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Red River College Library Plans and Priorities 2020-2023


This document provides a detailed account of the work done to arrive at our plans and priorities for Library Services over the next three years. It has been many years since Library Services has undergone a planning process. This, combined with a merging of the Academic Success Center and Assessment Services with Library Services, was the main impetus for embarking on this visioning and planning process. The Library Plans and Priorities was developed within the context of the Red River College Strategic Plan 2016-2021.

"The services provided by the Library are incredibly resourceful."

- Student, Civil Engineering Tech

Library Services consists of the Library, Academic Success Centre and Assessment Services and consists of four key pillars of service: research, resources, academic supports and assessments. The Library staff serve the research and resource needs of students, faculty and staff, and provide support and resources for College curricula. In 2018 the Academic Success Centre and Assessment Services units joined Library Services, bringing a diverse array of new supports and points of student contact under the Library Service’s umbrella. These services include tutoring, language and learning strategy supports, diversity training and entrance testing services. This merge increased the reach and scope of the Library and provided fertile ground for envisioning a new service model and presence within the College.

“Great environment and lovely staff. The Library for life!”

- Student, Med Lab Sciences

The creation of the Plans and Priorities was based on a survey of Library Services staff (n=33), two interviews of senior administration, and three College staff/faculty focus groups (n=24). Working together with students and faculty is key to ensuring that we are able to deliver on the priorities outlined in this document.

The Library Plans and Priorities takes into account global library and academia trends and how technology will impact the services we provide today and in the future. A review of the literature identified a number of common trends:

  • Embracing new and emerging technologies to enhance learning
  • Adoption of open educational resources (OER)
  • Redesign of learning spaces
  • Measuring impact versus usage in Libraries
  • Emphasis on digital and information literacy skills
  • Focus on study and employability skills
  • Emphasis on personalized learning and student driven learning

Four key priorities emerged from stakeholder input and the review of the literature:

  1. Enhance the student experience and support learning by creating responsive and innovative physical and virtual spaces
  2. Support student growth in co-curricular learning from entrance to graduation
  3. Build diverse and sustainable collections that support teaching and learning
  4. Provide effective and impactful support for applied research

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2. Our Mission and Values

Our Mission

"Guiding and inspiring discovery and learning through research, educational resources and academic supports"

Our Mission... supports Red River College’s mission "Together, we learn, teach, challenge, innovate and find solutions to build a better future" and focuses on students, faculty and staff. It emphasizes the four key pillars that our services are built on:

Research to support teaching and learning and the associated support to find and access quality information.

Resources to support teaching and learning and the associated support to find and access quality information.

Assessments provide testing for students wishing to gain College entry as well as diagnostic testing for current students.

Academic supports provided by knowledgeable and supportive staff and delivered through tutoring, workshops, and English Additional Language (EAL) and diversity services.

Our Values

Our Values... align with the College’s values of learning, respect, inclusiveness, integrity, sustainability and service to community. Our values guide us in our work and ultimately help us focus on uniting as a team to provide excellence in service and support students, faculty and staff to the best of our ability.

Inclusive... welcoming and respectful to all.

Responsive... to unique student and faculty needs.

Team Oriented... to learn and share with one another and build College and community partnerships.

Evidence-based... in order to make the best decisions we can.

Resourceful... at finding solutions and helping to remove barriers to learning.

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3. Introduction

This document provides a detailed account of the work done to arrive at our plans and priorities for Library Services for the next three years.

The Library Plans and Priorities was developed within the context of the Red River College Strategic Plan 2016-2021, which includes four strategic themes: Advance Indigenous Achievement, Elevate Student Success, Foster Sustainable Growth, and Cultivate Strategic Partnerships. The Plans and Priorities also aims to support the three themes of the College’s Academic and Research Plan 2016-2021, which are to:

1. Sharpen Strategic Focus

  • Shape our College through Program Planning
  • Open Doors through Partnerships and Pathways
  • Create Opportunities in Indigenous Education
  • Lead the Way in International Education

2. Drive Academic Excellence

  • Support Teaching Excellence
  • Pursue Quality Improvement
  • Drive Program Innovation
  • Strengthen Student Advising and Support

3. Accelerate Research and Innovation

  • Ensure Sustainable Growth in Applied Research
  • Serve as a Community Resource
  • Expand National and International Collaboration

The Library Plans and Priorities takes into account global library trends and how technology will impact the services we provide today and in the future. In addition, we have considered trends affecting academia with an eye to ensuring that we are prepared to support students, faculty and staff through the changing landscape and well into the future. The creation of this document and subsequent plan is also based on formal and anecdotal feedback from our students, faculty and staff. Working together with students, faculty and staff is key to ensuring that we are able to deliver on the priorities outlined in this document.

