The fourth issue of CoLRiC Impact for the 2021/22 academic year will be published shortly. Congratulations on surviving another challenging twelve months and we do hope that you have a relaxing summer ahead of you. In the interim, we’re delighted to share a selection of informative and thought-provoking articles highlighting diversity and creativity across the sector.
Nic Semple, Library Support Officer at The Manchester College looks at how best to improve the usability of a library website, offering insights into sitemaps and navigation. A well-designed and structured information architecture is crucial to successful website navigation and will improve the discoverability and uptake of library resources and services. Nic writes: ‘The usability of an information-focused website is dependent on an intuitive structure.’ She cleverly juxtaposes physical library services with their digital incarnation. ‘A website is like a library. Instead of a cataloguing system, you have sitemaps. Instead of Dewey, you have a navigation bar or buttons. If you have not put much thought into how your website works, the usability is compromised.’ Nic takes us on a journey demonstrating the planning and processes The Manchester Colleges utilised to inform, initiate and execute this project.
Jacqueline Ponka retired as Head Librarian at Holy Cross College in April 2022 after a successful career spanning three decades. In this issue she reflects on some of the changes to the FE information landscape over that period. ‘There have been so many changes to our services, the biggest being the move online. Fundamentally however, we continue to be there to support our students in finding the best information sources to support their studies and their individual growth. We enable students to become independent researchers and are there to guide them and support them in whatever way we can. That is a privilege that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.’ One absolute constant throughout Jacqueline’s career is the cross-sector support, collaboration and networking that continues to define the library community. She cites the networking opportunities of CoLRiC as a key resource and service. ‘CoLRiC has always been important to Holy Cross.’ The previous Head Librarian at the College sat on the Executive Committee and was editor of the CoLRiC newsletter. There are plenty of opportunities for members to join in committee activities and projects. Look out for a rally cry in the CoLRiC News section of this issue.
CoLRiC is all about demonstrating the value and impact of library and learning resources services, but also celebrating achievements across the sector by enabling members to share local initiatives and experiences. Tom Hewitt, Centre Librarian at Northampton College, has written an uplifting feature about the library’s recent annual awards ceremony, showcasing the achievements of students participating in library projects. ‘The ceremony allows the library to recognise the efforts of students engaged in a number of literary, numeracy and reading activities, including Maths Magician.’ (Northampton College’s numeracy project won CoLRiC’s Best Practice Award in 2018 and is featured in CoLRiC Impact 2019, issue one; available for members to read in our Document Repository.)
Mags Griffin, LRC Manager at St Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College, writes about the library and learning resource centre’s experiences supporting the potentially onerous Copyright Licensing Agency’s (CLA) random collection of royalties data. ‘The exercise would be an uncomfortable experience in any work environment. So, when the CLA contacted me to set up an introductory meeting with key stakeholders from across the college in July 2021, I was apprehensive, as well as curious about the CLA and how this process would evolve.’ In this article she articulates that evolution, and the interface with key players including IT and teaching staff.
Look out too for all the latest CoLRiC News, which includes a call to Heads of Service to encourage staff in their teams to contribute to CoLRiC committee activities. It will provide an invaluable CPD opportunity and may be of interest to early career professionals or staff new to the FE and Sixth Form College library and learning resource sector.
If you have a story to share, we’d be also delighted to publish it in a future issue of Impact. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require further information.