By Cailean Mcleod
Students often need class materials that they do not have, and the Whatcom Community College Library has established programs to help.
Programs at the library, located in the Heiner Center, are aimed at helping students gather the resources required to complete assignments.
Whatcom Library’s Circulation Manager, Linda Compton-Smith, said that the Learning Center has partnered with the library to extend their hours. Currently, library-based tutors are available from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and noon-4 p.m. on Saturday.
With extended library hours, students have more opportunities to get in touch with tutors who help with homework and studying.
“We have expanded our hours during the quarter breaks,” said Compton-Smith.
Compton-Smith mentioned the Whatcom Libraries Collaborate, where students can borrow and return materials from any participating library in the county, including college libraries, so long as they have a student I.D. card or public library card.
“Any book from any library can be returned to our book returns, which saves our students time and travel,” said Compton-Smith.
The Whatcom Libraries Collaborate includes all branches of the Whatcom Library System, Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Technical College library, Northwest Indian College library, Western Washington University library, and Whatcom Community College library.
“It is a collaborative agreement that allows our students to use the facilities of the other libraries in Whatcom County,” said Library Director Howard Fuller.
Compton-Smith explained that the collaborative agreement opens the door to many different resources and opportunities in the greater Whatcom community.
The library’s already established services will also be continuing this year.
“We continue to offer other services including helping with homework, helping with issues of plagiarism and citations,” said Fuller.
Fuller referred to the library press webpage, which contains a myriad of free downloadable texts from Whatcom’s instructors. Examples include, English teacher Amanda Martin’s sci-fi and fantasy anthology, Information Science teacher Rowena McKernan’s WordPress faculty tutorials, and also nursing faculty Shannon Dunn’s and Annette Flanders’s Advanced Care Navigation texts.
The webpage to access these and other Open Education Resources is located on Whatcom library’s website, which is accessible from Whatcom’s homepage.
“We are always into helping students save money,” said Compton-Smith.
Fuller said that students can also check out textbooks for three weeks and calculators for one quarter. However, the calculators are for students currently enrolled in math classes.
In addition, students can check out CDs for three weeks and DVDs for three days, as well as flash drives and cameras.
Compton-Smith said the interlibrary loan system is a means which libraries use to get materials for people, if they do not have specific materials on hand.
“If we do not own a book that we need, we can request it through our interlibrary loan system via the library’s website,” said Compton-Smith.
Fuller said anything in physical form can be requested through an interlibrary loan, from books to DVDs and CDs. Fuller said that requests usually arrive within an average of five days to a week.
“You can have your loan request delivered here and can return it here too,” said Compton-Smith.
Whatcom County Library System distribution assistant Mike Kusick explained that each library uses a system called the Online Computer Library Center to receive and place requests for materials from other libraries.
“Essentially, every library in the country does this,” said Fuller.
“We see requests from anywhere in the world. I’ve sent items to Canada, Denmark, England, Thailand, and Hungary. We’ve received things from Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. We mostly see requests from other libraries in the United States,” said Kusick.
In addition to the library providing its own resources for students to use, Reference Librarian and Information Science teacher Margret Bikman’s Library 194A class, “Special Topics in Research,” teaches students how to more effectively use the library’s databases to search for and use materials provided.
“The main thing that I want students to do is to think critically,” said Bikman.
Library 194A is currently closed for enrollment, but limited enrollment is offered every quarter for one credit, excluding the summer quarter.
“The class makes it easier for students to find appropriate sources for research projects,” said Bikman.
Library hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and closed on Sunday.