3.1 Overview of Red River College Library

John and Bonnie Buhler Library and Learning Commons

Library Services falls under the direction of the Executive Director of Community Support Services and consists of the Academic Success Centre, Assessment Services, and the Library.

Red River College’s main Library lies at the heart of the Notre Dame Campus and is located on the mall level in the very centre of the campus. There is one additional satellite Library and Learning Commons, the John and Bonnie Buhler Library, located at the Exchange District Campus on the first and second floor of the Princess Street building.

Library staff serve the research and resource needs of students, faculty and staff, and provide support and resources for College curricula. The physical spaces within the Library provide study and collaborative meeting places for students and an access point for technological support.

Notre Dame Campus Library

The Academic Success Centre and Assessment Services units joined Library Services in 2018, bringing a diverse array of new supports and points of student contact under the Library Service’s umbrella, including tutoring, language and learning strategy supports, diversity training and entrance testing services. This merge has increased the reach and scope of Library, and has provided fertile ground for envisioning a new service model and presence within the College.

3.2 Past Review and Current State

As part of Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, Red River College Library Services has a critical role to play in supporting faculty teaching and student learning.

The Library has now gained the capacity to assess, triage and respond to student and faculty needs in real time, under one roof. The current state of this rapid change calls for a revision of the Library's role, especially as it relates to the College’s Academic Transformation. Where frontline staff used to focus on research and resource assistance, they now can also triage students according to need. Where Nursing students, for example, might have come to the Library to access online Nursing journals, they now can also be directed to academic coaches, dosage calculation workshops and clinical communication tutorials. This dovetailing of the services of Assessment Services, the ASC and the Library has served to create strength beyond the previously separated constituent parts. The joining of the units has created a comprehensive and responsive learning centre, a change that comes just in time for the upending of traditional methods of program delivery at the College.

S.W.O.T. Analysis


  • Committed, knowledgeable staff
  • Responsive to program specific needs
  • Good array of accessible resources
  • Support from Administration and Faculty
  • Healthy relations/partnerships with College Schools and units
  • Sole provider of assessments and supports


  • Outdated furnishings and equipment
  • Lack of quiet space for tutoring
  • Lack of diverse online resources in some subject areas
  • Outreach to Regional Campuses and distance students and faculty


  • Large centrally located space
  • Newly formed team with complementary but unique skills
  • Staff ready for and see need for change
  • Culture that emphasizes collaboration
  • College focus on research


  • Just-in-time user expectations
  • Alternative information providers
  • Limited funds to meet tutoring demand
  • No succession planning
  • Limited departmental cross-training
  • Difficulty keeping pace/adapting to technological changes (funding/services/staff up-skilling)

3.3 Trends in Academic Libraries and Learning Centres

Mount Royal University

Relevant reports and literature were reviewed to identify current and future trends in academic libraries and learning centres. Information was gleaned from visits in 2019 to academic institutions, specifically the Southern Alberta Institute for Technology (SAIT), University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Mohawk College, Centennial College, Conestoga College, and Seneca College. Below is a summary of common trends.

Embracing New and Emerging Technologies

Mohawk College

Libraries continue to morph and evolve in order to meet the needs of students and faculty in a technology-fueled environment. Emerging technologies, like augmented/virtual reality, 3D printers, and robotics, are providing new ways to enhance the student experience, assist in learning, and support the development of transferrable skills. Makerspaces are now commonplace at library and learning centres with the most successfully developed spaces employing library staff to collaborate with faculty to get students using the space. Help desks for IT-related support are common at academic institutions in order to support the increase in technology use and provide in-person, point-of-need technology assistance to students and faculty.


