Remote Possibilities: Serving students and faculty near and far
CLAMS 2010 Spring Conference, May 20-21
Green River Community College
Kent Campus @ Kent Station
As an Intern at the Bellevue College (BC) Library Media Center, I had an opportunity to attend the recent Conference of CLAMS (College Librarians & Media Specialists) which is organized among the libraries of 34 Washington State Community and Technical Colleges. The main theme for this year was to “Seek ways to better serve the students and faculty at a distance.”
The Kent campus of the Green River Community College (GRCC) is a brand new building at the edge of the downtown shopping mall. Their main campus and the college library are both in Auburn, Washington. Thus, adding to the increased number of the students in a distant mode, in the case of GRCC, the librarians also serve the students at the Kent campus remotely.
CLAMS librarians from all over Washington State gathered to learn of new developments and ideas in operating the library and literacy instruction for their distant learners.
Clone yourselves, librarians!
The featured presenter was Online Resources Consultant, Mr. Ahniwa Ferrari, Library Development of the Washington State Library. Introducing various gadgets and programs in the lecture (Animoto, Elluminate, Google Voice, and a list of free tools), what he stressed most was that the librarians needed to “clone” themselves, by using these technologies effectively, i.e., to be available in many facets and via video record instructions that will be available to many students. The use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flicker, 24/7 chat reference and/or SMS reference was highly encouraged. He also discussed the building of resource guides (LibGuides, etc.), FAQ, and screencasts, as well as offering browsers alternate to the Internet Explorer. Finally, he advised the librarians to make their services visible (i.e., Embed chat service in the library catalog or resource guides).
The members agreed that the dominant problem is the time to maintain all these services up to date and that the libraries have to employ the services that are sustainable for their unique situations. I thought that BC might benefit from creating or adapting some short screencasts in database instruction, i.e., EBSCOhost and ProQuest.
The second part of the afternoon was a discussion of various problems that the librarians face everyday. Topics included films on demand (to be used as faculty’s instructional resources instead of students’ supplemental resources) and how to deal with the porn viewers in the libraries. (When they start breathing heavily, it is time to interrupt?!) It was interesting to hear what problems the librarians face in everyday operation. It was apparent that the problems vary depending on the location as well as the use policy.
The main events of the second day were various presentations of the members on how they utilized the technology and marketing skills to improve the library services. Negotiations of group purchasing the databases, collaboration with faculty members, using Delicious to update the resource page easily by any staff, et cetera, some presentations are with power point slides, others were just told like a story.
Attending and presenting in a small conference such as CLAMS seems very beneficial to the work of librarians. It is a place to learn how other local libraries in a comparable size are operating, to reflect on their own methods, and to be inspired to find ways to improve and collaborate. The librarians communicated about their concerns, successes, ambitions, and hopes in a very friendly environment. It was a very energizing and enjoyable experience for me.
June 9, 2010