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Virtual services are not new for UNCG University Libraries.

The libraries have provided reference service through a chat format since 2001. There has also been a full-time distance education/online learning librarian since the mid 2000s, and UNCG Libraries has coordinated with various UNCG units on online learning since the beginning of online instruction at UNCG.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Libraries had to begin providing all services online, but the existing infrastructure helped make the transition smoother.

UNCG Libraries has always had a strong commitment to providing online resources to maximize access.

There are robust eResources, including academic library databases, magazines, newspapers, a catalog of our collections, academic journals, eBooks, and streaming media. All of these can be accessed through the UNCG Libraries homepage, and liaison librarians work with departments to order eResources to help meet their research and teaching needs. As classes shifted online, librarians worked with teaching faculty to find the online resources their students needed to finish their courses and continued this work into the summer, fall, and spring semesters.

UNCG Libraries Research, Outreach, and Instruction (ROI) department and the Harold Schiffman Music Library (HSML) provide online information literacy and research instruction, and work closely with Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the Digital Media Commons (DMC), who provide instruction on primary source literacy and digital literacy. Liaison librarians were already offering online instruction options, so when COVID-19 moved courses online in Spring 2020, librarians and staff were able to shift instruction online quickly. Liaison librarians offered research and information literacy virtual meetings with courses through Zoom. They provide research guides for all departments on campus, as well as course-specific guides for many courses. ROI also recently developed a new suite of online research tutorials. These tutorials are also available through Canvas Commons for instructors to add to their courses.

UNCG Libraries integrates in Canvas in many ways, including a Librarian role in Canvas, research tutorials available through Canvas Commons, and a Library Resources course navigation tab connecting to our research and course guides. UNCG liaison librarians are also trained in Canvas, and can create content within a course through the Librarian role.

Liaison librarians also provide one-on-one virtual consultations with students, faculty, staff, and community patrons, on any topic related to research. These consultations can be set up through the departmental research guide.

UNCG Libraries has offered a virtual chat service for almost two decades, but it has been crucial for supporting students, faculty, and staff during COVID-19. Our online chat service is staffed by UNCG librarians, staff, and graduate students. They answer questions on a wide variety of topics, including research assignments and projects, citing sources, finding books and articles, printing, campus information, and more. Having a well-established chat presence before the pandemic allowed ROI to quickly shift to serving as the main service point for the library when it was closed.

As things slowly begin to return to normal, the Libraries will continue to be available to answer questions through our virtual chat service; provide you with access to ebooks, electronic journals, data, and streaming film; meet with students, faculty, and staff in virtual research consultations; and provide online instruction synchronously and asynchronously. Please reach out to our chat, your liaison librarian, the DMC, HSML, or SCUA with any questions.

 
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