Mohawk College

The Riddell Library and Learning Centre (Mount Royal University) includes a maker space with a full time library technician responsible for finding ways to offer programing that encourages awareness and use of the tools and technology within the space. There is also an immersive learning room with 10 short throw projectors that allow video and images to appear 360° on the surrounding walls. Audio augments the experience to facilitate simulation experiences. One example of how the room is used is for simulating an emergency room for nursing students – beds and equipment are brought into the room and video, audio and lighting are used to simulate the bustle of an emergency room.


Adoption of Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) is part of the Open Education Movement (think Coursera and common-core curriculum materials) and is defined as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” (The Hewlett Foundation)

Mount Royal University

OER offer a number of benefits to students, faculty and institutions, including sustainable library collections, topic specific content, affordable textbooks, and flexibility in curriculum development. However, the challenges of OER, including an arduous development process, lack of resources, difficulty of locating resources, and the inconsistent quality of resources, make adoption and uptake difficult. These challenges present opportunities for libraries to partner with others on campus in the discovery, advocacy, and preservation of OER. (Center for the Future of Libraries)

SAIT Library is a key player in the development and adoption of the OER movement. OER responsibility rests with a librarian who works in collaboration with SAIT’s Centre for Learning and Teaching and Copyright Officer to develop policy, provide training, coordinate an OER working group, organize faculty “meet-ups”, and create and distribute newsletters.


Redesign of Learning Spaces

Seneca College

Academia and libraries alike are moving away from traditional spaces to agile spaces that promote collaboration, enhance creativity and encourage innovative thinking and learning. Makerspaces, “innovation labs” and learning commons are examples of spaces that encourage new ways of learning and skill development for students. We no longer think of ‘library as space’, but rather ‘library as place’ — a safe, welcoming, community-oriented place where students and faculty can easily and quickly access the supports they need, from research assistance to writing assistance and tutoring.

Seneca College

Of the seven visits in 2019 to libraries in Eastern and Western Canada, six had fully renovated their spaces within the last three to five years to include flexible furniture, collaborative workspaces, quiet study spaces, increased technology, and centralization of student supports (University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT, Conestoga College, Mohawk College, Centennial College). Many libraries are looking to find the right balance between print collections and learning spaces. Centennial College Library has committed to reduce their print collection by 60% in favour of online resources over the next two to three years. Seneca College Library has already made this shift and currently has 90% of their collection online.

Taylor Institute

As libraries work to revamp old traditional spaces, once designed to hold collections, they must find the right balance to accomodate various activities within their space. They must consider quiet contemplative, individual space, space for programming and teaching, and also vibrant and lively collaborative spaces that support the shift in educational pedagogy and learning.

Key Retention Intervention

"Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities."

R. David Lankes

College stakeholders, including faculty, industry and students have a direct interest in increasing student retention. Using retention rates as a clear metric of institutional health, libraries and learning centers / commons are providing key retention-focused interventions to combat attrition and enhance the sense of belonging and the academic skills of students traditionally vulnerable to failing or dropping out.

In 2010, ACT, Inc. reported the findings of a large-scale survey of retention practices at over 1000 post-secondary institutions in the United States. Entitled What Works in Student Retention?, the report outlined responses to a survey that asked respondents to identify institutional retention practices that their institution had pursued. The top-rated interventions included many of the services that Libraries now offer as part of the evolution to learning commons models, including supplemental instruction, tutoring, advising interventions, early warning systems and summer orientation programs.

Shift to Measuring Impact Versus Usage

The changing landscape has brought about the need to change how we measure or determine our impact. Traditional library usage statistics and metrics evaluating quality of services do not provide evidence of the impact that libraries have on their users. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is currently working towards a strategic plan that will include the development of new indicators as well as facilitation of a pan-Canadian program of assessment to encourage the use of evidence to strengthen the profile and services of libraries. (CARL)

Taylor Institute

Seneca Libraries’ Quality Assurance (QA) framework includes a wide range of metrics designed to measure library quality. The framework encompasses the principles outlined within the Association of College and Research Libraries standards: Institutional Effectiveness, Professional Values, Educational Role, Discovery, Collections, Space, Planning and Administration, and Personnel. The annual tracking, recording, reporting and analysis of these metrics will foster continuous improvement within the library.

