Right now, it is more important than ever for academic librarians to support students. Librarians can provide resources to engage and connect to students. Here are 3 ways to successfully connect with students while social distancing. It is important to remind students that even though the physical library is closed, the library is still available online and has many helpful resources.
1. Support students with online resources
- Provide virtual tutors to help students.
- Create virtual writing workshops for writing tutors to check, help, and encourage students with their writing. It is always great to bounce ideas and to have support when writing a paper. Take this online so students still have this great opportunity.
- Provide online resources by sharing links and encourage students to use online resources. Libraries subscribe to many great online resources and publishers are also offering many free resources at this time.
- Provide a safe space to virtually talk to encourage students to meet with other students, faculty, and librarians. In addition, librarians can provide support by inviting students to chat within a safe space. Librarians should take time check in and chat with student workers.
- Provide mental health resources to enable students to deal with many obstacles that they are now encountering living with their families, keeping up with their studies, being away from their friends and possible financial issues. It is important to provide students with resources to help stabilize their mental health. There are many online resources with tricks and tips.
- Encourage students to download apps that will help relieve stress
2. Use social media to engage with students
- Highlights of the week
- Feature eBooks to encourage reading.
- Highlight student workers to recognize that they have contributed so much to the library and they are appreciated. Student workers are accustomed to working one on one with librarians and students. During this time, they are away from their second home.
- Senior Spotlight gives you the opportunity to recognize them. This is a difficult time for Seniors who are missing out on a special part of their lives. Seniors may be feeling down and upset and it is important to give them their time to shine.
- Mental health tips
- The CDC recommends the following tips to cope with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and engage in activities that you enjoy.
- Connect with people you trust to talk about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Promote digital resources to students through social media. These can be resources that the library subscribes to or free resources offered by publishers.
3. Create virtual social events
- Trivia night creates a fun environment. Many libraries host trivia nights during the semester. Create a virtual trivia night and allow students to create teams. This will be a fun way for students to engage with their friends and recognize that the library is still supporting them.
- Virtual book clubs promote a love for literature and a positive attitude towards reading. Encourages extensive and intensive reading. Invites natural discussions that lead to student inquiry and critical thinking. Book clubs foster interaction, cooperation and collaboration. It expose students to literature from multiple perspectives and nurtures reflection and self-evaluation.
- Virtual Yoga helps students relax and focus via online meditation sessions. You or a student can lead the sessions yourself, using the tips here, or you can encourage students to check out these guided meditation recordings from UCLA.
- Virtual poetry reading helps share inspiration and creativity. Have students share pieces of poetry. The students can explain what their selection means to them.
- Virtual BINGO night can be hosted on Zoom. Use this website to generate cards, send cards to students, call numbers and check if a student wins once they said BINGO.
Taylor & Francis COVID 19 Resource Centre
Mental Health Resources
Headspace (free and subscription content)
Calm (free and subscription)
Virtual Game Night
Virtual Book Club
Keeping College Students Engaged
Student Spotlight Examples