Berkeley College Library Services Pave the Way for Student, Faculty and Librarian Success in Innovative Virtual Environment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-200-1100
igl@BerkeleyCollege.edu
BERKELEY COLLEGE LIBRARY SERVICES PAVE THE WAY FOR STUDENT, FACULTY AND LIBRARIAN SUCCESS IN INNOVATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT
Senior Director of Online Library and Technology Services Inspires Virtual Poster Session for Professional Development
Mat LeBrake's opening slide -virtual libary services

@acrl_dls  #NewsBerkeley 

Long before the COVID-19 outbreak was ever on our radar screen, Matthew LaBrake, Berkeley College Senior Director, Online Library and Technology Services, was thinking about the other screens facing Berkeley College students and faculty. An innovator by nature, he began the Berkeley College Online Book Club, offering book discussions and livestreamed author Q&A events to students. Whether for the Berkeley College community or beyond, LaBrake is an advocate for the importance of virtual library resources and services to drive student success. As Co-Chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries Distance Learning Section Instruction Committee, he looks forward to the second annual Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session, where 35 poster submissions about teaching and learning online will be hosted. During the week of April 13 to 17, 2020, presenters will be available to respond to comments on their posters and answer questions.

 “Over the last month, COVID-19 has forced the world to embrace distance learning, whether we were ready or not,” LaBrake said. “At Berkeley we were already operating in that space since our philosophy is to ensure that distance learners receive the same level of services and support as their on-site peers. Our innovation in this area is recognized nationally, and the Berkeley College Library is well prepared to support all our students virtually.  

Matt LeBrake's four points presentation slide

U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. LaBrake presented his findings at the International Library Innovation Conference in London in October 2019, and is scheduled to present “Virtual Support Services for Online Students: Embedding the Library at Point-of-Need,” at the Teaching, Colleges & Community Worldwide Online Conference, April 14 to 16, 2020.

In his remarks, LaBrake looks to the future of on-line teaching and learning in four key areas: virtual reference, electronic collections, embedded instruction and the on-line community. “Virtual reference ensures on-line students globally can obtain effective support from a librarian, no matter their location or time zone,” said LaBrake. “On-line support services are even more important during this unprecedented time where all of our onsite students are receiving instruction remotely.” Library services at Berkeley College include support via live chat, email, phone or text messaging. Students can also make virtual research appointments or stop by our Drop-In Zoom Room for face-to-face support with screensharing. 

Matt LeBrake's handheld device presentation slide

Images courtesy of Matthew LaBrake

LaBrake also remarks on the importance of librarians collaborating with faculty to ensure learning-outcome aligned information literacy instruction is occurring in the on-line environment. “The library website and electronic collections are available at point-of-need in the College’s learning management system, and we’ve created a variety of video tutorials and interactive learning objects showing students how to use our resources. Librarians are frequently enrolled into on-line courses in Canvas to embed resources and facilitate discussion boards.”

As the student population develops even greater expectations of on-demand support, LaBrake predicts that artificially intelligent Chatbots will be used as a cost-effective means to answer repetitive reference questions, freeing up time for librarians to focus on more in-depth research inquiries. Don’t be surprised if your next home voice assistant, too, will help you with real-time library support.


photo-Matt LeBrake
About Matthew LaBrake, MSLIS
Matt LaBrake, Berkeley College Senior Director, Online Library and Technology Services, provides leadership and vision for all aspects of distance learning library services. He also works across six physical campuses and Berkeley College Online in the exploration and integration of new and emerging technologies for teaching and learning. LaBrake serves nationally as Co-Chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries Distance Library Section Instruction Committee, creating professional development opportunities for distance librarians. He presents internationally on topics related to distance learning, library services, instructional design and educational technology.

About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, as well as in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 5,700 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.

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