"Digital fluency will be essential to all new jobs."

RBC Report, Humans Wanted

Emphasis on Digital and Information Literacy Training

The focus on “fake news” has drawn new attention to the traditional role of resource evaluation and information credibility. Whether we call it digital literacy, media literacy, or information, students must be able to access, critically evaluate, and create information in order to be successful in College and in the workplace. Literacy goes beyond the ability to read and write and includes competencies — critical thinking, questioning, analysis, and understanding — that individuals require to be active and informed students, employees and citizens in an information society.

Mount Royal University

Mohawk College takes an active approach to digital literacy skill-development by offering a number of services, such as the Digital Project Showcase, a dedicated area, bookable by faculty, where students can create and display their digital projects, such as posters, displays, infographics, and data sets. Library staff is present to support students and one-on-one or group tutorials and information sessions are given on technology-related topics to help students improved their digital literacy skills and be successful in their digital projects.

Mohawk College

Emphasis on Personalized Learning and Student Driven Learning

New models of teaching and learning are being embraced with enthusiasm at educational institutions across the country. By rethinking pedagogy, we are transforming teaching and learning to ensure that students learn in a way that makes sense and is most beneficial to them. Co-op placements, internships, inter-disciplinary projects and curriculum all gives students practical, hands-on learning. Technology has become increasingly important as it provides tools with which students can enhance learning, for example gamification and augmented and virtual reality.

Libraries are a space in which this kind of exploration and learning can take place. Makerspaces and programming or services to support ‘maker culture’ and personalized learning are housed in many libraries, such as Mount Royal University, University of Calgary and Centennial College.

Continued Focus on Study and “Employability” Skills

Conestoga College

The new skills economy means that “power skills” (interpersonal skills) and foundational skills, like critical thinking, self-awareness, ethical reasoning, and inquiry and analysis will be crucial to people in the workplace. Global competencies such as language, adaptability and cultural awareness will also be important. (Humans Wanted)

Conestoga College

Libraries and academic success centres play an increasingly important role in helping students build the most commonly cited foundational and interpersonal skills required by employers, including critical thinking, ethical reasoning, communication and negotiation. Through partnerships with faculty and industry, libraries and learning centres work to prepare students for the communication and thinking skills required in the workplace – skills that help students get, keep and advance in the changing employment landscape.

The online Learning Portal, an Ontario-wide multi-college initiative spearheaded by Seneca College Library, is a prime example of the importance of such skill sets (see The Learning Portal is an open, online resource where students can view videos and access help guides and information in order to improve their skills in career planning, digital literacy, studying, writing, and reading. Many libraries, such as Conestoga College, Mount Royal University, and Centennial College, offer tutor and study support services in the Library. This provides students with quick and ready access to supports that help them develop employability skills, such as critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and inquiry and analysis.

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4. Plan Development

4.1 The Planning and Visioning Process

In September 2018 the Library Services Plans and Priorities Working Group was created in order to undergo a planning process.

Committee members included:

  • Kerry Macdonald, Director of Library Services
  • Mark Nelson, Library Systems Coordinator
  • Bettina Allen, Library Public Services Coordinator
  • Charlene Tweed, Audio Visual Services Supervisor
  • Lauren Phillips, Academic Success Centre and Assessment Services Manager

Two consultants, Erin Huck and Cathy Stevens (Health In Common) participated in the process and were largely responsible for stakeholder data gathering, including focus groups, surveys, and stakeholder interviews.

Data gathering from stakeholders across the College and from Library Services staff happened during the fall of 2018, with the final plan developed in spring 2019. The Library Plans and Priorities Working Group also conducted a review of the literature to determine trends in libraries as well as investigating, through visits and discussions, a number of Canadian College library and learning centres.

4.2 Stakeholder Input

The following methods were used to gather data and information:

Survey of Library Services Staff (Library, Academic Success Centre, Assessment Services)

All Library Services staff (Library, Academic Success Centre, Assessment Services) were surveyed (n=33; Response Rate = 73%; Appendix 1).

