Cambridge Libraries Supporting Teaching and Learning

Collating the extravagance of our support for students

It’s been a busy summer, and a busy start to Michaelmas term! The support that everyone is providing to students is wonderful and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. To try to collate the extravagance of support available, Libby asked for examples using Padlet. The broad range of support is evident and each library is responding to local contexts, as such it’s really difficult to pick highlights, but this blog post offers some examples of the types of support libraries are providing.

The padlet board

There are general resources, such as the Cambridge libraries video and Leganto reading lists and also subject specific support with many FDLs offering induction videos, quizzes, and introductions via Teams, Zoom or Sway! Let’s not forget, special collections who are offering services we’re already taking for granted like ‘scan and deliver’ and reading room bookings.  

Other libraries have found time to focus on big projects, such as the Education Online library, and the Moore library Online Learning Hub. Whilst other resources are fun and welcoming e.g. BookJoys, a StarWars themed promotion of Click & Collect at the Divinity library and the avatars which the Engineering team are using to break down barriers and create a welcoming social media campaign.

The virtual Engineering Team

There are many examples of synchronous training which has taken place. For example, in October alone the Medical library team trained more than 2000 participants in topics ranging from literature searching and referencing software to critical reading, writing for publication, research data management, and creating conference posters. The sessions have been extremely popular. One staff member was nominated for a teaching award by ClinSoc, the clinical student society, in recognition of support provided remotely during the pandemic.

Other libraries have blended asynchronous online modules with follow up live sessions. For example,  Biological Sciences, Geography, Music and many more. LibGuides are a popular vehicle for signposting resources and I like the analogy of LibGuides being launchpads for students to find what they need. Resources have been embedded into Moodle, and the Springshare suite of tools has been put to good use with extensive use of LibCal for seat bookings etc and Libwizard used to create quizzes and interactive content.

Another feature of the ‘new normal’ is library support on a one to one basis, this is not new but Economics says that there have been more one-to-one sessions than ever before. Similarly, the Engineering team offer personal supervisions on specific topics, and the Education team offer bookable 1-2-1 research sessions ; a student gave the following feedback:

“The call was effective but also very friendly, which I loved! It has given me much more confidence to carry out systematic searches using the various databases and I also feel more comfortable using the other online resources available.” 

Another theme that comes across is continued support for student wellbeing. This is especially important in college libraries. Wolfson college offers virtual study sessions for students to connect online, share experiences, study with peer support and ask questions, plus extra sessions for self-isolating students. Queens are working with student reps to offer a range of options for bookable study spaces and Trinity have secured funding to build the general reading collection.

Take a look at the Padlet, get some ideas and populate it with your own projects. In addition, Laura Moss is also collating information and links on a spreadsheet, with content mapped to the IL framework, get in touch if you have anything to add.


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