2020-2021 Library Statistics are in!

As we close out another academic year (this one like no other) we take a look back at the library services we delivered to the Touro community.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, almost nothing was normal about this year. The Fall semester began in the thick of the pandemic, with much, but not all, of our work shifting to remote service as Touro transitioned most classes to online learning. Some of us remained working in our libraries, in-person, throughout the year, some worked remotely the whole year, and some did a combination of both. We had to learn new skills, new technologies, and adjust our workflows for just about everything we did. Yet, Touro Librarians and Library Staff found new ways to connect with our students and faculty and continued to provide the same great library services that we always have, pandemic or no pandemic.

As we had relatively few students and faculty on our campuses this year, most of our reference service moved to being remote. We had the most reference activity via email and phone, with our Chat and Ask-a-Librarian services fielding a steady stream of inquiries as well.

Our librarians regularly teach classes on research methods, and this year was no exception, only that all of these classes were shifted online and carried out via zoom. Through the year, we taught 136 classes over zoom, and had 2131 students attend our library classes. Our asynchronous educational efforts were successful as well, with 408 students and faculty using our many libguides this year. Our librarians and library staff also continued to educate ourselves, attending webinars throughout the year, with a combined total attendance of 544.

Let’s take a look at all the numbers!


We are still hard at work over the summer and are looking forward to what the next academic year will bring, with the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Until then, see you in the library (call first to verify hours) and online!

post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

New Books at Lander College for Women Library

photo by the author

The library at Touro’s Lander College for Women recently added a great deal of interesting new books.  In this post, I introduce some of the titles and take us through the work and considerations that go into ordering books for a library’s collection. 

Some factors we consider when ordering books include:  (1) Mission Statement, (2) Collection Development policy, (3) managing collegiate relations with Professors who can recommend purchases, (4) each branch curriculum focus, (5) guidelines noted in the Touro College Library staff Wiki on how to order and weed books to make room for new acquisitions (6) cultivating academic interests in editing books, researching & writing books, and book reviewing which helps the acquisition process and (7) fielding reference questions at Lander College for Women, making one familiar with course syllabi and curriculum.  

Academic subject interests cultivated by librarians   

Thirteen of these new titles added to the collection are published by Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, five of which, including Huss’ The Zohar Reception and Impact, I reviewed for various journals. Eight of the new Jewish Studies books are published by Brill Press, six of which I reviewed. 

Thus our librarian’s own scholarship and book reviewing are often assets in keeping a pulse on academic disciplines. For instance, a tincture of my published, peer-reviewed work can be found at: Touro Scholar and Facpubs.  See also AJL Proceedings, referenced in RAMBI, along with popular reviewing sources like Choice, and Jewish Book World.

Building up areas related to Womens’ history  

We strive to beef up our collection in works relating to Women in all academic disciplines. My book reviewing and scholarship assists in this process; I reviewed the following for  the journal Women in Judaism:  The Rabbi’s Daughter and the Midwife. , Chaya T. Halberstam’s Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature. ,  Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1: Apprentice: a Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery. , Kempner, Aviva. Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg ; Merin, Tamar. The Rise of Israeli Women’s Fiction;  Fried, Mindy. Caring for Red: A Daughter’s Memoir; Haredim-Religion.com. Israel . In the peer reviewed music journal  Notes: Quarterly of the Music Library Association, I reviewed a work on the musician Sara Levy. Featured in the new books photo is Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan: The Founder of the Bais Yaakov Movement in America and  The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint.

We try especially to purchase books in the area of women’s history to bring from the margins to center stage the often discriminated place of women in history as noted in a podcast discussing my recent publication, Gluskin Family History, which was reviewed by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz of Ohr Sameach Yeshivah of Jerusalem on the Jewish Book World blog.     

Thus a host of factors noted in the above desiderata, go into the process of ordering books, thereby expanding our collection for current and future readers.

-post contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Touro Lander College for Women Library.

eBooks for Online Instruction

Online instruction is not new. However, as “the new normal” sets in, professors at Touro and beyond have quickly switched to providing online instruction. Teaching effectively with Zoom and Canvas is becoming even more integral to successful online learning.

graphics related to online education
Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

The Field of Online Instruction

Online instruction can be done in a few ways. Online learning can include asynchronous instruction, in which students work on their own schedule completing assignments uploaded to an online learning management system, like Canvas, by a professor. In contrast, synchronous learning is learning which occurs in “real time,” like with live classes delivered through Zoom. And, of course, online learning can occur in a “blended” manner, using a combination of the two.

