Best Practices: Use LibGuides to Connect with your Region

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Kentucky Regional Coordinator Margo Hamm needed to find a way to connect the 21 chapters in her region to boost participation in the regional Honors in Action project. Not an easy feat, as the driving time from one end of the state to the other is about 10 hours.

Kentucky Regional Coordinator Margo Hamm

Hamm, associate dean of Library and Learning Resources in the Learning Commons at Somerset Community College’s North Campus, turned to LibGuides, the most widely used system for creating research guides and sharing knowledge. LibGuides was developed by Springshare, a company that develops web-based applications specifically for libraries and educational institutions.

Using LibGuides, Hamm and her officer team were able to create a webpage to house regional contact information, goals and, of course, the Regional Honors in Action Project. A calendar is included so members can keep up with important dates and deadlines.

Once established, the link is distributed to the chapters in her region, giving open access to and interaction with chapters who might not otherwise participate on a regional level. The Kentucky Region first utilized LibGuides for its Honors in Action Project during the 2012-13 academic year and saw its participation numbers jump.

“Our goal was to have 10 chapters participate in Honors in Action, and we ended up having 15,” Hamm said. “That’s many more than in the past.

“Having that benefit of being able to connect with students not on campus is a great reason to utilize technology like this.”

Many colleges already use LibGuides for course and research guides. Hamm said that of the 16 colleges in her region, 10 already had a subscription to the tool and were using it regularly. But even if their college doesn’t subscribe to the service, students can still access the regional site.

A LibGuide is also a great tool for chapters. Chapters at Harrisburg Area Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Tarrant County College, Palm Beach State College and James Sprunt Community College, among others, use LibGuides as a “journal” to house research, share information and track progress on Honors in Action Projects.

Judith Ungar, advisor to the Alpha Nu Omega Chapter at Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania, established a LibGuide site for her chapter when the Webmaster resigned in the fall of 2012, leaving no one to update the chapter’s website. It contained such items as meeting times and minutes, chapter bylaws and the chapter constitution. It also served as a way to stay in touch with the other Phi Theta Kappa chapters at her college.

“Our college has five campuses, and each campus has an active group, so it is very easy to upload event announcements into the guide,” Ungar said. “The LibGuide helped the students be more responsible and saved me time in my workday. I also think it allowed more students to feel like a part of our chapter.”

The chapter is launching its new website this fall, but Ungar still sees a use for the LibGuide.

“I am now thinking of retooling the LibGuide to become more research-based to help the chapter with our College Project and Honors in Action Project,” she said.

The Alpha Theta Phi Chapter at LaGuardia Community College in New York recently established a LibGuide site for its chapter. Advisors researched other chapters’ sites and reached out to advisors with similar guides.

“It has provided a good online location for a starting point for our chapter,” Alpha Theta Phi co-advisor Ann Matsuuchi said.