Technology is changing at a rate faster than ever before, with new software and hardware constantly appearing and changing the field of teaching and learning. I make it my goal in any institution to stay on top of trends and be able to evaluate what actually holds up to claims. Just because a resource is shiny and new doesn't give it a home in the classroom. I practice Reflective Teaching, ensuring that new digital tools are being used in a way that enhances learning, rather than distracting from it, aiming to create the best in person and online class experiences. Accessibility, my mantra is to make it the rule not the exception. Singling out students inadvertently due to making changes in a course after an accessibility challenge appears is the last thing I want to happen. I research, and test technologies to ensure that they can be universally utilized creating inclusive digital and physical classrooms. Technology isn't cheap, so I do this all the while keeping in mind budgetary restrictions and what serves as a good "fit" to the community and institution we are serving. What may do good in one system, may crash and burn in another and the demographic of the patrons must always be kept in mind.
While the digital era is upon us, physical resources will always be a present need, particularly when "picking up" an e-book is far more difficult for still a larger percentage of students. Physical collections must be kept up to date. Not only do books need to be regularly weeded, replacements need to be added as seen fit and additional collections be acquired based on student and faculty need. Upon realizing the physical collection at a previous institution had been ignored for an unknown but unacceptable amount of years I took it upon myself to cull a considerable number of books, including those with outdated media such as 3 1/2 floppies. I then made it my mission to seek the holes in the sections. It has been and will continue to be one of my goals to ensure that our physical collections fit our patrons and the needs of our instructors.
FACULTY & ACADEMIC COMMUNITY
Often times your biggest ally in an institution is the hardest to reach. It has been my goal and always will be to connect with instructors teaching all courses. Library systems hold resources that can aide instructors to push their students further, to assist those who are dragging behind, and to stop plagiarism in its tracks. The librarians are also a resource within the system, something many faculty have forgotten. With strong bonds to tie the library to the faculty, the students benefit making the campus a cohesive unit, and the faculty benefit by having a supporting system to help them approach teaching the basic skills all students need to succeed. Beyond the faculty there are other groups within institutions that support teaching, and by teaming up together there are opportunities to create resources and strengthen connections so we can lean on each others strengths to make better environments for all.
It is very important that an open atmosphere is kept for students in academia, to show that we are there to help them succeed. This means introducing the friendly faces students will utilizing for assistance, and making a safe zone to ask questions Be it through supplying study rooms, after hour tutoring, and providing top notch assistance from staff, circulation and reference librarians, it is important we strive to do this.
It is important for libraries to make connections in the community beyond the campus. It is through strengthening the bonds with those in the community who have the means and the intent to support education, a library can remain strong and relevant in times of economic hardship. It is successful librarian donor relationships that help both the community and the institution to expand and grow.