Hidden Hero blog: Cork Institute of Technology library staff

Michael Costello is the deputy librarian at Cork Institute of Technology and provides us here with details of the combined team effort across all four CIT campuses that he and his colleagues are engaged in assisting third level students during the Covid-19 pandemic. The work described here by Michael is representative of work being carried out by Fórsa members in all institutes of technology, TUDublin, and Mary Immaculate (Limerick). This blog post is part of Fórsa’s #HiddenHero campaign.

Published Tuesday 12th May 2020

The CIT Acquisitions & Cataloguing Teams

CIT Library’s acquisition team of dedicated sourcing experts are continuing to support CIT students by researching and acquiring, where possible, recommended reading texts in e-book format to complement their studies in all disciplines. This work has been central in enabling students to continue to access important texts and reading material in the new remote learning environment where onsite access to print has become impossible.

We are enabling students to continue to access important texts and reading material in the new remote learning environment.

The acquisitions team continue to evaluate and curate vital electronic resources to ensure and deliver high quality online material for students. Further indexing enrichment is regularly carried out by CIT Library’s dedicated cataloguing team which means that electronic resources can be seamlessly and easily accessed by staff & students for research and up-coming examinations.

The CIT Library Support Team

The CIT Library support team provides remote assistance to the Institute’s students and staff during the pandemic by e-mail or over the telephone. Essential online library resources and  services are promoted on the CIT Library website, social media and other online platforms. Support staff are directly involved in the creation of subject guides, online guides and resources for students, explaining how to use e-books and e-Journals, complete project work, improve referencing skills, and providing effective remote study techniques. Such work is essential during the pandemic since face-to-face interaction with the student population and academics is simply not possible at the moment.

During the pandemic library staff are also available to provide online classes for students on  advanced search strategies and research techniques.

Where we are unable to provide research staff, academics and students with access to specific online material, library staff offer the college community an inter-library loan service to avail of material from external suppliers and other academic libraries. During the pandemic, library staff are also available to provide online classes for students on such topics as advanced search strategies, research techniques, referencing skills, identifying ‘fake news’ and guidance on the use of online resources.

Library support staff are currently working on an online resource which will teach CIT students essential information literacy skills. We also continue to work on the SWORD Repository, which brings together all of CIT’s research output under one umbrella, with an aim to preserve and provide access to that research material.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, CIT Library’s in-house designed chatbot, ‘Berkeley’, has also played an important role. With students being able to interact with Berkeley on a 24/7 basis. The software behind the chatbot is routinely monitored by library staff so that it can respond swiftly to the information requirements and queries of students studying remotely.