Welcoming Everyone Back To The Library While Staying Safe And Healthy This Fall

With public health restrictions in Alberta recently lifted, the MHC Library is ready to welcome back students, faculty, and staff at full capacity.

So what will the Library space look like this fall?

Image by lil_foot from Pixabay

With capacity limits no longer in place, the Library has 321 seats available, including solo and group study spaces, as well as group study rooms which can be booked in advance for up to 2 hours a day.

Physical distancing and masks are recommended, but not required, and it is still important to stay home if you are sick and to to go through the Covid-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist before heading out for the day. There will be additional cleaning in high-traffic areas at 2pm each day to ensure everyone’s safety.

Image by Alexandra Koch from Pixabay

Printing And Paying Fines

You can self-load your print account using the printer credit icon on the drop-in computers across campus, using a credit card or debit-credit card. The Library also takes cash at the front desk for on-campus printing. You can also pay Library fees online when using debit or credit, or choose the option of paying in cash at the front desk.

Image by Varun Kulkarni from Pixabay

Drop-In Computers, Computer Lab, And Technology Assistance

The drop-in computers and the computer lab will be open and available during the Library’s operating hours. If you require technical help on the computers, we ask that you maintain physical distancing and prefer if you wear a mask, although it is not required. We have virtual options to receive help should you be unable to wear a mask or maintain physical distance.

What Will Borrowing Library Materials Look This Year?

Our stacks will be open this fall, and you will be free to browse the shelves for physical items such as books, DVD’s and curriculum collection items. You can use your student ID card to access thousands of books, magazines, videos, journal articles, and more, both online and in print. Register for your Library account to check what items you have borrowed, re-new your materials, request holds, and double-check your due dates. The self-service hold shelf will still be operational during Library hours, and will be located just inside the entrance to the Library.

If you do not want to browse the shelves for materials in-person, you can still browse the stacks virtually. In our online catalogue, every physical item has a button labeled “browse the shelf” that allows you to see what is available on nearby shelves.

Library will be lending laptops, calculators, and other items that were not available during the last academic year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Getting/Validating Your Student ID

You can request your virtual student ID through your student dashboard, or you can acquire a physical card in person at the front desk in the Library, just be sure to bring government picture ID to verify your identity. For returning students, validation stickers for the current academic year can be obtained at the front desk in the Library.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

What If I Need Research Or Citation Assistance This Year?

Both in-person and online research and citation assistance will be available this fall. In-person reference assistance will be available at the front desk of the Library. Please check the website for operational reference hours. You can also book an online research or reference appointment at your convenience by clicking here.

Also be sure to check out the Library’s research guides for help completing your assignments, papers, and exams.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

When Is The Library Open?

Both the Vera Bracken Library (Medicine Hat Campus) and Brooks Campus Library are open year round. Hours change over the year, with reduced hours in spring and summer. Check out the Library website for Hours of Operation. Visit us in B-Wing at the Medicine Hat Campus and to the right of the main entrance at our Brooks Campus.

Call: 403.529.3867 (Toll free: 1.866.282.8394)

Email: circulation@mhc.ab.ca

IM: visit www.mhc.ab.ca/library

Text: 587.333.2766

Time for Brew Monday! Get your tea steeping and your connection ready!

For those of you who have never heard of Blue Monday, it is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, occurring on the third Monday in January. What a lot of people don’t know about Blue Monday is that the man who coined the term, and did the research to narrow down this exact date, never intended for the day to become negative. It was actually identified with the intention to encourage people to take the time to find the positives in the “gloomiest day of the year” and remember that the beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to begin other things too; it’s an opportunity for change and fresh starts (Peat, 2018).

(Altman, 2018)

We all know 2020 was a weird year. And 2021 is off to an odd start too- but I promise I’m not here to tell you these are “unprecedented times.” You know they are, you’re living them! I AM here to tell you that just because things are strange right now, different from what we have come to expect out of our day-to-day, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the college experience of community… it just means we have an opportunity to get a bit creative in how we enjoy these experiences. And what better time to get creative in finding a little spot of happy than Blue Monday?

Since we can’t enjoy the fresh beginning of meeting new people around campus the way we could other years we are bringing it online with “Brew Monday”.

