Welcome to the 2022/23 academic year – celebrate with the latest issue of CoLRiC Impact

You will all be busily preparing for the onslaught of another academic year, so we’re delighted to share a selection of informative and thought-provoking articles highlighting diversity and creativity across the sector. Hopefully it will provide some welcome respite. Grab a brew and enjoy.

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. There is:

  • A request to Heads of Service to encourage staff in their teams to volunteer to support CoLRiC committee activities and projects. 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
  • A call to you all to share your input into our research initiative reflecting on the legacy of two years of pandemic trauma on students and staff. How has Covid affected library and learning resource services? Please try and put aside a few minutes to respond to our questions. We will publish a summary of key trends and issues later in the year
  • CoLRiC MediaWatch: an alerting tool designed to save you valuable time by providing brief overviews of news stories, research projects and developments across the national and international education sector. It includes Ofsted’s latest briefing update on its series assessing the Covid pandemic’s continued impact on education providers.

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.

All issues of CoLRiC Impact are available for members in the Document Repository. Contact the Admin team if you need help setting up a password.