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OBU Library Connecting with Students Virtually During Online Learning

April 14, 2020

Amidst the University’s recent move to online learning, the Mabee Learning Center has modified their resources to accommodate students who need to access the library and study sessions form home. Director of Library Services Julie Rankin recently shared some tips and tricks for students who are needing to access the library form home.

“The OBU Library has offered remote services for many years,” Rankin said. “It is important because today's library expands far beyond the building and the physical books and materials. As students study abroad, travel for athletic events or take classes remotely, the library is still available to them. Today's library can actually go with a student wherever they go, as long as they have access to Wi-Fi.”

With OBU library's online databases, digital journals, eBooks and streaming video, library users have hundreds of thousands of high-quality research materials available via their digital devices. With all that information available, digital library searches can be overwhelming. To solve that problem, librarians at OBU also offer their expert research assistance online.

Students conducting online research may begin by viewing helpful research guides housed on the website At this site, they may also participate in live chats with librarians, book online appointments and also receives assistance via email, video and phone. Librarians can help students and other library users pinpoint the best keywords, search tools and research methods for their particular needs.

As online learning becomes more prevalent today, remote library services are vital to the research and learning experience of OBU students as they prepare to engage a diverse world with academic excellence.

“Normally, library staff are happy to help students and library guests with accessing physical library materials by pulling items from the hold list to the front desk, walking with students among the shelves to find the right materials, or ordering books from other libraries via interlibrary loan (ILL),” Rankin said. “During this particular season, libraries across our state and country are closing their doors to the public and promoting the use of digital materials and services only.”

With patrons unable to walk into the library to access printed materials, librarians are helping students and faculty find digital alternatives to these print materials. The OBU Library already has access to more than 60,000 eBooks through databases such as EBSCO eBooks, JSTOR and Project Muse. In addition, many library vendors are offering free trials and increased eBook access as universities across the nation have moved to online learning to protect their students and communities. The OBU library has sought out numerous free trials and additional eBook sources that they believe will be most helpful for students and faculty. These items are listed on the remote access library page

The library is also extending grace on the due dates for checked materials.

“We want to comfort students and library guests with knowing that all library due dates have been extended and we will not be charging overdue fines during this time,” Rankin said. “Our front entrance book drop is in place if students want to return their library materials before they move out of their dorm or apartment. If students are still using a library item that they checked out before the campus closed, they are welcome to continue using it until their assignment is complete. We just ask that they return it the next time they are able to be on campus.”

OBU’s library subscribes to more than 50 databases that students can use to access full-text journals and eBooks related to a variety of majors ranging from nursing to business to psychology. There are also have several helpful informational guides that cover topics such as MLA citation style, Western Civilization Research and more.

“We have and will continue to offer these remote services to our students and OBU community. We hope this situation will allow us to improve upon our online services and increase awareness of their availability,” Rankin said.