Library Services in a Virtual World

As we prepare for the fall semester, take a quick look at how the Library has adapted its services and collections to support online learning. While we still are not sure what the Library’s physical space will look like in September, we remain here to support you and your students during these transitional times – don’t hesitate to reach out.

Supporting Student Research Remotely

While the Library’s physical Research Help Desk remains closed for the time being, Langara Library staff continue to assist students with their research via virtual chat, e-mail, and one-on-one Zoom meetings. In June, Langara students were the fourth heaviest users of the AskAway online chat in the province, narrowly trailing only UBC, SFU, and Douglas College.

Librarian on computer with child on lap.

Librarian Annie Jensen juggles competing priorities while staffing the AskAway virtual chat service from home.

Students with more in-depth research questions, or simply those who prefer to discuss their research “face to face,” can also book Zoom appointments with subject librarians. The Library recently made this much easier by adding a “Schedule an Online Appointment” button on librarians’ profile pages.

Picture of librarian with button below that reads "Schedule an Online Appointment with Joyce."

Students can now book one-on-one Zoom consultations with librarians.


Integrating Library Instruction into the Virtual Classroom

The Langara Library’s instructional program is the most robust in the province, with more students receiving some form of library instruction by the time they graduate than any other BC post-secondary institution. The transition to online learning has necessitated that Langara librarians rethink the delivery of this instruction. While the Library’s three online tutorials (Introduction to Research, Avoiding Plagiarism, and “Can I Use This?” Evaluating Your Sources) remain popular, subject-specific library instruction is a crucial support for many students completing research projects. Librarians have used the move to online learning as an opportunity to deliver instruction in new and creative ways. Some librarians continue to deliver their instructional sessions in real time through synchronous Zoom sessions, while others have created asynchronous learning objects using a variety of tools, including H5P, Kaltura, LibGuides, and Adobe Premiere. Many of these objects can be embedded directly into your Brightspace courses.


Looking forward to the fall, you can request library instruction using our online form, or reach out to your subject librarian to explore options for synchronous or asynchronous instruction.

Highlighting the Library’s Online Collections

The Library has invested heavily in its online collections in recent years, which has served us well during this transition to online learning. Library databases, e-book collections, and streaming video collections can be accessed remotely using your Langara ID and password. Recently, the Library added a new filter to its Quick Topic Search (the search bar on the Library home page) to make finding e-books easier. After searching, you can select “eBooks Only” from the list of filters on the results page.

Screen capture of the filters found on the Library's Quick Topic Search. The "eBooks Only" filter is highlighted.

Finding eBooks in the Library collection just became much easier. Simply select “eBooks Only” from your results list.

The Library also maintains a Featured Books at the Library section on its website that highlights e-books on various topics in our collection.

A computer and e-book reader.

The Library recently curated a “Race and Racism Reading List” on its website, focused on e-books and streaming videos in the Library collection. Click image to view the reading list.

We are doubling our efforts to ensure students and faculty have access to electronic resources pertinent to their area of study. Open Langara is available to answer any questions you may have if you are considering the adoption of an open textbook or another Open Education Resource (OER) for your class. The Copyright Office can assist if you  have questions about uploading readings to your online class.

We understand that not all resources are available in electronic format (notably many textbooks) and that some may prefer physical items. To that end, the Library’s physical collection has remained accessible since the COVID-19 shutdown in a way that maintains proper health protocols. After submitting a request for an item in the collection using our online form, you will be notified when the requested items are available for pick-up. All materials can then be returned to our outdoor book drop. Items are quarantined before they are again made available for circulation. Questions about borrowing items should be directed to our Borrower Services department at or 604-323-5462.

A Langara student returns a book using the Library's outdoor book drop.

A Langara student returns a book using the Library’s outdoor book drop.

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