Promoting library services in the digital era among students

Promoting library services in the digital era among students

Technology has become a key focus of our lives today. Library services are not an exception in which we can utilise state-of-the-art innovations to engage with students.

Build a library without walls with digital services

“When we digitise library services, we can meet the needs of so many more students and academics. We become a library without walls and can deliver our services to them wherever they are,” said RMIT University Executive Director of Library Services Mr David Howard at the recent ‘RMIT Vietnam conference: The academic library in a post-COVID world’. The event discussed practices and strategies to develop library services during the pandemic and post-COVID-19 period, attracting over 50 academic libraries across the country.

One of the digital technologies that have been applied in RMIT Vietnam Library is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which offers users the opportunities to access vast resources more efficiently. For this to happen, library staff must upskill urgently to support students and academics in the ethical use of AI. 

rmit-executive-director-of-library-services-david-howard RMIT Executive Director of Library Services David Howard at the recent “RMIT Vietnam conference: The academic library in a post-COVID world”.

Mr Howard suggested that academic libraries can start their AI journey with four key tools: Tome – to create presentations from keywords, OpenAI – ChatGPT – to create text from keyword, Glasp – to curate ideas and sources, and Pollinations – to generate images with keywords.

RMIT presenters at the conference also shared experience in how Open Educational Resource (OER) was exploited and adopted to support teaching and learning activities at its Vietnam campuses.

OER is a type of resource that offers online access and is free of use to teachers and students all over the world. RMIT Vietnam Library launched OER initiative to raise awareness and conducted training workshops for library staff, academics, and students since 2016.

To start OER project, it is essential to develop OER guide, raising awareness among potential users, upskilling library staff and lecturers, as well as embedding OER into library activities.

However, it is not always straightforward for academic libraries to go digital.

“We need to ensure that we maintain high levels of personalised support for students. Having a skilled library staff member behind our digital services is absolutely critical. Skilled library staff ensure we get the best digital outcomes for students, researchers, and teachers.” Mr Howard added.

Student-centric activities: a sustainable model for future use

According to Mr Rex Steiner, RMIT Vietnam Senior Manager of Library and Digital Services, encouraging students to get involved has multiple benefits.

“It will help students be aware of all library activities, services, and resources, and keep them updated on current events. Especially, it lets students recognise the various benefits when they are familiar with library services and resources.”

Student-centric model at RMIT Vietnam library is adapting latest changes and fresh content, in addition to embracing diversity and inclusion.

Over the past two years, the University has successfully organised events with a student-centric approach such as ‘Get to know your academic library forum’, ‘Fantastic books: A book review contest’, and ‘Welcoming newbie series’. 

build-your-dream-library-student-centric-model-rmit-library “Build your dream library” - an exemplar of student-centric model implemented by RMIT Library.

Also, in 2021, RMIT transformed its biggest event – ‘Build your dream library’ - to online where students designed and input features that they wish to realise. With this forward-looking model, the number of participants increased significantly with more than 300 students.

RMIT Library has maintained student service activities and built stronger relationships with students during the pandemic and post-COVID-19 period.

Its student-centric event model with an integrated approach combining offline and online activities proved to be effective during COVID-19 and is likely to maintain its trend in the future.

two-women-walking-talking-and-smiling-in-rmit-library RMIT Library student-centric event model with an integrated approach combining offline and online activities proved to be effective.

Mr Steiner shared: “A key to lasting success for students and librarians in a student-centric model is to establish positive relationships through meaningful communication and for librarians to put themselves in the student's position and be willing to listen and empathise with them.”

Fit for growth

Libraries should not be places for only reading. For RMIT, its academic library is to increase and upgrade access through promoting hybrid library, accessible and visible resources and services, and to host virtual training sessions for users.

Story: Dung Pham

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