Friday, October 13, 2017


      What is a library for? It's a more complicated question than you might think. The common idea seems to be that libraries function as a warehouse for books. Yes, books are an important part of what happens in libraries, but a library is much more than just books.

      A college library is a place where a student can break free from the structured lessons of the classroom. They can begin to connect their own ideas to what they have been learning, and they can make these connections in a cross disciplinary fashion to see the inter relatedness of all of human thought. The library offers students the opportunity to decompartmentalize, understand how, for example, their English classes relate to their physics classes, and perhaps even find the answer that elusive question of "When are we ever going to need this?"

      At a college library, faculty have the opportunity to learn new skills, discover new teaching methods, add to their teaching toolbox, and become dynamic instructors and researchers. Faculty can emerge from their silos to discover how what they have been doing all semester relates to what has been going on across campus all semester. It is the library that ultimately builds success, fosters communication, and strengthens a learning community.

     Through the centuries knowledge and information was disseminated and shared through the book. This is how the library got tied to the idea of books. But, we live in a new era. An era where information travels quickly, and travels freely. Not all of this information is useful, and we now see, hear, and learn about events happening across the globe that would have taken weeks, months, or years to disseminate in the past. It is the mission of a library to help people process this information, find whats useful, and become information literate.

      The library offers access to a variety of electronic resources, digital files, audio files, lectures, films, art, poetry and literature, events that stir the imagination, create a thirst for learning, and a curiosity about the world around us.

    This month we feature several items about how libraries do this, what libraries mean to the communities they serve, and demonstrates the impact that libraries have. Your BRCC Magnolia Librarians work very hard to bring these ideas and services to our campus, but we need your help! If you have an idea for something please share it with us. Our libraries at all of our sites are more than storage areas, and we need to promote library services to our students for their ultimate success.

  This video talks in general about libraries, librarians, and the populations they serve. It primarily references public libraries, but the ideas apply towards BRCC libraries as well.

      This video relates to how one individual developed a love of learning that benefited his entire life from the library. This is something we at BRCC all aspire to, and it is part of what Magnola Library does as well.

      An article in the Spokesman Review, a daily newspaper out of Spokane, WA recently featured an innovative program at the Spokane Community College library. The idea highlighted here takes the services of a library to a new level. One which directly impacts the success of SCC students. The article is reprinted below.

Sokol, Chad. Oct. 18, 2017. Books and Laptops, Soccer Balls and Laptops? Spokane Community College's Library of Things Offers Myriad Items For Students. The Spokesman Review. Retrieved from


    Linda Keys, the librarian at Spokane Community College, is close with a student in the school’s baking program – a single mother of three who sometimes struggles to buy needed pastry utensils.
“She has to be cutthroat with her budget,” Keys said, “so she didn’t have money for her fondant tools.”

The cost of school supplies can add up fast, especially in vocational programs that require specialized tools for building engines or decorating cakes.

That’s why SCC created the Library of Things, a place where students can check out more than books and laptops. To name a few of the items available: footballs and soccer balls, garden rakes and shovels, exercise weights, board games, musical instruments, cookware and Raspberry Pi computers for beginning programmers.

At a grand opening this month, Christine Johnson, the chancellor of Community Colleges of Spokane, called the Library of Things an innovative way to help students succeed both in and out of the classroom.

“Libraries are now really about providing all kinds of services to students,” she said, “no matter what their needs are.”

In addition to needed school supplies, the Library of Things offers what Keys described as “quality-of-life items.”

For example, SCC’s acting president, Kevin Brockbank, noted the library has a camping tent so students can “recharge” during a weekend nature getaway and return to campus ready to study. He called it one of the “little things” the school can offer on a tight budget.

Library staff pitched the idea last year and asked for $5,000 of SCC’s technology fees, which students pay along with tuition for school computers and system upgrades.

During the back-and-forth of the budgeting process, school administrators recommended that the Library of Things get only $4,000 in startup money, Keys said. But the student government, which oversees the technology fees, loved the proposal and decided on its own to allocate $10,000.

The Library of Things came to fruition with help from Bill Powers’ project management class, where students surveyed peers about the kinds of items the library should offer, studied government purchasing rules and helped develop the library’s checkout system.

For now, the Library of Things is based in a small room just off the main library. Keys hopes it will grow as the school accumulates items for checkout, such as backpacks and other basics. It will get some assistance from the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation, but donations are also welcome, she said.

“We’ve got a ton of automotive students who might want to take a set of tools home,” she said.

Keys said if students can save money by checking out an item, they might be able to spend on things that enable them to focus on school.

“We can help them eliminate any little barrier whether it’s another tank of gas, a few hours of child care, whatever,” she said.

OER Update

      Are you still confused about how and what OER is? This video should help. It provides some basic information in a fun way.

      The BRCC Acadian Site just wrapped up its second annual book sale. The book sale was a great success. Freinds of the Library Rachel Norton and PatRich Norton were on hand to help with the book sale.

PatRich Norton and Rachel Norton assisting with the
book sale at Acadian.

      PatRich Norton is also in The Program For Successful Employment at the Acadian site. Thanks, for your help!

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