Achieve Your Goals
In the 2018 academic year, the library added two new workshops: Intro to SPSS and Adobe Spark. The library also reworked its Excel workshop, developing two separate workshops: Excel - Formulas, Functions, and Formatting, and Excel - Pivot Tables and Charts, and developed and delivered a customized Excel workshop for USG staff.
In the 2019 academic year, the library expanded its offerings even further, based on the changing needs of our users. The new workshops included: Academic Writer, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Data Visualization with Tableau, E-Portfolio, Intro to R Programming, Intro to Systematic Reviews, Search Strategies for Systematic Reviews, and Systematic Review Tools. For several of our new and continuing workshops, the library partnered with staff from the Center for Academic Success (CAS) to develop and deliver them.
The workshops continue to be popular with students, staff, and Montgomery College students who plan to transfer to The Universities at Shady Grove (USG). One hundred and ten people attended the library workshops in the 2018 academic year and 350 attended in the 2019 academic year. In fall 2018, we formalized our on-demand workshop offerings, creating an online form for those who could not make the scheduled workshop to request one at another time. The library has a similar form for faculty who would like to offer one of the workshops during their classes. This is another way that we reach even more students with our workshops.
In fall 2018, the library hired a Data Services Librarian to lead the creation of a Data Management and Visualization Lab in the Library. With this new hire, the library’s data services were also expanded to include additional data analysis, visualization and related software support. Three new instructional sessions were created to meet the needs of USG students and faculty: Conducting Quantitative Research, Introduction to R Programming and Data Visualization with Tableau. These workshops reached a total of 77 students in 10 sessions during FY2019.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW SERVICE
In fall 2018, the library implemented a new systematic reviews service in collaboration with STEM librarians at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and under the umbrella of UMD Libraries Research Commons. Systematic reviews often are associated with health fields, but they have begun to emerge as a common practice in other fields, as well, particularly as part of evidence-based decision making and policy setting. We established a tiered service model for assisting researchers when conducting a systematic review.
To promote the services and help train researchers, we developed and delivered a series of systematic review workshops: Intro to Systematic Reviews, Search Strategies for Systematic Reviews, and Systematic Review Tools. An extensive LibGuide was also created with a wealth of online resources for each step of conducting a systematic review.
APA STYLE CENTRAL IMPLEMENTATION
In August 2018, the library, in partnership with the Center for Academic Success at USG, began to provide access to APA Style CENTRAL (now known as Academic Writer) for all USG students, faculty and staff. Academic Writer is an online portal that includes tutorials on APA style and conducting research, a citation manager and research paper templates that allow users to write group or solo papers using APA style. The majority of the programs at USG require students to use APA style when writing and many struggle with this. As a way to promote this new tool, the library and CAS developed a workshop on getting started with Academic Writer and have promoted it at several USG events, including a National Poetry Day celebration at USG in October 2018.
To reach deeper and further within our immediate USG and Montgomery County users’ communities, new social media platform accounts were launched (Twitter, YouTube, and SnapChat). Additionally new content was constructed on existing platforms to further connect library patrons and new visitors. Across all platforms, there was an increase of both user subscriptions/follows and user engagement with content. Some posts reached over 1,000 people for the first time in the library’s history.
The installation of a new, user-centric Service Desk gave us the opportunity to revisit our workflows and policies, eliminating redundancies and shifting to a triage model for reference and research assistance. We were also able to develop new practices for our Open Course Reserves system, which facilitates ease of use for patrons, and improves organization. While the Service Desk is currently staffed almost exclusively by library student employees, it is designed to allow the possibility of future partnerships with CAS and the Office of Information Technology (OIT).
After an extended pilot period, we have permanently adopted an open model for our course reserves. This eases access for students by opening the entire Reserves collection for browsing, which creates a more comfortable user experience.