New at the Library: Civic Center, Remote Librarians, Student-Focused Programming

New at the Library: Civic Center, Remote Librarians, and Student-Focused Programming- students studying

The Xavier University of Louisiana Library is transforming its structure and services to better suit student needs. The library will soon implement new programming and expanded amenities through partnerships with the Student Academic Success Office (SASO), Student Affairs, and the Xavier University of Louisiana Police Department (XUPD). 

The first floor of the library has been transformed into a Civic Center, which will be open 24 hours once staffing is finalized. This space will allow students following COVID-19 guidelines to gather at all hours for events, group activities and studying. Special programs and events will also utilize the space. 

“The XULA Civic Center is a collaborative learning space designed to help students further develop their civic identity. As we move to promote a more just and humane society, the mission-driven programming offered by the Civic Center will equip and empower students on their journey to becoming dynamic agents of change,” said Kerri Alexander, the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Inclusion Officer/Deputy Title IX Coordinator. “Additionally, the space will serve as a hub for meaningful relationships to form between Xavierites and the surrounding community as we work alongside one another to address systemic inequities. We are excited to begin facilitating opportunities for advocacy, ethical leadership, community engagement, and public discourse both within and beyond the walls of our institution.” 

Beyond the Civic Center, other new services are set to be implemented in the coming months. The Head of the Library’s Collection Resources, Nancy Hampton, is especially excited about the introduction of remote librarians, who will offer consulting services for students conducting research. These specialized librarians are experts in researching their specific topics, allowing students to receive more precise assistance as they conduct literary research.  Hampton said that Xavier is one of the first institutions to use remote librarians. 

“Students are more accustomed to virtual stations. Texting or chatting with someone online might be more comfortable for many of them.” Hampton said. 

The remote librarians will also host information sessions to help students learn more about the technologies and services of the library, including more efficient ways to utilize the tools and resources. These sessions are particularly helpful for Xavierites who might not have had access to libraries or information technology. Using library resources is not always intuitive, especially technologies like those in the Innovation Studio. 

The Innovation Studio on the 2nd floor of the library, sometimes called the Makerspace, was designed to empower members of the Xavier community to transform their ideas into a new reality by making something tangible or visible. In this space, students, staff and faculty can use 3D printing machinery, a full spectrum laser, a desktop 3D CNC carving machine, a Cricut Maker for cutting multiple types of materials, the sewing center, and other embroidery and crochet materials. Due to COVID-19, the Innovation studio is currently reserved by appointment only. Email innovationstudio@xula.edu to set up an appointment or discuss projects and ideas. 

Soon, Xavier students will also be able to participate in programming and activities hosted by SASO in the library. SASO has plans to provide tutors and peer mentors to assist students on campus. 

“We have plans for offering additional advising sessions, building our partnership with the library, extending academic services, and more,” said Dr. Nathaniel Holmes, Assistant Provost for Student Success. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida caused a temporary staff shortage for the library, but Hampton is confident that an expanded, convenient and synchronized schedule will soon be available for all the services offered at the library. 

“Everyone is so student-focused,” said Hampton. “During the meetings [that we discussed these changes] everyone just kept bringing it back to ‘how can we best help our students.’”

To learn more about all the new services and upcoming programs, stop by the library during its open house on Friday, October 15, from 10-4 p.m.