“Brew Monday” is a play on the term “Blue Monday”, which occurs on January 18th this year. It is a chance to connect MHC students with each other! And maybe an excuse to drink more tea/coffee… (haha- BREW Monday, get it?)

(Stokpic, 2014)

Sooooo… what exactly happens? On Monday, January 18, from 11 AM – 2 PM, virtual rooms will be set up via Blackboard Collaborate, each dedicated to a special interest or topic. All you need to do is find access to a computer or laptop with webcam and microphone capabilities where you can open Blackboard Collaborate. Then make your favourite tea or coffee, and come back here to the Chapter One Blog! A list of topics and meeting rooms will be posted and you can select your connection!

Together let’s make Blue Monday a little less blue 😊 and all about creating more connections! We hope to see you there! Find your connection points and times below!

JANUARY 18 @TOPICS & INTERESTS
11:00AM-NOONMature Student Experience And Parenting
NOON-12:30PMBaking! Because Who Doesn’t Love Food!
NOON-1:00PMCatching Up With All Things True Crime
NOON-1:00PMFinding New Worlds To Explore In Books And Movies
1:00PM-2:00PMDogs, Dogs, And More Dogs! Bring Your Dog!
1:00PM-2:00PMGet Lost In The Fun Of Board Games And Card Games
1:00PM-2:00PMPositivity, Focus, And Making Your Beveridge Work For YOU!

References

Altman, G. (2018, March 24). Time for Change. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/change-new-beginning-risk-road-3256330/

Peat, J. (2018, January 5). Man who coined the term ‘Blue Monday’ apologises for making January more depressing. Retrieved from Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/blue-monday-apology-depressing-january-misey-money-disposable-income-psychology-dr-cliff-arnall-a8143246.html

Stokpic. (2014, October 24). Woman Drinking Coffee. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-drinking-coffee-person-601568/

ELF INVASION: Read and Paige take over the Library!

Picture taken from @mhclibrary on Instagram

Happy holidays everybody!

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!

Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Nadi Lindsay on Pexels.com

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!

Love,
Read & Paige

Photo by Lena Khrupina on Pexels.com

#VETYOURSOURCES

#vetyoursouces is a campaign launched in the fall of 2020 by MHC Library to challenge our students to critically examine the content they’re viewing online. 2020 has moved so much of our social, work, and academic lives into the digital space, now more than ever, it’s important to evaluate the information we encounter online. 

Are you ready to critically evaluate your information sources? 

The Association for College and Research Libraries (2016), encourages teaching that “information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used” (para. 8). Dependent upon the intended use of a piece of information, the source can be evaluated as both credible and not credible. For example, a scientific claim presented over Twitter by a Hollywood celebrity might not be considered a credible source if used in a paper examining that claim. However, that same source may be considered credible if you use it in a paper examining celebrity influence in science.

Fake News

Beyond finding a source suitable for inclusion in one of your course assignments, the same critical eye should be applied to your everyday consumption of information. A growing vocabulary of terms used to describe the inaccurate content you may come across online reinforces the growing need to be critical of what you read. Fake News is one of the many terms used to describe inaccurate information online, but what exactly is it? And, how do you spot it?

First, note that the term “fake news” characterizes the information landscape as either true or false, good or bad, verified or biased (Robinson & Gariepy, 2019). Just remember, the suggestion that there are simply two types of news; real and fake, doesn’t leave much room for nuance.

What kinds of fake news exist?

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category – for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not.   It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Fake News Libguide, by Indiana University East Campus Library, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

How to Spot Fake News, by The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Experts are available

MHC library staff are happy to help you #vetyoursources. You can contact us via email, chat, virtual drop-in or by booking an appointment.

References

Virtual Reference Services

If this isn’t your first year as an MHC student, you’ve likely become accustomed to stopping into the library for assistance with narrowing your research topic, finding an academic article, or citing your sources. All of these services are still available, albeit in a new format. For those of you 1st year MHC students, this is a service you want to make use of, the earlier in the semester, the better, and your grades will thank you.

So, how can you access research help?

Four different virtual formats are now available: chat, virtual drop-in, book an appointment and email. Take a look at the descriptions below to help you decide which format is best suited to your needs.

Chat Reference – This service is best for quick questions. The chat service is staffed from 8am – 8pm Monday – Thursday, and 8 am – 5pm Friday’s.

