Mark Gottschalk is a librarian on a mission. His mission is to increase the value that the library provides to the South Plains College campus, located in Levelland, Texas. “My personal mission is to find ways to make the library a more used and integrated part of the college community,” Gottschalk said. By increasing usage of Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints in Context (OVIC), he’s been able to do just that.
Students at South Plains College struggled to get their hands on the library’s only hard copy of Opposing Viewpoints for their research papers. Many of them didn’t realize that the library had access to Opposing Viewpoint in Context, a digital database that includes tens of thousands of pro/con viewpoints, reference articles, and multimedia elements. Gottschalk set out to change that.
First, he found a way to meet students in a place they were used to going as a part of their normal coursework: Blackboard. Blackboard is a learning management system used campus-wide. Gottschalk found a few instructors who already loved OVIC and got them to see the benefit of integrating the digital database with Blackboard.
“Gale databases helped us bridge the gap,” Gottschalk says. “I like to show faculty the ‘why’ of why they should do something, which is more focused access for students and instructors.”
After getting buy-in from early-adopters, Gottschalk launched a guerrilla marketing campaign among campus instructors to spread awareness about the benefits of integrating OVIC with Blackboard. He also was able to make the integration a focal point at employee orientation.
Once students became aware of the unlimited access to OVIC, the integration of the database with Blackboard took flight. Usage of OVIC saw a 265% increase in sequential monthly usage in the first five months of the campaign. Overall usage of the library and its resources also increased, as a result of the campaign.
When students take advantage of the 24-hour access to library resources, they are better prepared for research papers, and become more information literate. Databases like Opposing Viewponts in Context also help build critical thinking skills by presenting students with arguments for and against topics in every discipline.