University's online library resources see large increase in number of users
Access to information is a key to success in today's digital age and the Bellevue University Library is busy opening doors in the online world. A recent article in Military Advanced Education highlighted some of that growth.
Over the past five years "live" reference chats have increased 1,248 percent, ebook use is up 8,000 percent and journal usage has increased 319 percent. Website traffic has also increased by 288 percent, said Robin Bernstein, Senior Director of Library Services in the MAE article.
Bernstein sites a number of reasons for the growth in the usage of the online library including a commitment to online resources, some major retooling to the web page, an effort to market the libraries services including utilizing Facebook, and a supportive administration, faculty and staff.
"Our library is truly unique in that its success is not the effort of one or two people, but rather the entire library team. The library functions as a team, makes decisions as a team, brainstorms as a team, collaborates as a team, and I can honestly say that we have a fabulous TEAM." Bernstein said. " The current Bellevue University Library staff are among the most dedicated, passionate, intelligent, and committed team I have ever had the pleasure of working with and I look forward to many more prosperous, successful years ahead of us."
Of course, knowing how to access that information and utilize the tools the library has to offer will be important for students.
"Users are always amazed at the wealth of information that we have available and often comment how we have better and more resources than many of the larger public institutions," Bernstein said. "We have some excellent tools and resources other than databases to assist students with their research needs that often go unnoticed or are not used to their full potential."
Bernstein pointed to several tools in particular that students may benefit from:
- LibGuides – librarian created portals to high quality research information.
- BUILD-IT – Bellevue University Information Literacy Development Interactive Tutorial (online tutorials that help develop skills needed to do effective research in the library and on the web).
- Digital Archives – a collection of materials and information related to the history of Bellevue University including newsletters, news clippings, books, documents, videotapes, microfilm and photographs.
- Simple Search – Federated search service which helps streamline the management of all e-resource collections to improve patron access with a single search.
- Text-a-Librarian – Provides an efficient way to answer questions and communicate with patrons using technology most people are familiar with.
Bernstein also indicated that several new services are not far away including:
- Personal Librarians (in progress) – a program designed for FTFY students to create a more welcoming and inviting environment to the Freeman/Lozier Library. Students are matched with a librarian who will serve as a single point of contact for the library. Our role is to help coach students and help them learn the tools and skills need to become life-long learners.
- Summon (implementation date set for first week of August) – expanding upon Simple Search, this goes beyond the federated search and beyond next-generation catalogs to create an all new web-scale discovery service enabling a web-searching experience of encompassing all library collections. It provides a one-search box for a researcher to enter any terms they want and quickly get credible results in one relevancy ranked-list.
- 3D Second Life Virtual Library (in production) – a virtual environment and exact replica of the Bellevue University Library for students to enter into and locate and utilize the online resources as though they were physically in the library.
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