Ways in which USQ Library has contributed to ending poverty

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Image by SDG Academy used under CC-BY-NC licence.

Reading and writing are critical skills which empower people to escape from poverty and disadvantage.

As a regional university, USQ is a leader in widening higher education attainment with one of the most diverse student cohorts in the higher education sector. One half of the University’s student body is from non-metropolitan areas, and one third come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. A high proportion of our students identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and we have the highest proportion of first in family students in Queensland.

University libraries create programs and deliver services to increase the academic, information and digital literacies of a highly diverse student group. USQ Library supports our students to develop their academic writing, reading and communication skills through the provision of our Study Support services and resources.

Transforming student learning online during COVID

Tahnee Pearse, Associate Director, Content

USQ’s physical library collections were closed on 25 March 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Library clearly communicated to the USQ community the move to operating exclusively online while campus libraries were temporarily closed. An immediate and pressing challenge was to ensure that accessibility to textbooks was maintained over this time. There was a need to communicate with stakeholders, advocate for access and make informed decisions based on analytics and knowledge of licensing and copyright allowances. 

At this time and during the weeks after the closure, a range of activities were undertaken. These actions were underpinned by effective communication and liaison across Library teams and with academic staff members. This included early engagement by the Director (Library Services) with Executive Deans and Heads of School, and Liaison Librarians communicating with academic staff about alternative access options for print textbooks. The steps and results are highlighted in the infographic below.

Infographic with the following information The following steps were taken: Gathering data regarding current print textbook offerings Acquisition of available digital formats Liaison with academic staff members regarding – Open access content alternatives Options for digitising content, within copyright allowances These strategies resulted in: Heightened understanding of content availability for academic staff members, including an increased insight into open access options. Initial discussions undertaken with academics in 2020 have led to the development of core textbooks including Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology and initial planning for nursing-related textbook development in 2021/2022. An Improved and more equitable student learning experience due to increased accessibility to core textbooks in digital format. Additional expenditure of $141,185.99 in 2020 on eTextbooks.

In a climate when students were experiencing a heightened sense of stress and uncertainty, these strategies sought to relieve some financial burdens associated with purchasing textbooks and access to other study resources and information sources.  Student and staff feedback indicated there was much appreciation for this increased interim availability of information required for study programs.


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USQ Library Stories of 2020 Copyright © 2021 by University of Southern Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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