Being a successful online instructor goes beyond being proficient with these technologies. There are unique theories that support effective online instruction. For those new to teaching online, it can feel like there is so much to learn. While the internet is awash with information, including freely available eBooks, they are not always written by authors qualified to write on the topic.
 
eBooks Available Through the Touro College Libraries

The good news is that the Libraries continue to provide access to quality eBooks that cover the topic of online college instruction and are written by leaders in the field. These eBooks can be accessed through the Touro College Libraries catalog by using your TouroOne username and password, allowing you to read them on your electronic devices from the comfort of your home!

A Look at Three eBooks About Online Instruction

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2016). The online teaching survival guide : Simple and practical pedagogical tips. [eBook edition]. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Both Boettcher and Conrad have extensive experience setting up online programs at prestigious universities. As the title indicates, this book provides practical tips and best practices that can be used when designing course content for online courses and teaching online throughout the semester in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Moore, M. G. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of distance education. [eBook edition]. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

With a focus on theory, this award-winning book covers a broad range of topics, including the history of, and pedagogical theories supporting, distance learning; how to design and deliver online instruction; and issues facing academic administrators such as legal and copyright issues.

Riggs, S. (2020). Thrive online : A new approach for college educators. [eBook edition]. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

As Executive Director of Oregon State University’s eCampus, Shannon Riggs is well-qualified to write a book which describes the critical qualities online educators should possess. Questions for the reader to reflect on are interspersed throughout the book to encourage more effective teaching practices.

a baby typing on a computer
Image by Luidmila Kot from Pixabay

The Touro College Libraries have many more eBooks about online education. Simply search with keywords such as “online instruction” or “online education.”

For a visual demonstration of how to search the catalog for eBooks, watch our video tutorial.

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

You can take the librarian out of the library…

How can I be a librarian from home?

I started thinking about this as I sat alone by my computer: can I be a librarian outside of the library? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one could do a great deal from home as a librarian. As some might say, you can take the librarian out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the librarian.

a laptop and phone and mug on a couch
Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay

After being told we would begin working from home, we were given one day to go back to our offices to set up or pack up what we needed to work remotely. This began a whirlwind of changes to the way I work, from new, purring officemates to turning my home into a modern industrial park.  Continue reading

A Day to Celebrate Library Assistants & Support Staff

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Touro Library Assistants, outside the entrance to the Medical Research Library of Brooklyn at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center. From left to right: Merita Verteniku, Sarah Nakar, Brandon Harrington, Ziva Romano, & Nino Rtskhiladze.

National Library Week is a time to appreciate libraries and to celebrate those who make them vibrant and welcoming community centers – library workers! A few of our own library assistants (above) had the opportunity to attend this year’s 21st Annual Library Assistants Day Celebration, sponsored by the METRO New York Library Council. Continue reading

An Evening with Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

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Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress and Donneer Missouri, Scholarly Communication Librarian at Touro College.

Last evening, I had the great pleasure and privilege of attending an engagement entitled, “In Conversation: Dr. Carla Hayden + Tracy K. Smith”, held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The talk which was moderated by Kevin Young, the current director of the Schomburg Center, featured Dr. Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, and Tracy K. Smith, the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, who was appointed by Dr. Hayden in 2017. This was a great way to wind down National Poetry Month while tying it into the work that we do as librarians. Continue reading

Librarians and their “Cat Bags”

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Bay Shore Library

One doesn’t have to be a librarian for long to find out that the first thing to do at a professional library conference is making a beeline straight to the Baker & Taylor table to get a shopping bag.  The very first experience will have you hooked on repeating this activity.  While this tradition falls under the things they don’t tell you in library school, you do learn about Baker & Taylor as a book distributor for libraries.  Any decent library conference will have Baker & Taylor among its publishers, but it is their beautiful shopping bags with cats on them that is eye-catching to all.  It doesn’t take long to learn that these cats are the company’s mascots.

Continue reading

Health Sciences Library teams up with the Speech Pathology Department to create 3D educational models

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Head with Cochlear implant

During the Fall 2018 semester, the Bay Shore SHS Library staff, (Chief Librarian Joan Wagner, Librarians Annette Carr and Heather Hilton, and Library Assistant Kelly Tenny) teamed up with Professor Rachelle Kirshenbaum’s (Associate Academic Director of Speech-Language Pathology) classes to work on a collaborative project. The purpose of the project was to create 3D printed educational models that would be useful to the speech pathology students. To utilize the 3D printers at Bay Shore Library, Professor Kirshenbaum’s classes had to come up with concepts for 3D printed models that would go along with their research projects. The concepts were then described to the Bay Shore Library team, who turned their concepts into reality with the help of the EnableUC Team at the University of Cincinnati. Continue reading