Library Services planning session (Library, Academic Success Centre, Assessment Services)

Thirty-one staff participated in a full-day visioning session on November 28, 2018 in order to brainstorm and reflect on Library Services’ role, services, challenges, desired long term impact, priorities, mission/vision, and values. The session was led by consultant Erin Huck and informed largely by staff survey responses, including the roll of ASC and AS in Library Services (Appendix 2) and Library Services’ strengths and challenges (Appendix 3).

Two interviews with key informants

Christine Watson, Vice President, Academic, and Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic, had one-on-one, focused interviews with the consultant in October 2018.

Three focus groups of Red River College faculty and staff

The consultants conducted three focus groups (n=24) on October 9 and 10, 2018. Effort was made to include staff from across the College, in different positions (Deans, Chairs, instructors, support staff) and from different Schools and programs, including:

  • School of Indigenous Education
  • International Education
  • Nursing
  • Regional campuses representation (nursing)
  • Continuing Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Research Partnerships and Innovation
  • School of Construction and Engineering Technologies
  • Student Association
  • Aviation and Aerospace
  • Allies Health
  • School of Math, Science and Communication
  • Creative Arts
  • Library and Information Technology program
  • Centre for Learning and Program Excellences
  • Business and Applied Arts
  • Hospitality and Tourism

Student Focus Group

On June 5, 2019 the Library hosted a student focus group (n=19), led by Melissa Goulbourne, Curriculum Developer with the Centre for Learning and Program Excellence.

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5. Overview of Priorities and Goals

Four key priorities emerged from stakeholder input and a review of the literature. The priorities and goals are:

Priority One: Enhance the student experience and support learning by creating responsive and innovative physical and virtual spaces

Our Library is no longer a gatekeeper of books. We are evolving into a vibrant and active space where students have access to multiple resources and services, including technological tools that can enhance their learning opportunities. Discussions about physical and virtual library space are interrelated with deploying new technologies and a key an exciting and innovative space for students, faculty and staff.

Goal 1: Increase student, faculty and staff awareness and use of virtual Library spaces and associated services

We need to expand our reach in terms of awareness and service offerings. Currently, those services available to Regional campuses, distance education students, or those who prefer to work from home are underutilized. In addition, we know that we can take advantage of technology in order to expand our service offerings to better serve those who are working and studying remotely from the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses.

Goal 2: Create a community of active learning at the heart of each campus through the services, resources and technology available in our spaces

We will build, promote and assess our spaces and services in order to create a community and environment of active learning in our spaces. We aim to be the central “heart” of our campuses — a place where students and faculty come together to explore and learn.

Goal 3: Create welcoming and inclusive spaces and services in collaboration with students, faculty and staff in the School of Indigenous Education and the Centre for International Education and Global Partnerships

Contributing to the College’s priority to support Indigenous students, faculty and staff is key to the Library. International students will continue to be an important part of the student body. We want to continue to be a thriving hub of activity for International students and expand our Library community to better serve Indigenous students and Indigenous approaches to learning and teaching. We can offer much in terms of academic and social supports for both groups of students. We want to be active partners with the faculty and staff who teach and support these students.

Priority Two: Support student growth in co-curricular learning from entrance to graduation

Library, Assessment and ASC staff are positioned to work with students from pre-entrance and through their College career to graduation. We work with students to build the most commonly cited skills required by employers, including critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and negotiation. The ASC works with faculty and with co-op and internship programs to prepare students for the communicative and thinking requirements of the workplace. These “power skills” help students succeed in their College studies, but also increase their success in other areas of their life, including in the workplace.

Goal 1: Connect students and faculty to Library and Academic Support services, as well as other College services, proactively and at the point of need

We recognize the need to offer increased accessibility to resources at time of need, while also engaging in proactive outreach to ameliorate preventable feelings of crisis. While we will continue to expand and offer services through traditional bookings, we recognize the importance of offering easily accessible services that provide just-in-time support.

Goal 2: Enhance co-curricular programming that supports and recognizes student learning and study skills

We recognize that the academic skills and interpersonal skills that we help students build are important to their success at the College and in the workforce. By recognizing co-curricular learning through initiatives like digital badging and embedded supports, we will provide students with a way to showcase the skills they have developed during their academic career.