Virtual Drop-In – This service is best for immediate research assistance. Similar to what you would have received in-person from library staff in the past. No need to book a time, just drop in. Virtual Drop-in hours currently run from 11am – 3pm Monday – Friday.

Book an Appointment – This service is best for in-depth assignment specific support. Book an appointment in advance so you don’t need to wait. A library staff member can help you with research or citations. Appointments are available from 8am – 3pm Monday to Friday.

Reference Email – This service is best for questions that are not time sensitive. The reference email is staffed from 8am – 8pm Monday – Thursday, and 8 am – 5pm Friday’s.

Access virtual services at the bottom of the library home page.

Getting a Job: What You Need To Know.

With the end of the semester only a few weeks away, many students have turned their attention to what comes next: joining the workforce! We have seen many students in the last few weeks who are feeling anxious about this next step in their lives, while others have shared their concerns about all the headlines surrounding uncertainty in the labour market.

Feeling anxious and concerned about transitioning from student to employee is a normal part of the process as it involves change and the unknown. “What if I find a job, and hate it? Worse yet, what if I can’t find a job at all?” These are the type of questions we see students grappling with.

The first thing we remind students is that there are things within their control, and things outside of their control. We cannot control the global markets, economic conditions, the companies that are hiring, the number of jobseekers in the labour market, or the methods companies choose to advertise their job openings.

What we can control, however, is our response to the uncertainty. And the best way to navigate uncertainty is through preparedness. How are you going to make yourself stand out in a sea of job applicants with similar credentials or more experience? What can you do now to increase your chances of finding meaningful work? Preparing for your job search is well within your control so understanding what factors you need to consider is your first step.

The first factor within your control is your mindset. In a tight labour market, it can be easy to feel discouraged, deflated, and impatient with the process. Approaching your job search with positivity and being prepared to put in the effort and time to be successful will help. Every single job you apply to will require your very best effort. Every. Single. Application.

Why? Employers notice the amount of time you invested in crafting your resume/cover letter or preparing for an interview. The better prepared you are, the more appeal you will have to them because that in itself says something about your work ethic and interest in them as an employer. They want engaged employees who care about the quality of their work. Going into your job search with a positive mindset, attitude, and willingness to invest the time and effort to produce a high quality application, will set the foundation for success.

The second factor within your control is getting to know yourself. Many students laugh when we say this to them, but how much time have you honestly invested in thinking about your skills, abilities, and competencies so that you can make them relevant to different contexts? According to job search website, Glassdoor, “on average, corporate job openings attract between 100 – 250 resumes. But only 4 – 6 of those applicants will be called for an interview, and only 1 will be offered a job” (Economy, 2015).  And based on a survey conducted by LinkedIn, employers will only spend 6 seconds to initially review your resume (Friedman, 2017). So out of 250 resumes sent to an employer, and a 6-second look at each, which resumes will stand out? The ones that quickly, concisely, and clearly relate their skills, abilities, and competencies to the specific job. It is not up to the employer to determine from your resume IF your skills will fit. It is up to you, the jobseeker, to tell them EXACTLY how they fit. So back to the original question….how much time have you honestly invested in thinking about your skills, abilities, and competencies so that you can make them relevant to different contexts? When students answer this question honestly, the vast majority say hardly ever. Yet this is a critical part of your job search. It helps you to identify where you would be a good fit, why you would be a good fit, and guides you in preparing a good resume and interview.

The third factor within your control is research. Benjamin Franklin said “an investment in knowledge, pays the best interest”. The more you know about a company, the more you know about yourself, and how this knowledge intersects will be beneficial to both you and the company. When conducting research, review the employer’s website – what are their values, what keywords are common, what can you ascertain from this information to determine how you would be a good fit? When you find a job ad, look once again for the keywords – what qualifications and skills do they mention? What is important to them in a job candidate? Then use this information to tailor your resume and cover letter to match their needs. 

Which brings us to the next factor within your control: Self-Marketing. Self-marketing is how you describe and differentiate yourself to others. When you see ads for products, the companies want to highlight a certain image of their brand to entice you to buy it. In self-marketing, you are the brand, and the image you convey should appeal to employers to entice them to meet you for an interview. Your resume, cover letter, portfolio, email content, social media pages, and interview are modes of self-marketing. What message are you conveying to others?

