The Queen Elizabeth II’s closure in March of 2020 posed a concern for students who rely on the library for computer and printer use, research materials, and study spaces. Library staff have been working to supplement the library closures by increasing online resources, offering pick up/drop off services, and experimenting with individual, bookable study spaces. While the QEII is currently closed from February 10-23 due to the recent spike in COVID-19, they are still offering online services.
My peers at Memorial have noted that the library website is not user-friendly. Therefore they have difficulty uncovering the resources to which a MUN Library card gives us access. I have experienced this myself; I have been stuck in frustrating document finding loops. However, considering that the library staff have been putting a considerable amount of effort into expanding their online resources and the online library is now students’ primary research source, I believe they’re worth exploring. Going beyond OneSearch, which only scrapes the libraries’ surface resources, databases are a goldmine of informational resources. A few particularly stood out among the information overload:
The Film and Video, Streaming database links to documentaries, news broadcasts, movies, and even live recordings of theatre and music productions.
The Bookseller Catalog is an excellent resource for shopping for books online. Notably, bookfinder.com compares prices that include standard shipping to Canada (or elsewhere) for any book across multiple vendors.
Memorial even offers access to family and historical records through Ancestry.com.
The issue Memorial Libraries’ website currently faces is not the amount or quality of resources being offered, but the ease of accessibility for students. The pandemic has encouraged Memorial to expand its online resources, bringing education to students far and wide. The next step is to make the library accessible and user friendly for students. There is gap in communication between students and online services. While the libraries have the resources for students, the students are unaware of the library’s breadth of knowledge. With proper communication between the library and students, students can spend their time learning and sharing knowledge rather than stuck in a document finding search. As online resources are gaining more importance, students hope that improving accessibility will become a priority for Memorial University.
More information on library resources and COVID-19 restrictions is available on the Memorial University Libraries website at library.mun.ca.