The impact of Covid-19 on CSUEB’s University Library

Brittany Bautista

How the University Library’s staff came together throughout the pandemic for students.

By Brittany Bautista, CONTRIBUTOR

With the abrupt campus shutdown in March 2020 due to Covid-19, the University Libraries’ staff persisted in keeping their services open to students throughout the 2020-2021 academic year by uniting as a community in various ways.
Student Center for Academic Achievement (SCAA) Director Dr. Shonda Goward and Associate Librarian Gr Keer elaborated on how the University Library thrived for students under safety protocols.
When California State University, East Bay transitioned to remote learning abiding by Covid-19 restrictions, students had not only lost the privilege of in-person classes, but they also lost one of their core college resources: the University Library. Prior to the pandemic and its lockdown(s), the University Library from each department catered to the needs of visiting CSUEB students and faculty every day.
However, the University Library’s staff didn’t waste time and worked diligently to create a plan and figure out significant ways to remain connected with students in the challenging academic year.
“Getting to know the team and managing them remotely was interesting but, everyone pitched in to help make that work,” SCAA Director Dr. Goward said, adding being in the position for 36 days before the state closed.
Instead of feeling limited on resources for students, Goward and the SCAA staff, which included 80 student assistants, expanded their services and partnerships. “So, in the Spring semester, we added SCAA After Dark in partnership with the librarians. The librarians offered a peer research guide. That person was there to help students who wanted to start a research paper but didn’t know what to do just to get started, so we had tutors in the same room,” Goward said.
As this program provides tutoring, it offers course study groups and group study space as well. This program runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. via Zoom to accommodate students for later tutoring hours.
“Collaboration among the different departments is really important. We really enjoyed working with SCAA because part of my job is coordinating a workshop series. The librarians teach these workshops how to cite in APA, evaluate sources if they’re really good for their project.” Associate Librarian Gr Keer added. “The SCAA was doing workshops about writing and different things like that. We decided to combine forces and have librarians and tutors in the same, so students could ask all the questions they have about their paper instead of having to go back and forth.”
Goward and the rest of the SCAA staff proceeded their efforts as the academic backbone for students during these rough times by launching another program. The Course Work Complete Program was established to help students finish the course with a grade instead of an incomplete. An incomplete offers a student an extension to meet the requirements after discussing with their instructor their inability to complete the rest of the course.
As the instructor and student come to a compromise, the student is responsible to reach this new deadline for that incomplete exchange into a final grade. For SCAA’s program, they will assign a tutor to a student, in which they will meet every week. The tutor will communicate with the instructors to see what the student needs to do to fulfill the course.
“We want students to be successful.” Goward declared it as her main priority for this program.
Moving forward into the upcoming fall 2021 semester, Goward and Keer clarified that SCAA’s expansion and partnership between SCAA and librarians will continue. Meanwhile, uncertainty still lies about the reopening of the University Library and will reflect on the decision of Governor Newsom, the state, and the university.
On June 15, the state of California reopened and alleviated many restrictions. According to the CSUEB’s latest Covid-19 information, social distancing and wearing masks on campus as the university is intertwined with California’s OSHA protocols.
CSUEB’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students, faculty, and staff, as students all hope to be sitting in the quiet environment of the library again.