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UW Libraries: We Got You

April 24, 2020

man holding up a 3D printed mask
Tyler Kerr, UW makerspace coordinator in the Student Innovation Center (SIC), holds up one of the first surgical masks he and his team created on 3D printers. The UW team is producing masks and face shields for the Wyoming medical community to help medical professionals safeguard against novel coronavirus COVID-19. (UW Photo)

It started as a simple sentiment in a marketing brainstorm with our student graphic designer, Kacie Pallan, last semester. What's a way that we can communicate quickly to students that the Libraries can support student learning and engagement? What's a message that they can connect with? 

How about "We got you?", Kacie said. 

Easy. Simple. And easy to connect the dots. Need a coffee break? We got you. Need a quiet place to study? We got you. Need support for your project or research paper? We got you. Need a space to meet with friends and relax? We got you. Need to connect with STEP tutoring or the Writing Center? We got you. 

But the statement extends beyond our students. It also works in our support to faculty and our service to the state. Need support in creating open educational materials and want to save students money on textbooks? We got you. Need petroglyphs digitally restored? We got you. Need state newspapers digitized and archived? We got you.

You get the idea. 

But then COVID-19 hit the United States and in March, the University of Wyoming switched to full remote instruction, and the campus closed to the public. Spring break was extended and as faculty were transitioning their courses to Zoom and other platforms, our team was trying to figure out how we support our faculty, staff, and students during this transition. And beyond. How do we create another branch of UW Libraries -- but a virtual one? 

And thus 'We Got You' went from a simple sentiment to an anthem.

Libraries faculty and staff swiftly moved into action navigating questions with our vendors  -- including additional purchases of eBooks, extending due dates for materials, expanded access to electronic materials, and digitization of print materials. Lists and links were compiled and created to support remote learning, teaching, and public access to resources

Student Support 

Leveraging our desire to communicate ways we can support students remotely (everything from texting, librarian chat, to access to eBooks/eAudiobooks), we partnered with Institutional Marketing to take part in their Cowboy Coffee program -- a digital platform on Instagram TV and YouTube -- as a way to connect directly with our students.

Additionally, we partnered with Institutional Marketing and Student Affairs to create a one-stop digital shop for Online Student Resources to connect students to resources beyond our own. Since we traditionally partner with our friends over at the Wellness Center at Half Acre during finals week for stress-relieving activities, we'll once again be reminding students of breaks and self-care, just in digital and social formats.


Student Success Librarian, Kristina Clement, tells UW students ways the Libraries can support their success remotely.


Faculty Support

As soon the move to online learning was announced, librarians switched all new book orders to electronic copies. Most UW Libraries purchases are electronic already, especially journal subscriptions -- but now all new items will be purchased digitally throughout the COVID-19 crisis. For instructors and students who don’t have a lot of experience using eBooks, librarians are answering emails, chat questions, and texts daily about how to get access to those books and make best use of them in courses. 

Interlibrary loan (ILL) manager Dee Salo reports that between March 1 and April 21, library employees scanned a record of 6,517 items for patrons, compared to their usual average of 717 scans per month. Staff across the library are chipping in to scan and deliver items for online courses. Library staff reached out to instructors with over 400 books and movies on reserve to make sure electronic copies were available for their classes. 

Orrin Koenig scanning text for a class
Orrin Koening, Library Assistant, Senior scanning a book for a class.

Librarians are also responding to requests from instructors for help designing portions of their online courses. With the switch to online teaching and learning, library employees are helping instructors and students learn to create, edit and store video presentations and assignments. Librarian Sammy Peter created tutorials on using  VidGrid for video content in online courses, and staff at Studio Coe are providing support for using Adobe cloud products remotely. Librarians moved workshops online and are currently partnering with the  Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty learning communities, offer book clubs, and support use of the course management system. 

State Support

In addition to the digital resources we’ve got available to public patrons and alumni, the Coe Makerspace was able to support the EERB Makerspace by lending 3D printers to support the creation of 3D surgical masks for Wyoming Medical Centers -- a statewide collaboration that's still in operation.

And we're not done. As online instruction continues into the summer semester, we'll be working to bolster our digital support and engagement.

After all, we got you. 

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