When groups of new students come through the Lincoln Land Community College Library before starting classes each semester, I always ask them, “What do you think of when you come into a library?” Inevitably, I get two common answers: books and shushing. I tell the students, “Yes, we have books and other materials, but the most important thing to remember is that there are PEOPLE in the library who are ready to help you succeed.” Then, I address the shushing and say, “While we have areas for quiet study, the LLCC Library is not a quiet library. It’s a library where we want you to feel comfortable collaborating with each other, and collaboration can be noisy. That’s ok!”
This news surprises many students. They still see libraries as silent places where physical materials are stored while awaiting use. At LLCC, however, the library has become a destination where people interact and connect on campus, learn in new ways with each other, and receive help with research projects and questions. Throughout the day, a busy humming sound comes from the LLCC Library, demonstrating that it’s in constant use.
Students and community members come to the LLCC Library for a variety of reasons. Some need access to a computer. Some want a place to study with others. Some need a quiet location to spread out and work on a project. Some just want a place to relax between classes, while others have specific questions about research assignments. People quickly learn that the library can be whatever they need it to be, and while they are there, they discover that the library faculty and staff are friendly, resourceful and encouraging. Once a person finds the library and meets the helpful people inside, they almost always return.
In addition to the physical library being a destination, the virtual library, through its webspace, has become a destination for students. They can dive into research topics, reach out to a librarian, and discover credible information at their fingertips. The library’s electronic resources now outnumber its physical materials, yet without the library staff interweaving resources behind the web-scenes, the seamlessness for students would be broken. The virtual library is a way for the library to meet students wherever they are and to provide electronic access to resources that they need.
The library faculty and staff have a unique opportunity to teach and assist students from all disciplines. Because of this, the library is a place where personal connections are made on campus. Students meet each other. Faculty and staff meet students. Faculty and staff meet colleagues. The informality of paths crossing in the library is where personal support can begin and grow, and when people feel connected to one another, they are more likely to succeed. Through personal connections and support, the library has become one of these important spaces at LLCC.
We are poised to help guide students on quests for information and growth, whether the quests are related to a research paper for a class or a topic of personal interest. This is a place where students can freely seek diverse perspectives and information on topics. The LLCC Library faculty and staff help make this a place of discovery and learning for everyone.
We are a “student-ready library” physically and virtually, and I always remind new student groups as they leave, “Don’t forget where we live. We are ready to help you.”
Come visit us! The LLCC Library is open to all community members, as well as students, 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. http://library.llcc.edu/homepage