Who ya gonna call? Librarians!

The Libraries responds to campus needs during COVID-19

By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Wilson Library 4th floor study area
An empty study area on the 4th floor of Wilson Library (actually taken during spring break before the campus closure).

Our buildings are closed — you might even call the U of M campus a ghost town — but librarians and library staff are here for you. During the switch to online or alternative learning, our University librarians and staff have been bridging gaps by rush-ordering e-books, offering fair use guidance, and requesting access to an important database.

E-books are essential now. Students in a course offered by the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing needed a book written by faculty members Miriam Cameron and Tenzin Namdul, Tibetan Medicine and You: A Path to Wellbeing, Better Health, and Joy.

Melissa Eighmy Brown
Melissa Eighmy Brown

Melissa Eighmy Brown, Manager of Interlibrary Loan and Digital Delivery, purchased the unlimited use e-book for the Libraries’ collection, in addition to sharing a link to the e-book through the textbook platform Vital Source (one of the University Bookstores providers) so the 20 students enrolled in the course could access it as quickly as possible.

Cameron praises Liz Weinfurter, Liaison and Instruction Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library, for her research work supporting Tibetan Medicine and You. Weinfurter says,

Photo-of-Tibetan-Medicine-and-You“It’s very rewarding to see their book as a finished product, especially when the topic of holistic health and healing is so important in this unsettled time.”

E-books also aided a graduate student with a research project — and a personal budget eaten up by housing costs. The student was grateful to Eighmy Brown, who recently rush-ordered several ebooks for her use.

“I can’t really afford buying books for my research, and when the libraries closed, I thought I was done for,” the student wrote in a thank-you note to Eighmy Brown. “You have no idea how happy you’ve made me! I hope that this good karma will come back to you ten-fold!”

U of M copyright librarian shares expertise

Moreover, educators across the country moving to e-learning have access to guidance from a nationwide team of copyright experts including Copyright Program Librarian Nancy Sims.

The team’s “Public Statement on Fair Use in Emergency Teaching and Research” has been heavily viewed and cited in the last two weeks, and profiled in news sources including an American Libraries Association blog post, “Fair Use 101.”

Our Libraries’ website offers a link to Sims’s copyright guide “Rapidly shifting a course online,” which has also been adapted for use at many peer institutions, thanks to its Creative Commons license. See the Continuum article.

Helping provide remote access to key business resource

Access to vital business news, previously restricted to on-campus use, will be opened up soon for the Carlson School of Management users and others who need its up-to-the-minute information.

Mary Schoenborn, Liaison for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Carlson School of Management (CSOM), is working with Susanna Gibbons at CSOM Financial Markets Lab, to request the disaster recovery option with Bloomberg’s representative. Once this access has been granted, Schoenborn will facilitate interactions between users and Bloomberg’s financial services and database.

These are just a few of the stories of U librarians and library staff moving beyond their everyday support to extraordinary measures to keep U faculty, students, and staff advancing knowledge.

Share your story

Have a story of your own or others’ efforts to bridge the gaps? Please share with the U of M Libraries Communications team.

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