Um, so for this survey the population was library directors and those in equivalent positions at not for profit associate granting institutions across the country.
The survey was fielded between February and March of 2021 to 983 people. We received 321 completed surveys back for an overall response rate of 33%, which was really great to see. And so with that I will get into some of our key findings. So first off, a good amount of the survey delved into how library leaders view their colleges objectives, as well as their libraries objectives. When we look at those results side by side, we saw that library directors, recognize the importance of increasing traditional student outcomes like enrollment, retention, graduation, but believe libraries most critical contributions are tied to an increasing student learning. So in this slide, you can see the figure on the right hand side of this slide which is answering the question to the left, we see that Community College Library directors do consider major student milestones like year to year retention enrollment graduation, as extremely important objectives to their college overall.
We see that a little under 80% of survey respondents rated increasing student retention is extremely important to their college, followed by 71% for increasing enrollment and 61% for increasing graduation. Further down in the middle of the figure, we can see that a little over 40% rated increasing student learning as an extremely important college objective. And so we look at library leaders responses to this question alongside the responses of Academic and Student Affairs leaders from our previous survey and 2019, we see that there really is a lot of alignment and the importance of different College of objectives, particularly with those first two bars with traditional objectives of success like retention and enrollment. When we look specifically at the objective of increasing student learning that I've outlined here, we see that a larger share of both Chief Academic and Student Academic officers are rating increasing student learning as extremely important to their college objectives, compared to library leaders, so we saw that 70% of Chief Academic officers, and 57% of Student Affairs officers are rating increasing student learning as an extremely important objective to their college compared to around 43% of library directors know when we asked me about the extent to which the library contributes to different objectives, we see in this figure that 80% rated increasing student learning as extremely important, followed by 55% who rated helping students develop a sense of community, increasing course completion and student retention is extremely important. So there's an apparent gap here. And we saw in the previous two slides that about 43% of library leaders are rating increasing student learning as an extremely important objective to their college overall compared to 80% who right increasing student learning as an extremely important objective that their library is contributing to.
So in other words, we see that library leaders think that they're having the greatest impact on college objectives that they themselves are reading at a relatively average value, you know, of course, though these objectives are inherently tied to one another and prioritizing one objective does not come at the cost of pursuing another one. But I think these data represent a good way to just take the temperature on on people's priorities and objectives here. It's also interesting to note that you know while libraries are considered developing community as to be one of their most important contributions, this objective is is usually more aligned with Student Affairs, whereas we heard in our previous survey of administrators and 2019 that most libraries are typically reporting to academic affairs so you know there may be something to this that may also be playing a role in the valuation at these objectives, as well as we continually see the library straddling both the missions of Academic and Student Affairs. As library directors you know see their greatest institutional contributions are helping to foster learning and community, you know we naturally see that their most important functions then revolve around that student experience. So it's extremely important to 83% of library directors that their library help students develop research critical analysis and information literacy skills, 75% see the library's role in providing it in formal academic environment that support student learning and 71% providing access to technological resources. We see roughly equivalent shares of library leaders also anticipate that in the next five years. These functions will remain just as important to their role in their college. So overall, you know, we do see a disconnect and how leaders are viewing the role of the library, which makes them for some from some organizational differences.
You know it may also stem from how libraries are currently describing and demonstrating the library's contributions to institutional student success, which is also covered and examined in the survey, though I will not be able to get to it today. Please check out the full report of findings for more of a discussion on that, you know, however, despite this finding you know one overwhelmingly clear result is how student focus Community College Libraries are and how focused they are in supporting students vastly different needs from information literacy to providing an academic space to work in to providing or learning technology that is needed to complete their courses and so that is really clear from the data, and it's really great to see. Up next, a major goal of this initiative also is to just map out the departments with which Community College Libraries are regularly collaborating with, and the ways in which they're doing so so overall we see that the most significant collaborations between libraries and other units generally take place within Academic Affairs, like with tutoring and writing centers, but also with IT departments which falls outside of that Academic and Student Affairs ecosystem. So we asked, with which units libraries are currently collaborating with 70% responded that their library collaborates with their IT department to a lot or a great extent, followed by 56% that collaborate with their institutions tutoring center and 54% with their writing center. So one way to facilitate cross departmental collaboration and streamline services for students is through a Learning Resource Center and l RC or Learning Commons or something with that general naming, which often includes apartments like tutoring and writing centers, among other academic services.
