Using the Library Online
As students and faculty adjust to online teaching and learning, the UMKC Libraries are here and ready to continue providing uninterrupted library services in our new, all-online environment. All of the Libraries employees are working remotely to provide support for learning, research, and teaching. Wherever our students, staff, and faculty are in the world, the library is here for them and ready to help.
Quick links for using the library online
- Work with a librarian by chat, text, email, or on a Zoom meeting for research or tech assistance
- Search the Libraries' collections and find digital full text resources
- See newly free learning and research resources
- Find eBooks you can use for your classes
- Access articles on any subject through the library databases
- Chat with a librarian 24/7 from the "Chat with us" button
Pivoting to virtual library services
As soon as the university began discussing its COVID-19 response, librarians started working behind the scenes to prepare to shift in-person services and activities to virtual formats. The library has provided remote assistance to users for decades, answering questions by phone, then email, and then live chat as technologies evolved, fulfilling requests for copies of unique materials by mail and now digitally, and maintaining online-accessible records for books, journals, and other research materials since the 1980s. All of these adaptations to new technologies to serve a dispersed academic community over the years meant the Libraries were positioned to make the shift to all-online service delivery quickly.
Two major changes had to be made in response to the UMKC campus limited closure, and for the health and safety of the library staff and the campus community: the UMKC Libraries facilities are closed until further notice, and we are not checking out any physical materials to users.
While library staff are working remotely we can not access the library collections—books, journals, music scores, recordings, manuscripts, or other historical items stored at the Libraries—but library staff have been working diligently and creatively to connect our users to electronic versions of the information sources they need, and to locate alternatives whenever possible.
Librarians are helping faculty to locate electronic versions of readings for their courses, alternatives to print resources that are not currently accessible, or open educational resources that students can access without any additional cost.
Getting digital materials
The InterLibrary Loan department is filling requests for articles, book chapters, and electronic versions of other items just as quickly as usual, and even with the limitations of the current situation they have been able to fill the same percentage of requests as before. Place a request for a book chapter or journal article.
Access Special Collections online
The staff of LaBudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives are not able to fill requests to digitize physical items at this time, but they continue to do work that provides access to our unique holdings through our Digital Special Collections. Additionally, the Special Collections departments have provided work for more than 50 library staff, including the majority of our student workers, inventorying newspaper collections and transcribing audio recordings. This means that everyone in the Libraries is able to keep working, and makes more and more collections available for researchers.
Teaching and learning remotely
The UMKC Libraries have been offering online information literacy instruction for several years, including developing interactive, self-paced tutorials to teach students how to do library research. This spring the library's Teaching and Learning team successfully piloted new ways to embed library instruction into online general education courses. As soon as the university announced the move to online classes, we contacted instructors to let them know that their upcoming library sessions would continue as scheduled but would meet on Zoom for the online equivalent of hands-on library learning. Schedule a virtual library session for your class in the format of your choice.
Finding free resources
As many universities are hurriedly moving to online instruction, publishers are responding by temporarily providing free online access to resources that would otherwise be paywalled. The UMKC Libraries team is working to continuously create access points for our users to those newly available resources. These are some examples of collections that the Electronic Resources team has activated so that they appear in the results when you use the search bar on the library homepage:
- University press collections available in Project Muse
- MIT Press eBooks
- University of Michigan Press eBooks
- 10 JSTOR eJournal archive collections
We created this Free Resources page to highlight the many newly available resources that faculty can use in the online classroom, without additional costs to students.
This new guide to online resources for performing arts includes free resources for viewing or teaching music, theatre, and dance.
Virtual clinical support
UMKC clinical medical librarians usually accompany medical students on their docent rotations, offering information resources in real time. Rounding practices have changed for student and patient safety, but the clinical medical librarians remain in constant contact with their students, emailing them regularly and recommending test preparation resources as students study instead of going on rounds. The clinical medical librarians have also been hard at work making sure that students and physicians have access to the extra clinical tools that publishers have made available for instruction during this time.
Faculty may be working on research related to COVID-19. Many publishers have created collections of materials related to novel coronavirus, public health, and emergency response. These access points quickly allow faculty and graduate students to discover the latest research and news published in these areas. UMKC Libraries has created a COVID-19 Research Page for faculty and clinicians interested in exploring these resources for developing research projects around this public health situation.
Posted: March 25, 2020