Library maintains engagement off campus


Elana Guillory/The Lion's Roar

Sims Memorial Library has the guide “Using Sims Library during COVID-19 closure” available for students. The guide contains information on accessing databases, including 40 temporary resources provided by database vendors, course reserves, research help and other information.

Although the building is closed, the Sims Memorial Library is operating virtually to ensure that students get the help and resources they need for their classes.

During the stay-at-home order, the library has continued to maintain its  24/7 online chat assistance.

Eric Johnson, library director, explained the other ways the librarians have been staying involved with students.

“In addition to the online chat, students can secure help from the librarians via email, chat and telephone,” said Johnson.

The library has been improving its technological side by expanding its variety of ebooks, streaming videos, online articles and more.

“In recent years, the library has made a concentrated effort to move from a mostly print to a mostly electronic journal collection, as well as adding scholarly ebooks collections,” shared Johnson. “As a result, students now have access to half a million ebooks, thousands of online articles, many full-text and thousands of streaming videos on a variety of topics.”

Johnson spoke on how the librarians have been able to help students.

“If we don’t have access to a particular article that is needed, the student can request articles electronically, and they will be delivered to the students’ Interlibrary Loan accounts as usual,” stated Johnson. “The librarians have also created over a hundred LibGuides, accessed from the library’s website, that provides information for doing research in many areas of study, some specific to individual classes or programs at Southeastern.”

The library initially planned two events for National Library Week but was unable to have either.

“For National Library Week, which this year occurred between April 19 and 25, the library normally presents an evening program entitled ‘Readings at Sims,’ featuring five or six local authors reading from their works, and a semi-annual book sale for three days,” stated Johnson.

Johnson shared his hopes that the library will be able to hold the events next year.

“Unfortunately, with the library closed since March 19, and with the faculty and staff working from home, we were unable to hold either of these events,” said Johnson. “They will return next year, assuming things have changed for the better by then.”

With the move to all online classes during the summer, the reopening of the library is still uncertain.

“At this point, we’re unsure when the library building will reopen since we’re still dealing with social distancing and the continuing toll of the coronavirus, but until it does, the librarians and staff will continue to provide the services that we are currently offering,” said Johnson. “Three sections of LS102 will be offered remotely, and we’re working on securing more Chromebooks for students to borrow and a way to get them into the students’ hands.”

With the lack of in-person engagement in the past months, the library has stayed active on social media to stay connected with students.

“We are active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” said Johnson. “During this period of working from home, we’re concentrating on posts about library resources that might be useful to students heading towards finals and the ways that students can easily contact a librarian for one-on-one help.”

Along with materials to help students with their research, the library has extended loan periods for books and technology/equipment checkouts.  Students can log in to their library account to view their checkouts and to renew items. If anyone has questions about renewals or returns, they can contact the library via [email protected].