Another approach, often overlapping with the creation of an LLC is physically co locating departments within the same location on campus. And so we wanted to get an idea of, you know, what libraries are doing and how they are located within the community college ecosystem. And so when we asked if our library is part of an LLC or co locate and are co located with another department, 54% of the entire sample indicated their library is either part of an LLC, and or co located with another unit. So of those respondents about 43% of those respondents are only part of an LLC or an equivalent, but are not co located with other departments. About 43% are also only co located with other units, but are not a part of an MRC.
The remaining 16% are both a part of an LLC, and are co located with other units. When we asked with which units their libraries are co located, you know, even though 70% of leaders replied that their libraries collaborating with their IT department. Many are not co located with them more frequently libraries that are co located with other departments are often most co located with tutoring and writing centers, 68% are co located with their tutoring center and 60% with the Writing Center, compared to 27% with it. And this may be due in part to how colleges organized, you know, according to our earlier survey, as I mentioned, IT departments rarely report to either academic or student affairs, while it's more common for tutoring and writing centers to report to academic affairs along with the library.
So when asked about the ways in which they're collaborating and engaging with other departments libraries are most often referring students directly to other departments and services. After that reference and serving on cross institutional committees, many libraries are also collaborating through other departments, utilizing the libraries digital presence by hosting information on different departments and services on the library's website through live guides per se, as well as hosting events within the physical library space. However, we do see that these events are typically hosted within the library and are generally not co hosted or co owned with the library. So with most libraries currently collaborating with IT departments and tutoring and writing centers library directors anticipate that collaborations between the library, other units on campus are expected to take a greater hold in the years to come. So not necessarily with public libraries or external vendors, about three quarters of library leaders anticipate collaborating across college departments will increase over the next five years, four is about 70% expects contracts with external vendors and partnerships with public libraries and 51% with with partnerships with other academic libraries trimming the same over time. But with cross, what, what will this cross departmental collaboration is expected to increase. You know what exactly will those partnerships look like. So now we'll invite Tara Jacobson to share some more information about her library, and their collaboration models with faculty, students, and other departments.
Thank you so much, Melissa. Thank you for printing all the information, I'm Carrie Jacobson, I am currently the Dean of the Learning Resource Center at Moraine Valley Community College and I've been studying here for over five years I've worked at my family for 10 years, and I've been working in Community College Libraries for 12 years, so I love them. I can't get enough right. So I was a participant in the study by ethical MSR, and I've been following the research and the work that they've been doing for a little while. I'm really interested in studying Community College Library value and I'm actually studying at currently in pursuit of my PhD so you might be hearing from me about some more research coming forward. I'm also a member of the CJ CLS scholarly research committee. We're working to promote Community College Library Research so if you're interested in getting involved with that my contact information is on the screen and I can help you get involved with our initiative to get some more clinical research out and about for all of us.
For those at least 86 folks that were attending today from Community College Library so thank you for being here. As you can see on the slide, there's some photos on top of my library on pre and post pandemic and things that we've been doing. We still participate across campus even with our masks on and getting involved. And we were really busy and really popular in the beginning so it's been it's been a big change for us I think like a lot of you have seen our next slide please. Moraine Valley is a beautiful campus in the southwest suburbs of playlists hills. So that is all the suburbs of Chicago and Felix hills Illinois. Our library and pre Kobe times was the place to be on campus.
We are the heart of the institution, kind of the traditional thing in the middle of most of our academic building so very convenient location. We are part of our academic affairs department, and we would see about 12 to 15,000 students a week. Yeah, a week. It's a lot, and it was wonderful we loved it and and that's about equivalent to at that time what our headcount was so we're pretty much seeing every student, every week on our campus now you know that's that's a rough idea right but most So we've been really busy in the past. And so this year was a big change for us we processed, a huge change in our work in our workflow. It may be like many college library we have six full time librarians, about six ft and adjunct librarians and these folks have faculty status on our campus. About 10 staff, so about our staff ft is about 40 employees all together in our library just to give you an idea of the work we're doing, and we're we're at our next slide please. Next slide please. Our student population for the suburbs of Chicago is very diverse. But the numbers don't really show that here as you can see on our slides.
Our students from the Middle East, do not have a way to identify national surveys, so we struggle with that and struggling with reading those students with that identity, within our tracking and what we work we do with them. So that's been a difficult process for us to understand that they must select white when they do these surveys so you can look at our data and how that's changed over time. A growing number of our students are even becoming more part time students, and this is really increased with the pandemic and the changes we've seen their.
