Your Name and Title: Bryan J. Sajecki, Undergraduate Education Librarian

Library, School, or Organization Name:
SUNY University at Buffalo

Co-Presenter Name(s): Nicole Thomas, Keith Nichols

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Buffalo, NY (EST)

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Higher Education (College/University)

Short Session Description (one line): Success Through Survival: The Evolution of IL Librarians in Response to the Unique Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic (this is also the title, as it seems appropriate)

Full Session Description: 

A story not too dissimilar from other educators, the Education Services Team of the University at Buffalo (UB) Libraries faced an unprecedented challenge to provide undergraduates with quality instruction in a new virtual environment during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Embracing technologies such as Zoom, Google Drive, and Blackboard, the real innovation from this team came out of the special circumstances under which the tools were delivered. In the fall of 2020 and spring 2021, the schedule of library instruction sessions to UB’s ENG105 composition course had changed from previous semesters. With the new arrangement, the Education Services Team was required to teach nearly 20 sessions each per week over a two-week timeframe and completely virtual, from 8am until 10:30PM. 

What the librarians discovered was that despite the intense and streamlined preparation, each of them organically embraced different instruction methods in order to combat Zoom fatigue, individual class dynamics, and a decreased work life balance. Survival became key for all around success, as each individual reinvented themselves as librarians and instructors.

Within this session, three of UB’s Education Services librarians will remark upon their personal experiences and individual strategies employed while dealing with the augmented stressors of teaching during a pandemic. Examples include teaching students transferable information and digital literacy skills, facilitating active learning through social constructivist techniques, and modifying group work to adapt to a virtual environment. 

Attendees will gain insight into how to turn unique challenges into scalable opportunities. Additionally, the importance of mental health management while delivering optimal instruction will be highlighted.

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