DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > National Library Week 2021

Celebrating the DePaul University Library this National Library Week

John T. Richardson library
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
National Library Week, set for April 4 - 10, is a time to highlight the essential role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening communities. The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Welcome to your library,” which promotes the idea libraries are more than a building that houses books. The resources and services we provide can be accessed from anywhere online. Everyone in the DePaul community is welcome to make use of our resources, not just for education, but also for fun.

To celebrate this year's National Library Week, the Library EDGE Team developed a virtual scavenger hunt. All are welcome to participate in the week-long event.

​Below are some examples of how the DePaul University Library has adapted, connected, innovated and communicated our support to the university community over the last year.​

Research and instruction

Research and instruction librarians partnered with faculty as classes moved online for the pandemic. Librarians taught students how to access and evaluate information resources live via Zoom. They also revised and produced new videos and learning objects in support of asynchronous learning. In addition, students learned how to search for articles in research databases through a customized live Zoom workshop.

Since July 1, librarians, peer research tutors and access services staff responded to 9,300 requests for assistance via the Ask a Librarian chat widget, a nearly 50% increase compared to the same time period in the previous year.

Technical services

Many library staff spent time figuring out the new library management and discovery systems, including resolving issues following migration, learning new workflows and setting up new functions for staff and patron use. The Technical Services team developed and configured a new import profile process for two major ebook vendors, which cut roughly two days off the average turnaround time. This new process allowed for more quick and effective access to needed ebooks for patrons at a time when they weren't able to visit the library in person.

Special Collections and Archives 

Over the past year Special Collections and Archives worked on several new projects and collaborations that focused on student learning and enhancing online access to collections. Department staff partnered with the HumanitiesX Collaborative on a new internship course, the DePaul Documentary Corps. Led by HumanitiesX Faculty Director Lisa Dush, the program teaches students oral history and gives them the opportunity to conduct, transcribe and edit remote interviews. 

The SPCA team also worked to digitize and preserve legacy audio-visual materials. After digitization by a vendor, SPCA student assistants worked on a remote project to assess and describe the content of over 450 file. After a year of work, more than 300 hours of content can now be viewed by researchers. Student assistants also are working on a large-scale remote project to input archives collection information into Arc​hivesSpace, a web-based information management system. This project will provide researchers with online access to search across all archives collections in SPCA.

Collection Development Department

For a department that spent much of its time maintaining our physical collection, the shift to remote work was full of unknowns. The small department started with its policies, removing barriers and focusing on access to online materials for faculty and students. The team coordinated with other departments to launch the largest trial and temporary access period the library has ever done, allowing patrons to access a multitude of resources in a remote environment.

The team saw a huge demand for streaming video. In response, the team took steps over the past year to improve the library's streaming video collection, promoting what DePaul already has and subscribing to resources patrons need.

Access Service Department

The majority of direct, face-to-face interactions in the library today are facilitated by the Access Services team. Borrowing library materials and equipment, requesting interlibrary loan and I-share materials, course reserves and access to library facilities is made possible by the work of these staff. Although services and access to library facilities may now be limited, the Access Services team has continued throughout this period to provide remote and onsite service to the DePaul community.

To provide safe, consistent service to the community, Access Services staff have adhered to COVID protocols outlined by the local and federal government. Contactless pick-up services have been extended from local borrowing to include I-share and most interlibrary loan services and library hours have since evolved from 12 hours a week with no patron access and limited contactless pick-up service to 4 days a week with facility access for contactless pick-up and with a seating reservation. Since the team's return to campus in August 2020 and borrowing services resumed, it has processed more than 5,500 requests for physical library books.

Digital Services

This team works behind the scenes to support colleagues in the library, and this past year was no exception. DS staff took on the increased number of digitization requests for audio-visual materials, set up an online reservation system for reserved study space in the John T. Richardson Library, and ensured all of online information was updated as services models changed.