Next slide please. Moraine Valley Community College was once the second largest community college in the state. We are now the fourth largest community college in the state and that's Turner ego a little bit, I think. And I'm sure you've heard in the news right and all the reasons you've been doing community colleges are struggling with shrinking enrollments and budgets at this time this is a national issue.
We are seeing some big changes if you look at the table here you'll see them fall 17 default 21, a huge drop in our credit, our enrollment totals. And that's impacting our budgets to for our students and what our library can do and provide as well as other services on campus. So as Melissa mentioned connections across campus are so valuable to libraries, especially during the pandemic and the changes we've seen. So today I'm going to discuss three areas that we connect with the NBC library across campus through faculty department connections, and with students. Next slide please.
Alright so we connect with our faculty, like crazy. This is probably our biggest success story. We're huge right we see those 12 to 15,000 students a week. And that's our pretty much entire headcount or had been in the past, and lots of schools have asked me in the past, how we did it and my number one answer is our campus faculty connections. Over time or library faculty worked with those across campus to reach our students. Students will use their libraries because their instructors tell them to. That's why they come to us, they're not going to come on their own generally they get motivated by their structures to come see us. So how we connect to faculty on our campus is we do teach within our college one on one credit course that are all of our freshmen freshmen students take.
So college one on one has one information literacy session that librarians teach each eight weeks within the each hv eight week session that we provide on our campus. During the pandemic we couldn't get our students in our building right. So we did change our perspective and create a library virtual tour that is interactive. We used a 3d camera and library thing, or like, or, sorry thing link to create this walk through that students can actually see our spaces, from our virtual Canvas
shell that we've created, we put that into our college one on one, and we use it in some other resources that we share out as well. Our faculty library and relationships again like I mentioned before, are so vital to the work we do. we are the. We founded and share oh we are committee on our campus. And that has been really successful for us moving forward we're trying to push that initiative.
And that's been a way to connect to our faculty and get other faculty involved in our library. We make it extremely easy for faculty work with us, so we make our classes easy to books faculty can sell books sessions online and or lab use in our library to get the students in our spaces. We've had an author's event online using Adobe Spark so we've shifted things that we used to host in person to showcase faculty work at faculty publications to an online forum and it's actually been more successful using Adobe Spark people love to share that across campus. We've created spaces for faculty to connect in an online world. So we moderated a Facebook group as we shifted to online learning in the spring of 2020, which was extremely successful we just sunset that group because it's not really useful at this point anymore but people were using it to just find answers shipped to their online learning get resources from us connect with each other and sharing that way. We also take all of our in person events and we did host those and create online events for the courses to use in perpetuity so we create podcasts and YouTube links for each library events that we host as well as for the virtual events that we now host and share those out so that it's not just a one time event for faculty use for their course but something that they can include Year and Year and again, over and over and the resources and and their work as ridiculous as it sounds, the power of Yes, is probably the best thing that we do.
We really hardly say no to anything. We work with everyone, and we help out with almost any project on campus we go to classrooms, we create a lot of custom props for our courses and and we really, really hate to say no. So we try not to if we don't have to resources are limited, but we worked really hard to make sure we do that. And we participate in committees across campus sometimes we get a little pushy even and push ourselves into those committees to make sure that we're involved in our voices heard and get to meet other faculty that way. Next slide please.
Cross campus departments we work hard to be a really willing and able partner. We have created some events that are expected for us every year as well as tied into other campus projects. We've made it easy to use our one book one college program which is actually nationally award winning thanks to try Swanson, and to chase and their work. We create a website with resource guides classroom connections, and even themes that faculty can use and make it simple for them to include our one book one college that we use each year into their coursework. They also get to use that in courses moving forward so once our book changes for the year they can continue to use this resource in the future if they do not want to shift their whole coursework I know it's a lot of work to get faculty to incorporate things into their classroom sessions.