Your cover letter, resume, and portfolio each serve specific purposes within a job search. A cover letter introduces you to an employer and provides specific details as to what job you are applying to and why you are a good fit for the organization. The resume is an overview or ‘evidence’ of the skills, experiences, and education that you have to meet their unique needs. A portfolio provides further support and proof to back up what you are telling them. We like to compare these three documents to a movie trailer. It provides just enough information to capture the interest of the viewer and encourage them to want to see the feature presentation (which in this case, would be you, for an interview).

The most important thing to remember when writing resumes and cover letters, is to create them from the employers’ perspective. Everything in these documents should tell the employer what’s in it for them? What will they get, and how will they benefit, from hiring you? Every skill you mention, every educational experience, and work experience you highlight should be written in a manner that makes it relevant to their job, company, and industry. For example, if you have worked in food services for the past 5 years, but you are applying to a job in human services, how can you connect the experience to what the employer needs? You don’t want to just list the tasks you performed working in food services, and expect the employer to consider how those tasks have prepared you for a human services role. You make it relevant to the employer by focusing on the transferable skills gained and describing how you would use them in the new position. Instead of saying “Took food and beverage orders and served to customers” on your resume, focus on the transferable skill, which in this case would be customer service and interpersonal skills. Instead, you could say “Provided professional and respectful customer service while utilizing strong interpersonal skills to establish a positive rapport with clients”. The first example lists duties, whereas the second example highlights the skills gained through the performance of those duties, but in a way that is beneficial in the human services environment.

When emailing or communicating with employers, use professional terminology and proper business etiquette. Do not just email an attachment to an employer, without stating in the email what your purpose of contacting them is. Employers will judge your communication skills based on how you email and contact them, so make a good impression. They may also judge you based on your social media image so ensure you know what your social media accounts are saying about you. In fact, around 3 out of 4 employers state they will use your social media pages to learn more about you in order to gauge whether they want to interview you (Ranosa, 2019). Things that get you disqualified from the running include inappropriate videos, photos or GIFs, information regarding substance use, discrimatory comments, poor communication, bad mouthing companies/employers, etc. Many employers feel your email and social media provide clues on how you will interact with their customers, and whether your image/behaviours will reflect positively or negatively on them as an employer.

The last mode for self-marketing to talk about is interviews. Prepare for an interview by reviewing the job ad and company website to refresh in your mind what they are looking for in a candidate and what is important to them as a company. Be sure to practice answering typical interview questions ahead of time so that the answers will come more naturally to you in an actual interview. Your answers should include examples from past experiences (work, school, volunteer, life in general) that support the skills, competencies, and knowledge you are trying to emphasize. The more relevant examples you have to back up what you say, the stronger your interview will come across. During an interview, try to be aware of your non-verbal cues as well. Constant fidgeting or use of filler words (‘um’, ‘like’ etc) often indicate a lack of confidence. In order to convince an employer that you are the best fit for the job, you need to speak with conviction and demonstrate that you are confident in your ability to fill this role. If you are not convinced, how can they be?

Finally, the last factor we will discuss is support. Before you begin your job search, reach out to the Student Employment and Career Centre. We offer free services to all students and alumni in creating a job search plan, resume and cover letter development, portfolio creation, interview tips, interest and personality assessments, career advising and more. We have numerous tools to support you in your job search ranging from handouts, job posting boards, employer networking events, and career-related software that you can access from home, as well as in-person consultations. For more information, or to arrange an appointment, please call the Advising desk at 403-529-3819. Until then, we wish you all the best in all your new endeavors!

Sources:

Economy, P. (2015, May 5). 11 interesting hiring statistics you should know. Retrieved from Inc. This Morning: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/19-interesting-hiring-statistics-you-should-know.html

Friedman, A. (2017, February 16). 6 seconds is the average time spent reading a resume. Retrieved from LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/six-seconds-average-time-spent-reading-resume-andrew-j-friedman

Ranosa, R. (2019, October 29). How recruiters check for red flags on social media. Retrieved from Human Resources Director: https://www.hcamag.com/ca/specialization/hr-technology/how-recruiters-check-for-red-flags-on-social-media/189897

Library Gadgets from the Multimedia Zone

You probably know the basics of the library: you can sign out books, you can find a spot to study, you can use the drop-in computers… but did you also know that there is a whole world of multimedia gadgets accessible to you, as a student, with your library card?

