Allan Hancock College

Streamlining the Content Acquisition Process and Expanding Digital Reserves

Ensured equity of resource access for all students

Enabled more content options for faculty and staff

Eliminated manual digitization of chapters

Allan Hancock College is a California public community college located in northern Santa Barbara County. The college is ranked as one of the five best community colleges in California and one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation. Approximately 11,500 credit students enroll each semester at one of the college's four locations in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Ynez Valley, or at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The college offers degrees and certificates in more than 100 areas of study. Over 98 percent of its students come from the local area.

Challenges

Allan Hancock College’s (AHC) library print reserves consist heavily of donations from the bookstore, students, and faculty. Though the library works with individual faculty and departments to obtain book lists, the content acquisition process was not effectively streamlined due to the inconsistency of donations and funding. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, AHC’s physical campuses closed, and the need for digital reserves was pressing. Overnight, students were no longer able to access reserve content. Initially using a traditional digital content provider, which provided free access to ebooks as a limited-time service at the beginning of the pandemic, the library reserves went fully digital in the spring 2020 semester. Students got a taste of digital reserve access, and when the provider’s offer expired, student demand for digital access did not. However, the traditional digital content provider did not offer a library model as part of their normal offerings, leading the library on a hunt for another digital solution.

Additionally, equity of access remained a priority for the library. Pre-COVID, the library opened its doors until 10 pm, seven days a week, allowing students to access reserves when their schedules permitted. However, when COVID-19 forced the library doors closed, students who relied on long library hours and print reserves, such as distance learning, part-time, and non-resident students, were left in the lurch. AHC needed a digital solution that all students could access.

“Digital access to library reserves is something that students have come to expect.” - Susie Kopecky

Solution

Susie Kopecky, Library Coordinator, and Associate Professor/Librarian, stated that the pandemic showed the library staff just how much they were capable of doing to provide digital and print reserves access to their students. 

When evaluating solutions, AHC prioritized user experience, accessibility, and availability of content. The library chose BibliU’s learning enablement solution because it provides an easily accessible, aesthetically straightforward platform with an excellent user experience, accessibility features that exceed ADA standards, and an arsenal of available content from over 2,000 publishers. 

Using BibliU’s On-Demand Learning model, AHC’s library reserves are no longer restricted solely to the print donations they receive from faculty and students. While the library also offers a robust print textbook collection, the library can also now provide digital reserves at no cost to the students, alleviating any financial pressure they may feel about purchasing textbooks that don’t fit into their budgets. The library actively works with faculty to identify e-textbooks offered through BibliU so that every student has access to required course materials. Students can access digital content whenever it’s convenient for them, either online or by downloading content to their device with no time or location restrictions.

Results

With BibliU, the AHC library has streamlined its content acquisition process and expanded its online presence. Regardless of whether they are back on campus, remote, or financially restricted, every student has access to the same library reserves. For those students who are awaiting financial aid to purchase textbooks and need access to content, BibliU provides information on-demand and gives students access to the required content on the first day of class so that they don’t fall behind. 

AHC now has both digital and print course reserves for students, allowing a more comprehensive range of options to faculty as they plan their courses before each semester. Furthermore, digital access to the reserves is something Susie Kopecky says that students have come to expect. 

Transitioning to digital reserves via BibliU’s learning enablement platform has eliminated the need to manually digitize chapters, helping AHC avoid potential copyright issues and freeing up time that the faculty and staff can use to focus on other initiatives.

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