We are part of the New Student Orientation so we send librarians out in normal times to visit this new student orientation about one to two times a week, and connect with students at a table there, our part of our writing centers nano rainbow initiative and work with them closely to set that up and pray times and spaces for students to write in the library, and our Honors program as well. Spencer's going to talk about this a little bit more but we are heavily involved in it equipment distribution that happened prior to the pandemic. And during the pandemic. There's a huge need early on in our institution, and we really took this on getting gathering every device with our IT department to get those devices to students right now we check out about 400 laptops and 200 hotspots to our students each term and get those ready and prepped and all of our circulation stack have learned how to adjust their lives and workflow and learn all about it later resources to be able to fill that need across our campus. We collaborate and brain reads, which is a YouTube series where we work with faculty across campus to share books that they love and share those out through social media, and we participate in our health fairs and on campus by joining our HR department and getting involved with the health care that they present something that we really created weren't sure about how it was going to go with our pop up library. So we pop up libraries, with parts of books across our campus, and our other campus sites you have to have the campus sites without libraries and maybe materials over there and check them out to students, faculty and staff at those sites, and we work really closely to our College Foundation so I'm heavily involved with the foundation on our campus. We've hosted the foundation board in the library for a dinner, just to get them involved with the live with the library is doing, and they're one of our biggest supporters when you're struggling in the pandemic what how to get some of our resources to our students when they couldn't physically getting our spaces.
So that was really useful connection for us to have across our campus. So you know it's really saying it's a group effort in this way right, what can we do, how can we show up together to lighten the load for all the library wants to do something that can help everyone benefit our campus and helping other departments on our campus helps our students benefits. And speaking of students. Next slide please. The hardest ones to get ahold of right. It's easy to get our faculty, it's easy to get across campus, how do we get directly to our students. It is not simple and we still are struggling with it and we're trying to get to them and every which way we can. Pre coded. We were a loud library you can find a sponsor he's been here.
It was busy. It was loud isn't as we actually get complaints about how loud we were, we had a quiet zone downstairs Don't worry, we didn't ignore those students, but we really hope to get back to this engagement in this level of engagement with our students. We missed them, and we want them back in our spaces. We've been open since fall 2020 we reopened our spaces to our students. And we're opening the summer of 2020, providing certain resource days where students that come and pick up their materials like laptops and iPads hotspots etc. So we decided to be where the students are we're trying to catch them in any way we can. We're on tik tok Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other podcasting platforms. And this is a group effort. You can see below in the picture or Tick Tock feed. Donna the lovely lady in the mask has over 3000 views she loved it if you would view her success video again she's Tick Tock famous now She works in our circulation department.
So if you do look us out, give a shout out to Donna, but everyone on our campus is has been willing to participate. And I think that's part of our great collaboration effort in the library. We work with campus support services counseling and advising to help our students during the pandemic we had a food pantry that was available, which is outside the library or students who grab bags no questions asked of foods that are on that they required or maybe needed to take with them, just out there ready to go. needed to take with them, just out there ready to go. We've done direct online engagement with the social media platforms. And we've also created a Canvas course show that was just for the library where we post updates and students to can subscribe to to that core shell faculty and staff can also be part of that and get library updates. That's where our students are they're logging into Canvas so we want to make sure that we're reaching them through our lm s as well. We attend our student fest every year.
year. Staff at with two to three librarians or staff members pass out resources talk to our students and get involved when we have those in person events, and we tend our LGBT q student rainbow reception and make sure we provide resources that are of interest to those students and let them know we're here for them so we try to reach out to all different areas and student groups. The best thing I think we ever did in our library was changing our rules. I'm sure you've heard this one before but when I first started at my library.
Food wasn't allowed drinks weren't allowed a lot was allowed some time so we really decided to push to change that on our campus and work with our administration to do so. And I think making our spaces a little bit more comfortable and inviting for our students really created that environment that we wanted we wanted us to be a casual place for students to get together and work and that really worked out for us back to faculty equal students right. If you build a relationship with faculty, students will come. And I think that's still our best way to reach students I highly encourage you to work that way. Our library and, as well as me. We've all been student group advisors at some point in time I ran the dance team, we get involved across campus.
We tie our librarians to other campus events so when we do our one book one college events we try to tie them to other campus events that are going on. We've had an NIH grant that we worked with, with the Find a performing arts center, and use Miss Marvel as part of our one book one college that year to tie those two together and also get extra funding for that which is a great way to have how to do these things. And we have a Student Advisory Board that we founded recently it's been a little difficult during the pandemic to get students involved in that way but they're a valuable resource to get back to us, but how we're doing and what they are asking for from us. And we have the stuff that they need. I mean I'd be traditional library things. But we have free headphones for every student that walks in if they want them iPhone chargers batteries backup batteries textbooks, anything that they tell us they want we even have Apple Watch charters if they've mentioned it we try to get it for them because they may need that resource whether on our campus as a commuter students, and be open one of those are not, not just during Colbert but during, other times, our library is open from 730 in the morning to 10pm most days. We are here and available and I think that's just what our students, they want it over here and they can have to send me a question, and that were reliable resource to them.
