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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Libraries adapt their services during TCC shutdown

Staff are committed to helping students succeed whether they are on campus or learning online

Alyson Oliver
campus editor

Adrienne/Adobe Stock
On campus libraries are offering an online chat, curbside pickup services and tech support

TCC’s on-campus libraries are providing their services in a new contactless form in response to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Making changes to adapt to the pandemic was not an effortless task. Closures earlier this year left library staff in a rush to adjust their operations accordingly. 

But a strong and adaptable team made the process easier, said South director of library services Laura McKinnon and NW director of library services Alex Potemkin.

“It’s just reassuring when you see how strong the staff is and how able they are to adapt,” Potemkin said. “You go, ‘Yeah, there’s pretty much nothing that we can’t do.’”

The first step was to move their services online quickly and effectively, Potemkin said. Part of this process involved expanding their online chat feature and advertising it to students.

Providing access to technology was another vital task during the transition.

Many students relied on computers on campus to do their work, according to NW library technology director Brandon Wineman. Now, the libraries are still available to give students materials they need for their classes, such as laptops and tablets.

“Having any device in the student’s hand was significantly better than having no device in the student’s hand and them having to drop classes,” Wineman said.

The staff operate their new curbside pickup service in rotations to minimize contact with one another. Students can order a variety of materials including books, DVDs and board games. Items are sanitized and quarantined between uses to ensure safety.

Although TCC libraries are still just as dedicated to service as before, the loss of face-to-face interaction during the shutdown has had an impact.

The all-online format can sometimes make things difficult, TR student Stayce Petties said. She used the library to order books and search for materials she needed for her classes. Now, being off-campus makes things different.

“Even still TCC has great staff and tech support,” Petties said, adding that they can help students find great resources.

The staff has felt the impact of this change as well. Libraries act as customer-based support systems between students and staff, Potemkin said. It is easier to tell in person than it is online if someone has found the materials they need. 

They are a place for interaction and discovery as much as they are a place for quiet study time. Being unable to help students with their research in person has been difficult for some of the staff, McKinnon said.

But even still, the libraries are making a continuous effort to provide their services virtually to the best of their abilities.

Students can join the chat on the TCC library webpage, where librarians from every campus are present to help them find what they need. They can receive tech support by chatting with a tech expert, search the TCC database or request to pick up a laptop or tablet for internet access.

The libraries’ expanded online presence is expected to last beyond the pandemic, McKinnon said.

The staff’s drive to aid students in their success certainly will.

“The libraries are open, and we’re here to serve,” Potemkin said. The nature of how they are able to help has changed, he continued, but the level of help and dedication h

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