Goal 3: Develop a plan for the continuous improvement of services using metrics to guide our decisions

Traditional library usage statistics and metrics evaluating quality of services do not provide evidence of the impact that libraries have on their users. We want to have a demonstrable impact on the students, faculty, and staff we serve. We must be able to demonstrate our value to stakeholders.

Priority Three: Build diverse and sustainable collections that support learning and teaching

The Library has always prided itself on building robust and fulsome collections and providing access to resources. The shift to move from print to digital resources requires thought and careful planning. New opportunities for resource development have also arisen, such as Open Educational Resources. We want to be in a position to capitalize on these new initiatives when they present themselves.

Goal 1: Redefine our approach to collection development in order to transform our collections and best support research, learning and teaching

We will build our collections based on a systematic, evidence-based approach, thereby ensuring our resources will support co-curricular activities, College curriculum, and research.

Goal 2: Develop and implement new tools and technologies that point students, faculty and staff to open and accessible resources and information

We will work with faculty and campus partners to ensure that information, tools and resources are readily available and embedded in the platforms that students and faculty use, for example LEARN. We will continue to expand our collection of electronic resources, including databases, electronic books, electronic journals, open educational resources (OER), streaming media, websites and/or subject guides and videos.

Goal 3: Collaborate with relevant campus partners to develop a plan for OER awareness, development and adoption

Working with campus stakeholders and partners, we aim to develop a plan that focuses on OER development, adoption, awareness and access. The role of the Library will be defined within the context of a campus-wide adoption of open resources.

Priority Four: Provide effective and impactful support for applied research

Applied Research Genome 360 Launch March 2019 (RRC)

The focus on applied research and learning at the College opens up ample opportunity for the Library. Faculty are encouraged to participate in research but sometimes lack the supports to carry out this work. Research and scholarly supports are common in academic libraries, but will be a new focus for our Library.

Goal 1: Collaborate with relevant campus partners to develop a Library service model in support of scholarly communication

Scholarly communication is defined as “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use.” (ACRL)

Culinary Research Miso March 2017 (RRC)

Goal 2: Collaborate with relevant campus partners to provide research and academic integrity supports

Our services directly align with promotion of academic integrity. We can build this support into our service offering and provide resources, training and consistent messaging around academic integrity.

Goal 3: Develop a service model to support adherence to copyright and fair dealing in teaching and learning

Academic libraries play a key role in copyright support and training, with most academic libraries having a copyright librarian or copyright office. With minimal resources, we can offer these much needed services to students, faculty and staff.

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Association of College and Research Libraries. Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects. Prepared by Karen Brown with contributions by Kara J. Malenfant. Chicago:

Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017. Association of College and Research Libraries. Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication. 2003. (Accessed May 15, 2019).

Association of College and Research Libraries. Research Planning and Review Committee. 2018 top trends in Academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education. Vol 79(6): 2018.

Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Giesinger, Hall, C., Ananthanarayanan, V., Langley, K., and Wolfson, N., (2017). NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Adams Becker, S., Brown, M., Dahlstrom, E., Davis, A., DePaul, K., Diaz, V., and Pomerantz, J. (2018). NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition. Louisville, Colorado: EDUCAUSE.

BCcampus. (Accessed May 2, 2019).

Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Measuring Impact. (Accessed May 8, 2019).

Center for the Future of Libraries. (Accessed April 24, 2019).

Habley, Wesley R. and McClanahan, Randy. What Works in Student Retention All Survey Colleges? ACT 2004.

Royal Bank of Canada. 2018. (Accessed May 22, 2019).

“Trends”, Center for the Future of Libraries: American Library Association, August 8, 2014. (Accessed April 17, 2019).

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Appendix 1 - Library Services Staff Survey

Red River College Library Services is planning for the next five years. You are being asked to provide feedback that will help identify opportunities and considerations moving forward.

We have had a number of changes this year, including the combination of the Academic Support Centre (ASC), Assessment Services (AS), and Library Services. This change provides us with an opportunity to analyze our services and identify how we can best support our students moving forward. This is especially important given the changing academic landscape, the introduction of new and innovative technologies and the focus on new and more effective ways of teaching and learning. We invite you to reflect on our current context and provide your much-valued input.