Next slide please. Quickly, um, you may think I'm starting next slide. Well, thank you. My think I'm annoying, I don't know, there's so much going on. We have resources you don't have How did we do it. I'm mostly, the one thing I really want to say here is let other things go.
You don't have to do something every year. And you can't do it all. And it's okay to say that this isn't working for us anymore soon as we do an event if you're like, next time you do this, can you change it this way we go. We're not doing it again this is the one time only thing right. So, it's okay to say to say no sometimes but we try to say yes as much as we can. And we really try to pick and choose what fits our mission, and what ties to what's happening on campus, what's going on, what are what are administrators talking about what's happening across the campus that we can tie our events into, we tie our costs, to other campus events budget is always our biggest complaint I think in community colleges we struggle a lot as libraries, try and have the funding to do with the basic services that we need so we try to tie that to you know 15th anniversary events per make our programming part of what's happening to get the funding that we need to do the things we want to do to help our students. We get the entire library team enrolled. So you mean to have enough staffing, but reach out to everyone our student employees make Tick Tock videos, our search team helps create instructional videos for us, our catalog is our part of our social media team. Everyone's part of this plan.
It's not just our librarians, it's not just me it's not just a full timers. Everyone gets involved, and then just the most important thing is don't forget to brag about your team and their success. When you tell people what you're doing is successful and how you're doing it. I think someone even mentioned in the chat already. How do we know we're measuring student success, it's hard to do. You just have to tell people what you're doing to sometimes get what you want, you're not going to get those exact measures that you're looking for always, but making sure that you share out what's happening in your space is really important. Next slide. and last slide. For me, I'm just all of our students success outcomes right, we make sure that we advertise.
What we're doing across campus, all this work really means nothing if it doesn't equal Student Success right. If our students aren't being successful and we're not helping them and getting them the resources they need it doesn't fit our mission and we're not doing our job. So we just like to make sure we share that out across to our community or creditors are administration, through and reports in different types of ways to share feedback across those two different groups or foundation collaborations are shared here. We have students give us their own personal success stories and share those out. And we try to even provide you some quick numbers and information that people can simply share out, but that's it for me right now I'll send it back to Melissa to talk about tech. Thanks so much, Tara I need to check out that that Tick Tock account.
Great. So, going back to the library director survey findings and that I was originally talking about before. Another key finding from the survey was that, you know, given the majority of libraries are collaborating with IT departments. We also asked the respondents about their technology lending programs you know if they're collaborating other departments on these initiatives and how the pandemic may have impacts of these programs, and we heard from a lot of different library directors about how the library is taken an increasing role of technology provision, especially during the pandemic in response to needs during this time. So some of the respondents did right in some responses when we asked about technology let Nick lending programs. And so we heard, you know, the libraries have to really rapidly build some new programs. Quickly purchasing more technology to loan due to some high demand. Many needs to develop unique partnerships with other departments across the college. And that's one library leader stated piratical have a 19 we did not learn tech for equipment use for remote use.
Now we are the central loan point for approximately 200 laptops and Chromebooks for the college, as well as graphing calculators and the piano keyboards, using special programs, all of which used to be handled by their different departments or programs. We also heard did a survey as well as through a series of roundtable discussions with Community College leaders held earlier last year in May and June that some leaders are now considering making substantial more long term changes to their prior lending policies like extending the length of time that students can learn technology out from their library as one explained we check our laptops and hotspots to students for entire eight weeks sessions, we only use the checkout laptops for three days at a time. Another same that coven has increased our need for items to loan on the long term basis so this means both the funding needed to purchase these items, and the changes to the policies that allow long term usage. We also saw that no two programs are really the same at each college that those that are current, those that may are currently loaning out Wi Fi hotspots laptops, tablets Chromebooks and calculators for students, and many are collaborating with it to purchase devices for help troubleshooting formatting and maintaining those devices, and for other needed help with, with just the devices themselves so for instance one library leader mentioned that the library collaborates with it to obtain these items, the library by just not support the purchase of tech gear and to help troubleshoot problems in some select cases students are led to their devices through the IT department with the libraries help and tracking those loans over time. And so, you know what the, what do these collaborations with it look like and how can they be optimized at your institution and so now I will hand it over to Spencer great into talk about his libraries collaboration models and their students. Technology Support Program.
