Here’s how Brandeis Library has been supporting teaching and learning

Exterior photo of Brandeis Library
Even with its doors closed, the Brandeis Library has been working behind the scenes to support the campus in the transition to emergency remote work. As we look ahead to the fall, the library is ready to continue to support research, teaching and learning.
This spring, the library supported 191 courses with 682 titles—a 38 percent increase in courses supported compared to the previous year. Through the reserves queue, staff were able to fulfill 19 emergency e-book requests through the purchase of an e-book, digitization, or finding alternative online sources for instructors.
“Librarians are the best!” wrote one faculty member who requested that the library obtain a copy of a video to stream for her class on LATTE. “In the midst of all this chaos, you found exactly what we needed, and gave us easy access instructions. With this film as a resource, my students' understanding of the context of this creative endeavor will be enormously enriched.”
In addition to supporting courses, the library has kept patrons connected to materials they need to continue their research and scholarly work. With libraries around the world currently closed or minimally staffed, print collections have been almost entirely inaccessible. But the Brandeis Library Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery department hasn’t given up. Since mid-March, they have filled more than 1,800 borrowing requests, almost 600 requests for scanned materials, and almost 1,400 lending requests—all while working remotely.
How has this been possible? The resource sharing community has gone above and beyond to try to provide access to needed materials, recognizing that our services are more important than ever right now. Interlibrary loan has always been about sharing as much as possible, and library colleagues have really extended themselves in order to provide the materials Brandeis patrons need to complete their coursework and continue their research. Non-U.S. libraries are among those providing articles and book chapters, showing that Interlibrary loan truly is a worldwide community.
Various vendors have expanded their access as well, allowing the Brandeis library to borrow and lend from ebooks and ejournals that previously had Interlibrary loan restrictions. Sites such as the HathiTrust have expanded access to in-copyright materials to members who own the now-inaccessible print, allowing patrons to “check-out” materials and read full-texts entirely online. In addition, many authors have opened up free online access to their books and articles.
As the process for borrowing materials has needed to adapt, so has the process for answering research help questions.
While library staff may not be able to meet with you at the Research Help Desk at the moment, the online chat services can still connect you with subject experts. In a typical spring semester, research help is typically one-third virtual and two-thirds in-person, but as of mid-March the library’s research help desk has been 100 percent virtual. There has been a 74 percent increase in questions asked over chat this spring, resulting in a 24 percent increase in questions answered overall by library staff in any format.
Library departments continue to work on ways to make our collections and services more accessible to the Brandeis community. For the latest information on how the library can support you and your work, visit the library's website.

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