Blough-Weis Library Adapts Services During Pandemic

Blough-Weis Library
Students chatting at the Blough-Weis Library

April 08, 2021

National Library Week Celebrates Nation's Libraries 

It’s National Library Week and what better time to recognize Susquehanna’s Blough-Weis Library and the exhaustive work its staff has done to adapt its resources and services to meet the needs of students and faculty during these challenging times?

Students have always been able to get help from a librarian through the library’s online chat service. Over the past year, the library saw a 160% increase in chats, said Ryan Ake, assistant professor and research librarian. He said they also conducted nearly 200 virtual one-on-one research consultations with students and more than 100 individual virtual, hybrid or in-person class sessions since the pandemic began.

“There have been over 13,500 visits to the library since the spring 2021 semester began, even though a significant portion of our students are learning remotely, demonstrating that it is still a crucial space to study and learn despite the pandemic,” said Rob Sieczkiewicz, associate professor and director of the Blough-Weis Library. “The past year has been challenging for all of us, but it has also given us the opportunity to explore new ways to deliver our services and programming to the campus community.”

Pandemic or No, Programming Continues

The library has also continued in-person and virtual programming unabated despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. For example, before the pandemic, students presented their research at the popular Sandwiches and Scholars event each semester. This event, renamed the Dalton Scholars, moved online, with students sharing their research over Zoom, enabling family members to attend. The Short Talks on Faculty Scholarship, a collaboration with the Committee on Faculty Scholarship, also moved from Room 104 to Zoom.

Other events included:

  • Run for Ruth 5k in collaboration with the Division of Student Life
  • Battle of the Books tournament
  • Bechdel-Wallace Film Series
  • Annual Open House
  • Crafting events for students

First celebrated in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and observed in libraries across the country each April. This week, SU’s Blough-Weis Library has been hosting social media giveaways for those who share their stories of how the library has helped them over the past year.

Collections Expand to Meet Changing Needs

With many classes moving to online or hybrid, the Blough-Weis Library made the following changes to better meet student and faculty needs:

  • Added 96,362 ebooks, expanding its overall ebook collection to over 560,000 titles.
  • Added 11,961 new electronic journal titles, increasing that collection total to over 141,000 titles.
  • Coordinated with the Student Government Association to purchase 93 required textbooks, both in print and electronic, for 52 different courses being taught this semester as part of the Textbook Reserve Program.
  • Introduced item requests, allowing patrons to submit pick-up requests through the online catalog. This option greatly reduced the time patrons would need to spend in the library looking for materials, and also offered a means of accessing collections when the library building was closed. Since implementing this service in June 2020, the library has had over 300 individual hold requests.

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