Your responses to this survey will be anonymous. The information you provide will be collated and used to support the development of a combined strategic plan for Library Services, ASC and AS.

Please take the time to complete the survey and submit it as soon as possible.

It should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

If there are questions that do not apply to you or your area of experience, please skip the question.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Erin Huck, Planning and Evaluation Facilitator, Health in Common,, 204.946.1888 ext 105.

1. How long have you worked at the Library/ASC/AS?

  • ▢ 1-2 years
  • ▢ 3-4 years
  • ▢ 5-6 years
  • ▢ More than 7 years

2. Are you:

  • ▢ Full time
  • ▢ Part time


3. A mission statement describes the purpose of an organization (what it does, for whom, why).To assist in developing a mission statement for our area, tell us:

  • a. What does the Library/ASC/AS do?
  • b. For whom?
  • c. Why?

Internal Strengths and Challenges

4. List the top 3 internal strengths of our area.

5. List the top 3 internal challenges for our area.

Opportunities and Risks

6. Identify 2-3 external opportunities or risks that could impact on RRC Library/ASC/AS over the next few years.

  • When thinking about these opportunities and risks, consider how RRC Library/ASC/AS could respond.
  • 1. What is the opportunity or risk? How could we respond?
  • 2. What is the opportunity or risk? How could we respond?
  • 3. What is the opportunity or risk? How could we respond?

Critical Issues

7. Based on what you know, list what you believe are the 2-3 most critical issues that RRC Library/ASC/AS will need to address over the next 3 years.

8. Any additional comments or suggestions that will help us in the planning process?

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Appendix 2 - Library Services Role

Current Role

Connect library patrons to resources – and support success

Library role

“To provide information, access and the knowledge of how to use library resources to College students and staff to be able to develop and gain knowledge in their program areas and for research.”

“To provide research assistance, resource access, study space and media support to students,staff and community."

“Access technology (and technological support) needed for program requirements, and success in industry.”

“To support student learning and success and faculty development.”

ASC/AS role

“Provide students with support to help them meet their goals and achieve success.”

“To support RRC learner success by identifying learner and program needs, then assessing most effective, targeted support response, and providing supports.”

Learning environment

“A quiet location for study and prep work for staff and students. A learning centre.”

“For many students, it's a safe place and the staff a support system as they tackle their studies and the anxiety that goes along with it.”

“...I see the library should be an ally for faculty and helpful agent for student learning by providing …an aspirational space.”

Academic support and learning development


“Academic student support — tutoring, study skills workshops, prep programming, content review sessions, program partnerships, academic coaching and being a welcoming face and support to students.”

“Keeping up with the changing demand of new generation of learners.”

“To help students with study and life skills and to assess their learning.”

“Instructors/programs: share information on best practices related to working with EAL students; collaboration/ offering course specific language skills and strategy training; developing and administration of diagnostic assessment tools.”

Joint Role

Combined expertise and resources

“To combine areas of expertise into a unified frontline service to RRC students, staff, and faculty.”

“Working together, we have the ability to be a one-stop shop for any student in help, whether it is with hardware/software, research or tutoring.”

“To combine access to information with access to academic support so that students can access all aspects in one location. To promote learning, communication and success.”

“Learning success — patrons, students, faculty.”

“To help provide students with resources they need to succeed at RRC and for life.”

“Work together to support student and staff needs. Need to combine our different areas of expertise as well as usage of our physical facilities to provide the best use of them.”

... a learning commons together where groups of students with tutors and library staff, research dev[sic] together on best learning and studying practices, promote services to staff and students

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Appendix 3 - Strengths and Challenges

Committed, knowledgeable and responsive staff

“We enjoy working and socializing together, sharing ideas and supporting each other's efforts. We help each other get better at our jobs.”

“Committed staff with a broad range of skills and a willingness to collaborate and innovate.”

“Experienced, knowledgeable and friendly staff.”

“The commitment and expertise of our staff tutors.”

“Library media group is also very effective. Act like IT people – have the resources, equipment, tech people to help you install stuff and who can troubleshoot.”

“Real willingness to provide students with the best support possible.”

