Game Changers for Community Colleges

I just returned from 2-days at OCLC where thirty community college librarians gathered to discuss the community college library environment. If I walk away from an event, conference, workshop, etc. with a list of action items then I know the activity was worth while – the OCLC sponsored event this week was definitely worth my time because I have a short list to work with now that I’m back.

This invite-only event came together around a series of OCLC-identified game changers for community colleges. They did a pretty good job of identifying themes in order to frame our discussion. As we sat around discussing these themes, a great deal of experience was brought into the room and we stepped in directions beyond the five game changers that were initially presented. The five brought to the table were (1) exploding registrations and student populations, (2) budgets, (3) eBooks, (4) working with faculty, particularly adjunct, and (5) leadership and succession.

The list brought to the table does encompass many of the common themes we are experiencing at the community college level. I found the discussion to be rich, informed, and enlightening. No answers were provided but awareness of these themes is important as we proceed in our libraries. My hope is that others can engage in this type of discussion in the future – perhaps regionally – to help frame our status in the academy. 

In the course of the discussion, I came away with ideas to explore on my campus. Here’s my action list from the gathering.

  • Make certain tutors receive training on financial aid, registration, etc. because they often are required to support students in those areas in the library.
  • Request a counselor in the Library during the first week of school.
  • Look at the Bergen mobile site.
  • Consider a Library Only Fee – is that feasible in California? Is it wise?
  • Some colleges are implementing variable tuition – charge different fees for different courses.
  • Can an ebook in our collection function as a textbook (if simultaneous access is support)?
  • Special events for adjuncts in evening/weekend or classroom drop in just to say hello and make connection.

Though we did discuss a few other game changers, I’m curious if any readers can identify game changers for community college libraries in the next five years that haven’t been included above?