Program. Thanks. Good afternoon everyone. Spencer Brighton director of library services that will bonds the Community College. So we'll buy these in North Eastern Illinois and probably the farthest most western suburb of Chicago, I would say. Before we get started I want to thank Tara, that you can tell she's a great advocate for Community College Libraries and my brain so she's always been a great source of support for me. I just want to thank Mr. Bill on screen as well for facilitating today, I will bonds he was actually my first Community College job, I've been here four and a half years, I've been active in CJ CLS and had participate in the survey as well.
Next slide please. Melissa. And again, I want to kind of provide some context in terms of the state of Illinois and how academic libraries and Community College Libraries are situated. The state is carved up into community college districts and so we serve unique communities in areas of the state. The, we also have to really great consortia so on the network of Illinois learning resources and community colleges, which is how Tara and I connected in the consortium of academic and research libraries in Illinois so both very supportive and allow opportunities for librarians and libraries to connect on a regular basis and provide consistent support there Did you want to jump in and say anything about that. Not much just to say that if you haven't looked at those resources in your state please do and see if those are available I know each state is very different when it comes to community colleges and statewide systems and some don't, were buried divided in Illinois so it was a great way for us to get together and just share what's going on across the state. Yeah, thank you. Melissa Next slide please.
A little bit of institutional context. So you can see the kind of the shape of our district and what it covers the district does include Illinois second biggest state or, sorry state, city which is Aurora Illinois. Next slide please. We also have four campuses and three have physical library locations and all really have different identities, which is what really attracted me to to avanti very urban and rural as well across the district.
As you can see we have more we enroll more part time students and full time will bonding. And we have more female than male students. Next slide please. Melissa. So a few more student demographics, I want to highlight that we have a significant land next population at will bond z.
And I want to highlight that because we're also Hispanic serving institution, which has allowed us. Most recently during the pandemic to create a let next Resource Center at one of our Aurora campuses to support that student population. Next slide please. too I think it's important to acknowledge the libraries are located within an Academic Support Division that will bond z.
And we function very collaboratively and very interconnected. And so this is within the umbrella of academic support. The other departments within the division that we work closely with as a leadership team for each of those areas as well as for all other employees. So tutoring testing was new to us last January. Quick path degree programs and other academic success initiatives, that's, you know, new programs to support students that we that we can sort of try out and pilot and explore, as well as more course based curriculum like developmental education math and English in college success programs. Next slide please listen. So, like I said, we're situated with an academic support we're highly collaborative, we really like we really try to see each other's areas as not having silos and trying to work together towards a common goal of student success and retention.
So academic support was brand new when I started, and we took the opportunity to build identity and broaden our view of student success so we see each other like I said as we're all responsible for student success and we leverage that interconnectivity and our collective wisdom, as an entire team to work towards that common goal. Because I think we all have different experiences we're in different committees, working with in different ways across campus and so we bring you know, different, different information that we can make available to our teams to kind of improve what we're doing for students, I think so. In short, the diversity of our team to maximize that team performance and one one quote that I always like to think about when I talk about collaboration from Baldwin and Chang is quote one of the principal benefits of collaborating with others is to achieve goals that cannot be achieved alone and so I think that's been readily readily apparent. You know, pre and post pandemic in our work.
You know charity talked a little bit about building awareness and bragging on yourself. We, as a unit create monthly talking points that go to all the DPS and president's cabinet. Next slide please. Melissa. And here you'll see an example of kind of a snippet of what that looks like. So we report on our data and he kind of events, kind of highlight what we're doing, priority work that we're doing that may align to the strategic plan. And so that gets shared at a high level, to keep you know that executive leadership team to know about what we're doing or what we're trying to do, and really advocate for us. Next slide please. Melissa.
I wanted to thank one of our academic support coaches who works with English language learners and adult education. She created these images for our beginning of the semester kickoff meeting as entire division. So, again, when we think about planning and collaboration with other areas across the college and, you know, with it and things like that, we conduct our strategic planning at a division level we, we try to put ourselves in the shoes of students. We take our personas think about what's, what's supporting our students means and what they need and we also try to think about what's going on and students lives that can affect their success and ability. I think at the support they need. Behind the scenes and so that's why you see the behind the scenes diagram so when we're thinking about our planning and how we're interacting with students and what they might need in terms of technology and other support.
