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2019/20 Library & Learning Commons Annual Report

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Learning & Life Competencies

Sharing Unique Expertise

Library Instruction

The Library's instructional program surpassed 1,000 annual classes (in-person and online) for the second year in a row. The heaviest users of library instruction continue to be the English, Business, and Psychology departments. 

For the second year in a row, and despite the March 2020 shutdown of in-person services, the library spent more than 700 hours delivering in-person instruction. As the demand for in-person instruction has increased, so too has the competition for access to the Library's teaching lab. With the lab reaching its capacity, compounded with the limited access to the lab during the T Building fire repairs, over 100 of this year's classes were delivered in various computer labs across campus.

More online library tutorials were delivered in 2019/20 than ever before. While the Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial continues to be the most popular online tutorial assigned by instructors, delivery of the "Can I Use This?" Evaluating Your Sources tutorial increased by 25%. 

Academic Supports at the Library

The Library provides research support through numerous channels, including in-person drop-in sessions and appointments, phone call, e-mail, and virtual chat. This year, library staff members answered 6,786 "in-depth research" questions from students, staff, and community members, a 23% increase from 2018/19 and a 43% increase from five years ago. While the overall number of question answered by Library staff dipped slightly this year, more students are seeking complex assistance from library staff than ever before.

Students continue to access the services offered by the Writing Centre in high numbers. With the closure of the Learning Commons physical space on March 18, 2020, the Writing Centre was forced to cease operations for the remainder of the month. Typically, March is one of the busiest months of the year for the Writing Centre. The lower number of March visitors accounts for the slight decline in visits for the fiscal year.

Writing assignments from English courses make up the majority of interactions at the Writing Centre.

A record number of students received Subject Tutoring this year, despite an early shutdown of the service in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Computer Science & Information Systems continues to drive a significant amount of traffic to the Writing & Tutoring Centre, accounting for 42% of all subject tutoring visits. Students in Economics, Accounting, and Biology are also visiting subject tutors more than ever before.

The Library & Learning Commons strives to support students at their point of need, with an understanding that students are not always able to visit librarians and tutors in person. As a member of the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN), the Langara Library & Learning Commons provides students access to collaborative online research and writing services.

Even before research and writing supports transitioned fully online at the tail end of the 2019/20 fiscal year, students accessed online supports in high numbers this year. Over 2,000 Langara students used AskAway, the online chat-based research help service, an increase of 38% from 2018/19, and 135% increase from five years ago.

Langara students also continue to be strong users of WriteAway. Over 600 students submitted papers to online writing tutors through the online portal. Among all partners of the service, Langara ranks fourth in total submissions.

Learning Strategist Pilot Project

Langara secured another round of funding to extend the Learning Strategist pilot for 2019/2020. As part of the pilot and in consultation with Accessibility Services, the Learning Commons once again hosted one-on-one learning strategist sessions for students in the Learning Technology Lab. 

A Learning Strategist is a professional who assists students with developing various academic and executive functioning skills, such as organization, working memory, reading/writing skills, time management, and more. During the Fall semester, 14 students participated in the pilot who identified the following top learning goals: time management and/or organization, improving grades, improving study habits, note taking and/or exam-taking skills, and managing assignments. Pre and post questionnaire results suggest that participants experienced positive improvements in their learning goals and a high level of satisfaction.

Research & Writing Coach-Ins

The Writing Centre and the Library regularly offer a coach-in clinic for students to get one-on-one help with research, writing, and citing. Located in the Writing and Tutoring Centre, the clinics are intended to address the continuum of skills needed for effective academic writing and provide integrated support in a small setting, focusing on the iterative process of writing and research.

Student Visits

Summer: 16

Fall: 49

Spring: 19