A Medicine Hat College Library Services Blog. The resource to help you along your path.
Hi there! I'm a Library Assistant 1 within Medicine Hat College. I love helping students find new resources to help them with their studies! At work, you can usually find me at the Library Services desk or decorating the space. On my own time, I love to read fantasy and poetry, and I've recently fallen in love with refurbishing antique furniture.
My name is Read, and I’m one of the resident elves that come around the Library during the winter season! Normally we don’t hang around the front desk computers too much, because we don’t have any of the log in information, but one of the library assistants left their computer on! Paige told me I shouldn’t be touching anything, but I couldn’t help but notice that this blog didn’t have any elf related posts! (Paige said I can write a post only if it’s educational and won’t get the person who left their computer on in trouble–she’s just out to ruin all my fun!)
As you already know, the holiday season is looking a bit different this year, so Paige and I decided to scrap our holiday trip plans and stay nice and settled here at home in the Library! It’s been very cheery, but we didn’t come to that decision alone! Let me tell you all about how the librarians helped us out!
First, we “fell”–get it? Snowfall?–into the virtual drop-in to ask for help on how to use the Library Database. We ended up finding a super fun issue of Canadian Geographic on Flipster! (I may have found some fun magazines on Christmas craft time too!) Then, we made sure to browse around on Criterion through the Library Database, watching lots of winter movies like Home Alone and The Polar Express! It was how we originally decided to stay in Alberta and just have a great time here! But as with almost everything this year, we rethought our plan and decided we should wait. Staying safe and warm this winter is our top priority, so we’re actually going to snuggle in under some blankets, drink lots of hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream and sprinkles, and listen to some great tunes!
We couldn’t decide on where we should travel when travel is allowed, but we’ve narrowed it down to some places here in Southern Alberta–Elkwater and Cypress Hills for sure, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and Crowsnest Pass! We even have some great books here in the Library about them: be sure to take a look for them on the online catalog, place a hold on them, and pick them up with the self service hold shelf process once it is back in the New Year! You can find information on how to use that in the “Using Your Library Account: A Quick Start Guide“ post on this blog! Paige says that the call numbers for the books usually start with FC or G. When the Library reopens, you can also take a look at the fun winter wonderland display at the front counter! Lots of books about places and cities in Canada, and obviously, Alberta!
Happy holidays from the Library elves! We hope you’ll tune into the Library Instagram account @mhclibrary to see all of our adventures! You can also scroll through and see what fun we got into last year!
2020 has certainly sent us into a learning curve when it comes to online learning and technology. Between all of the different technologies that somehow went from unknown to a household staple of day-to-day life, it can be difficult to figure out where things might be and how to get to certain classes, resources or assignments. Don’t fear–that’s what this blog post is for! Lets take a small, text-based tour of some of the most used — and most useful — technologies and
programs that you may need to use for the rest of upcoming winter semester. This includes Blackboard, Flipster, Kanopy, Criterion, Statista, and Microsoft Teams (though there are plenty of others to explore beyond this as well).
Blackboard is a tool that MHC has been using for many years, and is the hub for many of the classes that are being held online this year. It’s a great place for all classes, regardless of size or topic. Blackboard supports many different file types as well, which means teachers, students, and faculty can easily upload PDF files, DOC files, Powerpoint presentations. Even spreadsheets!
To sign into Blackboard, all you need to do is to go to the main page of the MHC website, and right at the top, click the "Blackboard" tab. It will then bring you to a sign in page where you will need to input your username and password. Note: this username and password is the one that was given to you from MHC and will be the same across both your Blackboard and student webmail/email. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll see some tabs at the top. You can find your "Courses" here, as well as any other "Institution" notifications or "Announcements." On the side, there are many additional tools there for you to use, such as "Tasks" or "My Grades." Within the organizational structure, you can see exactly which courses you are taking and what they have in them simply by clicking. There are even "Discussion Boards" for learners and teachers to collaborate and work together on specific questions or answers that may need to be expanded.
Doing Assessments or Assignments from Blackboard is also very easy, and each instructor will indicate how they would prefer each assignment or assessment to be done. Some can be taken right on Blackboard, and all you need to do is click the link, click the "Begin" button, and go through and answer all of the questions. Remember to save each answer you have finished by pressing the button on the top or bottom of the page, and when you are finished, make sure to press the "Save All Answers" button to make sure your answers have been saved and sent to your instructor correctly!
If you are having issues or problems, here is a link straight from MHC to help!
Kanopy is a streaming service that the Library uses to help with research material, class material, and even just for personal use. You can "enjoy critically-acclaimed
movies, inspiring documentaries, awarding-winning foreign films and more" (Kanopy, found at https://www.kanopy.com, 2019) from the comfort of your own home. Movies range
in topics and genres, such as Lolita, My Friend Dahmer, and even Where the Red Fern Grows. You can get to Kanopy in one of two ways: through the internet, or through our
Research Database List.