We think about you know do you know they ll student. Do they have children at home that you did care that they take off of work to come to campus, those sorts of things and so we really try to put ourselves intentionally in that perspective when we think about what we're doing. Next slide please Muslim. So this is a healthy list of priority projects for this fiscal year that we've been working on but I will say many of these started during the pandemic so during the spring of 20 and that those pilots for those sort of exploring those projects have only continued or, we know that they will continue.
As we continue to operate within the pandemic. And they all required various aspects and levels of engagement and collaboration with external departments. You know here all I'll say that this is where our student technology tech support initiatives, really grew, where our collaboration with with it. In the IITs media services and help desk teams, really grew in their support for us and educating us on how
how the process to intake student requests and how that support would work from behind the scenes. And so these, these projects will work, or were really that student technology piece began. You know, we, the way that we build connections for this work is we do focus groups. We do monthly priority meetings to kind of see how projects are going and work together and see who needs help from one another. We also do division wide meetings and planning so we have a group that does that looks at programming semester by semester, and that's a collaborative process across the division we also are starting an employee engagement group that's employee lead within the division, to see how we can better support the employees. We do faculty listening sessions at least twice a year at least once per semester to see how things are going and see what's important they need from us. meetings throughout the year. And we attend one as a division as a unit in the fall in the spring, and then as I mentioned earlier, we do it sort of a kickoff meeting with everybody to focus on internal collaboration students support within the division.
So we'll say that. And again, I'll go back, sort of echo what Tara says this doesn't all get done all the time. For example, I'm a few of these projects had been delayed. Recently we've been asked to pull back and what isn't a priority for the next six months so we were happy to to be able to have that, that opportunity. I think the reason we are able to do you know so much work together is that cross functional leadership and in that collaboration of employees who do really great work within the division. Next slide please Muslim. So here I'll finally get to a student technology support. So prior to the pandemic. We had really a lack of dedicated like front facing students support. We had sort of a couple different options that students could go to the library and they can go to tutoring they could ask their instructor they could ask the IT help desk.
But it was really in as I'm sure most of you know when you start transferring students like that, you can lose them. They get frustrated and so the fall of 2020 we hired two really great student employee colleagues that providing great support for students that I mean, they would call students they would follow up with them set appointments with them. You know troubleshooting, our lm s, trying to figure out their laptop if they just bought one, those kinds of things. And so what really took place then during the pandemic was the need to get students the technology in spring of 2020.
And so we had a group of from the library team that volunteered to, to help do this work and work with it and so they were trained I or IT departments internal ticketing system, and really be that front facing intake and distribution for student technology and sort of communicating what that process looks like, and then it would hand out the technology to the student, the student and set the appointments up is how that how our partnership works. And now we've also sort of built that in into our internal ticketing system where we also, in addition to technology loans. We also help students. We can take their request for support with their lm s zoom any kind of third party products you know peer and gay kinds of things. And we do have peer to peer support, but we're only going to start to increase that moving forward. So we're really the front facing piece of that support, and together with it in their support.
They are behind the scenes. I wanted to say to that we, we started tracking these things in August of 2020, and the library team has closed approximately 1500 students support tickets since then, and is processed, a simile 1500 requests for laptops hotspots and other equipment, since since August of 2020. I'll just note to we do not the purchase of the technology doesn't come out of the library's budget. And these are semester loans and so they come back, or we try to get them back at the end of each semester to run updates and things like that on them.
Let's see. Next slide please listen. So really, I mean, part of the reason this is, this has been successful for us is we have a historical, we have a really good historical relationship between the library staff and, and it, especially as it relates to campus wide projects so we recently at least since I've been at the college regional College website front facing website as well as the internal pieces while our internal portal and so we've had members from the library that really good with technology. Really good expertise that that sharing those projects so we benefit from those historical relationships. We've also started a Student Advisory Group, which is made up of students, faculty and staff from across the college to help advise us look at data, make recommendations for budget purposes. We're also, like I said if, unless I can increase our student employees, I think we always kind of at least said, you always kind of maybe puts thing about student employees and certain roles and I think they. I think I recognize that they always have more to give them what we think and they can, they're more capable than what we think they can do. And they're great colleagues and, you know, other student employees that the student tech support our, our in
team space with the other, you know, employees, helping students and helping each other and helping the staff so it's a really valuable support that we're looking to increase. We're also in terms of next steps looking at a at a student to student to student kind of peer support app for as a part of our Texas Tech Support work for students. And we're hiring for some new positions, the spring. So too I wanted to mention before I give it back to Melissa we take questions that there's a lot of a lot of librarians and libraries at community colleges outside of Illinois that have responded to my increase and support based on their own work related to student technology and collaboration. So I hope that you'll connect with us afterwards, I want to make sure I pay that forward for all the help that I received during this time so thanks Melissa. Great, thanks so much sponsor.