What you are about to read is by-no-means a complete list of some of the fun and useful items available for you to sign out at our service desk.

You have now entered… The Multimedia Zone!

Phone Chargers

We’ll admit it. When our phone’s battery is low we get a little freaked out. The laws of the universe clearly state that your phone must die at precisely the moment that is most inconvenient to you. Maybe you’re waiting to hear back about a job interview. Maybe you’re watching the last two minutes of your favourite TV show. Maybe you’ve just told your crush that you’re in love with them and they’ve left you on read. Whatever the reason, your phone will run out of battery in that moment. It’s just a harsh reality.

But at the library, we can help! We have phone chargers of all types available for 4-hour loan periods, allowing you to extend the life of your phone’s battery at least enough for you to get the closure you need.

Photo by Will Porada on Unsplash

Flash Drives

When it comes to final projects, losing your files is the last thing you want to happen. Yes, you saved your stuff on the “Z” drive. Sure, you probably emailed yourself a copy. But what happens when the internet goes down and you can’t access your email? What will you do?!

Avoid this terrifying scenario by signing out one of the flash drives from the library multimedia desk. You can keep it for 24-hours, and know that your files will stay with you wherever you go.

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The Vera Bracken Library:

Spacious and comfortable? Yes!

Staffed with friendly library workers who love to help students? You bet!

A tranquil chamber of silence and solitude? Ummm… not always.

We LOVE the fact that students use the library to do group studying and big collaborative projects, but we know that sometimes you just need some peace and quiet. This is why we offer noise-cancelling headphones, available to sign out at the library multimedia desk! You can borrow these headphones for up to four hours whenever you need a break from the clamor.

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

Microphones

Testing 1-2. Check. Check.

Microphone on your laptop not working? Need to borrow a handheld for your next club meeting? The library multimedia desk has you covered with microphones of all types, available for you to borrow. Just don’t forget your library card!

Photo by Forja2 Mx on Unsplash

Sewing Machine

You have now reached the weirder part of the list, featuring a couple of items you probably wouldn’t have guessed you could sign out from the library. Imagine yourself with a hole in your favourite pair of jeans or a broken strap on your backpack. What will you do? You didn’t bring a sewing machine with you to college. Who brings a sewing machine to college? [Okay, the author of this blog post totally did bring a sewing machine to college, but that’s irrelevant and beside the point.] The point is: you can sign out a sewing machine from the library!! How cool is that? Sign it out and fix your broken stuff or sew matching pyjamas for you and all of your roommates. Get creative (literally)!

Photo by Juan Jose Porta on Unsplash

Electronic Keyboard

There is a quote by Albert Schweitzer that I love:

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

Now, I don’t mean to say that midterm exams are “miseries” exactly, but let’s be honest. A refuge from midterms would be nice. Unfortunately you can’t have cats in your dorm, but you can have music! In fact, you can make your own music with a keyboard signed out from the library. We even have books to get you started if you want to learn to play! Come sign it out and begin your new life as a rock/pop/EDM/classical virtuoso.

Photo by Martin Hexeberg on Unsplash

Were you surprised by any of these? Have any suggestions for other neat things you’d like to see offered by the library? Let us know at the desk, and come check some of our cool gadgets out!

Open Education Week 2020

This year, Open Education Week is March 2-6. Over 6450 participants across 123 countries contributed to Open Education Week in 2019.  Celebrate this year by checking out one of the many free online events being hosted by institutions around the world.

Open educational resources are meant to make education more accessible and reduce potential barriers to education caused by cost and accessibility. Open education can be delivered in a variety of ways, including open and accessible online courses, open and free digitized textbooks, or openly licensed materials that can be found online (like images, infographics, and other media) that can be used in assignments and classes.

Many instructors at MHC have already adopted open textbooks and material for use in their classes; this could take the form of a printed book available in the bookstore or a pdf or link on your course’s blackboard page.

If you want to find out more about OER, how it’s used at MHC, and where to find more resources, check out the Library’s Open Educational Resource Guide.