From the internet: just Google the name! Once you get to the main page of the website, you will be asked to pick your university/college, and if you are off campus, you will need to enter your 14-digit Student Barcode. Once you have done both of those things, you are free to scroll through the hundreds of movies to help with research, or just for fun!
From The Research Database List: Go to the Library Website homepage, and right below the search bar, you can see a link that reads "Research Databases List A-Z." Click on that, and it will bring you to an entire list of all of the databases that learners, faculty, and staff, have access to through MHC! You can scroll until you find Kanopy, and then follow the instructions above!
Criterion is another streaming service that can be used. Unlike Kanopy, the easiest way to get to Criterion is through the Research Database List, but once you are there,
the possibilities are endless! You can search by genre, by keywords, and even by title, to find the movie you are specifically looking for. There’s a bit of everything for everyone, including action, crime, and even musical movies. Once you have located the movie of your choice, you just need to "sign in" with your Student Barcode. It will verify that you are an active learner with MHC and then allow you to watch the movie.
Flipster is a digital service that the Library uses in order to bring learners, staff and faculty one of the best sources for online magazines. They carry a wide variety
of magazines to suit any need or subject. Whether it’s finding specific articles for a research project, or perhaps looking up the newest article of an art magazine, Flipster is very easy to use and is integrated into our search function. Whether you use the search bar when you have signed into your Library Account, or you use the search bar that is right on the main page of the Library’s website, if the magazine or article that you are looking for is hosted by Flipster, all you will need to do is provide your Student Barcode and you’ll have unlimited access! If you are looking to just see what Flipster has to offer, you can also find it in the Research Database List using the instructions from above!
Another amazing tool that you can find through the Research Database List is Statista! After finding it in the list (and inputting your Student Barcode if you are not on campus) you have access to over one hundred industry facts, statistics, and insights from thousands of different sources on just about every topic you can think of. You can use the Statista search bar in order to find exactly what sort of topics or subjects you’re looking for statistics on. There are also great outlook sections, infographics, and even global surveys. There are trending subjects that are just below the search bar as well in case you are just looking for some interesting information on the events and topics that are currently at peak interest.
Microsoft Teams — in regards to online virtual meeting with Library Services — is very easy to use. All you’ll need is an internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone (or a headset if you are going to be taking the meeting in a loud setting.)
Once you have booked an appointment for Research or APA/MLA Citation, you will receive an email with the date, time, and person that will be supporting you virtually. In that email, there should be a "guest link" to the meeting. When it comes close to the meeting time, all you need to do is make sure that your technology is hooked up, click the link, and follow the prompts that Microsoft Teams gives you. Those prompts help ensure that your settings are correct and that everything is set up properly. With Microsoft Teams, you can easily speak with the person you are having the meeting with, as well as go as far as sharing your screen — this means that you will be able to easily show what you are working on and where you may need help with, instead of attempting to explain.
With those services and databases in mind for your next assignment, paper, or research project, you will have a much easier time ensuring that the rest of your school year is the best it can be!
As always, if you need help with any of the aforementioned technologies, you can always reach us at 403-529-3867, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! If we are unable to help, we’ll be more than happy to guide you to our IT Help Desk!
After creating a Library Account (or signing into your Library Account if you’ve already made one) you might start to feel overwhelmed or lost. How do you search for
something? How do you renew the items you already have out? How do you place items on hold? All of these processes are super easy once you know exactly what you’re looking for, and that’s what this post is for! Using the author of this blog post’s own Library account, we will walk through all of the most important functions you need to know. After you’re finished reading this, you’ll have clear instructions, and the knowledge, of how to use the Library exactly as you need it throughout the 2020 school year.
Searching for Items
Searching for items is the first thing you need to learn how to do. It’s how you will find all of your online resources, from books to articles to even movie streaming.
You can start this a couple of different ways, but the easiest way would be to sign into your Library Account and go from there!
Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be brought to your Account Page. This is a page that has all of your "Checked Out" items, as well as helpful tabs to tell you what you’ve "Requested" or put on hold; your "Fees", which tells you if you have any fines or overdue fees; "Saved Searches", which is a place where you can save your searches for a later date or that you will need again; and finally "Profile", which just has your basic contact information for overdue notification purposes.
On the Account Page there’s a search bar up at the top. You guessed it: this is were you can search for things. You can go by title, by author, and keyword. You can
also change some of the settings around to include different databases, or types of formats or articles. There’s also different settings to choose if you want just resources that MHC carries, or if you are looking for a resource that is from a different library world-wide. You can see the title of the resource, the year, what format it is (eBook, Print Book, eVideo, DVD, etc.) and whether or not it is available physically, available online, or it is on loan or on hold.