And before we get to the q amp a just have one more, one more finding I just wanted to highlight, which I'm sure it isn't too surprising that overall, we saw that budgets did take a significant hit in the pandemic. I was nearly half of all respondents reporting, some level of budget decrease in the current, and in that current fiscal year. And so when asked about how library budgets have changed in the current, which was the current. At the time, the 2022 2021 fiscal year, in comparison to what they would have expected prior to the pandemic.
We saw the third 45% had experienced any budget cuts 36% saw no budget change at the time of the survey and 7% did see an increase and 12% did not yet have a budget at the time was fielded in early 2021, and for the 45% of library leaders experiencing any budget cuts. As you can see in this circle graph that there really was no clear trends as to the extent of those cuts with these budget disruptions many library leaders were also unsure about the long term recovery of their budgets as 30% believe the pandemics impacting our libraries budget will be permanent. In a little under half were unsure of the pandemics impact on their budgets. And you know this uncertainty about their future budgetary allocations and they also even stem from before the pandemic.
However, though, you know in face of these uncertain budgets library directors do remain confident about the importance of the world or libraries play, especially in relation to the physical space and digital service offerings. We asked about the primary constraints to changes as Tara mentioned earlier before you know it's probably not a surprise that the most pressing challenges is a lack of financial resources, and we asked library leaders to select the three most pressing We asked library leaders to select their three most pressing challenges and 76% selected financial resources, followed by 26% for employees skills and key areas and 25% for general resistance to change among employees. You know, and notably while the second most selected challenge was a lack of employees skills and key areas. According to iPads data, the libraries represented in the sample for the survey on average have around four full time library and employees and
five part time librarians. So interesting low. Interestingly, the library leaders do show greater enthusiasm for increased investment in digital resources going forward over recruiting new employees or professional development opportunities. So if given a 10 percent budget increase, a hypothetical scenario for accessing strategy and priorities, 51 percent would allocate additional funds toward online or digital journals or databases. And 41 percent towards streaming media services and ebooks. Less than 5 percent would devote resources to employee travel and professional development and digital preservation, print preservation, and collections management or print journal subscriptions. However, library leaders across the board lack funds needed to make these desired investments, and many as previously discussed have only faced increased financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the decreased enrollment over time.
And so this is a really good way to take stock of what priorities are regardless of those budgetary constraints. So thank you all for joining us today. So maybe now you're asking yourself what you and your library can do or should be doing more but of course there's tradeoffs when it comes to budget limitations that I just went over previously, but as we're seen, many library leaders do not merely view their library as just the provider of services and spaces for students alone, but see themselves as part of an ecosystem that is responsible for student success so these decisions and collaborations and partnerships really come sometimes at the cost of providing support for students especially since we see that increase in student learning is so strongly tied to the library's missions.
So thank you all again for joining us today and listening in. Here's our contact information all on one slide. If you're interested in reading more about this topic I'm going to drop the link now for the report of findings that I was talking about earlier into the chat right now. Thank you again. Great! Thanks Terra, Melissa, and Spencer. We have a couple minutes for questions so I'm going to jump right in. I will note for our attendees that our presenters will get a copy of all the questions, and their contact information is available so if we don't answer your question right now we should be able to follow-up with everyone. Okay so we have a popular question here from Pam, who says, Could you talk about the advisory board please? How often do you meet? How many students? How do you recruit students? How do you apply their suggestions? I think this was during Terra's presentation, but I think Spencer you have a student advisory group as well so maybe you both can comment on that.
Sure, we started ours about a year before the pandemic hit, so it was a founding group at that time. Two of our faculty librarians that work on that group and recruit students for that group. Sometimes we have a couple student employees that are part of that group, and we also recruit at our club council, which is a group that meets once a month of all our clubs on our campus, so we'll go to that meeting and tell students about that. We'll also ask some facul