“…both the library and the ASC. I would say that they are very collaborative and very open to working together and working on new projects.” – Partner

ASC is “very proactive and interested in exploring new technologies and methodologies.” – Partner

Good ability to access and borrow any technology – equipment. – Partner

Combining expertise

“We have knowledgeable staff and the Library/ASC/AS are a good fit to combine our forces to support students.”

“Healthy relationships with other departments.”

“A mandate to serve the whole RRC, not just one or two programs, which allows for big picture vision and strategy.”

Program specific supports

“Responsive learning and language supports.”

“The flexibility to provide targeted, specialized services that meet real need.”

“Now they come in, do assessments, and we train with them. Every Monday for 4-5 weeks, they came down, did role playing and serving so that they’re actually more prepared [for academic programming].”


“We have hardware to support students. (white boards, laptops/workstations, projectors, etc.).”

“Good array of accessible resources (print and electronic).”

“Creative development of resources to support student, staff and faculty learning.”

Streaming videos… So it’s just handy in the middle of a lecture to stream a video...Students have access at home, any hour of the day, too. – Partner

[Speaking about program-specific curation of materials, and in-person support to instructors], “wow, this is what a college library should be doing; being right on that forefront of technology.” – Partner


“Great visual and central location.”

“We have physical space although it is not meeting our needs right now, but could if money was invested to renovate. We have enough space to create what we need.”

Library environment changed colours to blue – calmness, best practice. Many library’s out in the world are trying to paint blue as a colour. There’s more light now. – Partner

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Appendix 4 - Risks and Challenges


“Too much change all at once.”

“Resistance to change. Rather than look at something as evolution, there's a fear of loss.”


“Lack of communication between departments.”

“Clear messaging to students, staff and faculty.”

“Combining two areas — we're not familiar with each other and how best we can work together.”

“Need for more marketing of the library's services and resources to maximize their use for students and faculty.”

“Lack of knowledge about what we can do and the resources we can provide. The attitude that everything is available on the internet.”

“Lack of visibility or respect/recognition for the library.”

“Communicating what’s available, when it’s available, is very important.” – Partner

I don’t see what this library does for my dept. and does for me as an instructor and my students. That is an awareness issue, that’s not a criticism of the library. – Partner


“Staffing levels and qualifications to meet changing and increasing needs.”

“Lack of clarity in roles and expectations; uneven workload and provision of supports.”

“Not enough time to keep doing conventional work and gain new skills.”

“Staff levels to meet administrative, organisational and student service demand.”

“Succession plan/implementation.”

“The need to balance the technical skills of a job with the soft skills of dealing with a variety of people.”

…we need to have young ambassadors who are working with our students, who can teach them about resources. – Partner


“Lack of space / consolidated space (private and quiet) at times of high demand (i.e. lunch hour).”

“Space — it would be useful to have at least two large spaces for the ASC to facilitate workshops, have help desk, or writing support workshops. Individual tutoring rooms would also be helpful.”

“Space for congregating and meeting colleagues.”

“Most institutions have libraries that are open 24/7, we do not. That means support is limited to students.”

Looking at our library at EDC, specifically the Learning Common...the idea was that it wasn’t passive, it was active…that vibrancy needs to come back... – Partner

I think we do have to be cognizant that not every student can study and learn in a noisy environment… I think sometimes we err too much on the side of open, collaborative discussion and we forget that it’s distractors for a lot of people. – Partner


“Providing the best supports with decreasing budgets.”

“Lack of funds — behind in technology, outdated space and inadequate resources.”


“In terms of databases – they only have EbscoHost. We need Cinhal, PubMded, Eric etc. Most use connection through U of M to get access to all journals.”

“Long term staff who have possibly become stagnant, or behind the current technologies and trends in libraries.”

Technology to connect with students who are online. – Partner

Technology (software and hardware) appropriate to program. – Partner

Rethink space and technology for collaborative or team work; limited access to library technology. – Partner

Student Need

“Increased need for various types of support services.”

“Working with increased number of students with learning barriers whether it is language, mental health or socioeconomic factors…educating ourselves as one to help work with individuals with these barriers.”

Inadequate one-on-one hours. – Partner

It is an issue of not enough: not enough tutoring time, not enough supports. – Partner

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