Now that you’ve found the item that you would like, you can click on the picture of it to get a better view of its details. You can "View Description" or even "Explore Editions and Formats." If there is an eVersion of the resource, you can easily click, use your barcode number to gain access, and start to read. If you’d like the physical copy of an item, you can even go a bit further down and place a hold on the item to ensure that it is ready to be picked up for you as soon as possible.
Placing a Hold
In order to place a hold, you just need to find the item that you want, and once you have found it, you click on the item and scroll down to "Check Availability." Under that section, there will be a blue button called "Request MHC Copy." This places the item on hold for you.
You will receive an email notification when the item has been checked out for you, you can then come and pick it up at our Self Service Shelves! These are located to the left of the entrance to the Library. Sometimes, a hold may not be available for pick up immediately because of new COVID-19 procedures–please keep checking your Account and within three days it will be ready for you. Make sure you bring your Virtual or Physical Student ID–you will need the last four digits on the barcode in order to find your holds!
Your holds will be signed out to you for the regular sign out time of 4 weeks. Remember to check your emails or account for the due dates!
Renewing Your Items
On the Account Page, you are able to see a clear list of your items that you have signed out, as well as how many days you have left with them. It also tells you the Due Date for the items. If you need to renew the items, you can use the check boxes beside the items (or the check box at the top of the page where it has a "Select All" function) and you can renew them for another 4 weeks. Reminder: you can only renew 2 times before you will have to bring the items back no matter what. Unfortunately, you are unable to renew items that have a hold put on them by another person, and they will need to be returned by the due date.
Browse the Shelf
When you are searching for items using the Library site, you actually have access to a function known as "Browse the Shelf." When you click it, it electronically brings up a small amount of books that would be located beside the item you are currently looking at as if you were physically browsing through the shelves! It’s a great tool to find items that are similar to the book that you are currently looking at, and is an easy way to expand your subject area when researching for essays, papers or assignments. It will feel like your out in the stacks, just like in years previous.
So you’ve found a few books or resources that look interesting, but they aren’t on the topic of your current assignment. You don’t want to lose them, and writing them down on a piece of paper might just not cut it. You can actually save your searches and resources, using the star icon and the "Save" function, so that you are able to log into your account at a later time and easily access all of your saved searches. It’s also a good way to keep track of your favorite searches, or ones that you always seem to come back to over and over again.
If you have any issues using any of the aspects of your Library Account, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-529-3867, email us at email@example.com, or social
distance and come up to the front desk of the Library. We will be more than happy to help!
With all of the changes that have been put in place at the Library, it’s pretty obvious that we have been shifting to an online learning environment. That being said, with the stacks being closed to students and e-Book requests on the rise, you may be asking yourself, “How do I even make a Library account to get access to all the online resources?” It’s super simple, and will allow you not only to renew and place holds on books online, but will allow you to access all the different streaming and e-Resources we have available for your classroom, and leisure, needs!
First, you’re going to need either your physical Student ID Card or your Virtual ID Card (either one is fine.) You’re going to look for your Barcode Number. Its 14-digits long, is at the bottom of the card, and it’s unique to you. The Barcode Number is your golden ticket to Library Account bliss.
Now, you’re going to head to the MHC Website found at and you’re going to click on the “Library” tab. Click on “Using the Library”, and then on that page you’re going to click on “Library Account.” This is where you’re going to choose the “ID Barcode and Library Password Sign-On” option.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ll see that you have a place to input your Library Barcode—this is where your Barcode Number goes!—and then a textbox to input a password. Wait. You haven’t made a Library Account yet, so how would you have a password? If it’s your first time signing on to the system, which we will assume it is, you’ll want to input whatever you would like your password to be, and then click “Set/Reset Password.” This will set your password, allowing you to log in. (If it is your second time, or more, you’ll just want to select “Sign In” because you’ve already set your password.)
Follow the prompts that it gives you. After a few more clicks, and opening your college email in order to validate the account, you are finished! You now have access to all of the items that you have already signed out, and you have a place where you can put a hold on items that you want to sign out!
Just like in person, you can renew your own items up to 2 times, but only if the items have not been put on a self hold by another student. You have access to all 15 of our online video streaming resources, such as Kanopy and Criterion. You can also use functions like "Check Availability" to ensure the book you’re looking for is ready for your to place a hold, or even "Browse the Shelf," which lets you look at the neighboring books that would be on the same shelf if you were out looking in the stacks.The possibilities are nearly endless!
If you run into issues creating your library account and need some help, all you have to do is come up to the front desk or give us a call at 403-529-3867; one of the lovely staff members there will be more than happy to assist you!