As with college departments, the ways library staff interacted with students changed dramatically this past year. Notably, our robust research and tutoring services shifted completely online. Despite being the 8th largest post-secondary institution in BC, Langara students were the fourth highest users of AskAway, the collaborative postsecondary research chat service, during the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The Library team committed to connecting with Langara students in this online environment. Of the 3,608 Langara students who accessed AskAway during this past year, 80% interacted with a Langara librarian or reference assistant, a significantly higher percentage than the average number of "home patrons" assisted by other post-secondary BC libraries.
With the pivot to online tutoring, both the Writing Centre and Subject Tutoring offered online tutoring throughout 2020-21. While the number of Writing Centre visits dropped significantly compared to in-person interactions in years past, the Writing Centre was still able to assist more than 1,500 students through a mix of Zoom and chat appointments.
While one-on-one consultations dropped, close to 800 students submitted papers to WriteAway, BCELN's collaborative online writing tutoring service. This figure represents a 31% increase from 2019/20.
While overall numbers of subject tutor visits dropped when the service transitioned fully online, the service became increasingly popular as the year progressed and students became more comfortable using the online platform. One major draw to the Subject Tutoring Centre this year was the addition of Math and Statistics to the subject pool. Tutors from the Math and Statistics Activity Centre (MSAC) handled 37% of all sessions in 2020-21.
While both students and staff had to learn an entirely new system to manage tutoring virtually this year, student exit survey responses were overwhelmingly positive, with 75% of users rating their session as Excellent or Very Good, 88% noting they would return to the Subject Tutoring Centre for additional help, and 83% saying they would recommend the service to others.
With the transition to online teaching and learning, departments relied on the Library's three online information literacy tutorials more than ever. 591 tutorials were embedded into Brightspace courses this past year, a 15% increase from 2019/20.
The Library has a strong presence in classes on campus, delivering more than 2,000 in-person workshops in Langara classes in the 5 years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. This past year, the Library worked diligently to maintain this presence in the classroom despite the inability to engage in-person. While the vast majority of the Library's instructional program shifted to asynchronous online delivery, the Library still delivered over 100 synchronous sessions via Zoom, reaching over 2,500 students.
The Science, Nursing, and Business departments were the heaviest requesters of synchronous research workshops with a subject librarian.
The overall number of classes declined this year due to the shift to remote learning, as more instructors chose to adopt asynchronous library tutorials or other asynchronous library supports, such as online assignment guides. Instructors indicated they were very satisfied with the flexibility of the Library's instruction program. In a summer 2021 survey of 105 college instructors, the library received a 4.5/5 satisfaction rating pertaining to their instruction programming during the pandemic.
The heaviest users of library instruction during the past year were the English and Psychology departments.
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. 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.
Instead of hosting clinics once a month, the Learning Commons tested a new approach in the Spring semester, hosting clinics twice a week during the month of March to coincide with final assignments.
Typically hosted in person in the Writing and Tutoring Centre, the clinics were delivered via Zoom this year.