Douglas and Judith Krupp Library Director Laura Kohl says Library of the Year honors are a testament to her innovative and creative team, which is dedicated to making sure students and faculty have the resources they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual services are nothing new for Bryant's Library of the Year
Mar 27, 2020, by Staff Writer

The Douglas and Judith Krupp Library won the Library of the Year Award from the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) at the University of Rhode Island.

“From hosting the Rhode Island Library Association conference each year to training many GSLIS students to greatly contributing to information literacy, your library has demonstrated an ongoing devotion to care for community – one of the values GSLIS care deeply about as we train librarians,” reads the email from Valerie Karno, JD, PhD, director of URI’s Graduate School of Library and Information Services, announcing the award on March 10.

Library Director Laura Kohl was surprised – and deeply honored – to learn that the Krupp Library, an academic library, had won an award traditionally presented to a public library.

“I have an outstanding team. I can’t say enough about the dedication, the positivity, and the focus on student success that my team puts forward,” says Kohl. “They are so innovative and so creative. This is a group who have come together to make this a really magical space where all kinds of wonderful things happen for the students, for the faculty, and for the alumni.”

Meeting the needs of the community

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Krupp Library's professional librarians and other library staff continue to provide high-level services for the entire Bryant community, students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The library remains open with limited hours for the international and other students who remain on campus while continuing to provide the virtual reference, research, and other services students, faculty, staff, and alumni have come to rely upon for years.

 “We are keeping the library open as an alternative space for students who may need to leave their residence hall rooms and find some other place where they can be separate from other people while they’re studying and doing research,” explains Kohl. “This provides a sense of normalcy for the students who remain on campus and also provides a safe space where they know that they have library staff here to support them and help with their research." Students and staff adhere to physical distancing recommendations and the space is constantly sanitized. 

The wide range of services the Krupp Library provides include:

  • online access to databases e-books & streaming videos
  • reference help via email, chat & text
  • scheduled research consultations via online tools
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
  • scanning and accessing databases on campus

Dedicated partners in critical learning 

“We are dedicated to making sure that students have all they need,” says Kohl, noting that for students and faculty now engaged in distance learning in response to the COVID-19 precautions, the transition to using online library services has been smooth.

From the first year of the Bryant learning experience, information literacy – the ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively – is a critical learning outcome. To ensure that students can recognize current, accurate, and relevant information in an age when so much information is coming from so many sources, librarians are embedded in a variety of courses including First-Year Gateway writing workshops. They learn early how to navigate library resources and how easy it is to connect with librarians. 

Through collaborative technologies, students are able to reach out to Krupp librarians directly for research assistance and help locating appropriate sources and databases. The Krupp Library has long offered virtual services including “text a librarian,” “chat with a librarian,” and “IM a librarian,” as well as email and phone communication.  One student, delighted to get an immediate response, recently Instant Messaged: “I’m so glad I got a person!” Kohl reports with a chuckle.

The library staff have also have been assisting faculty and students by reaching out to publishers to secure access to textbooks and other resources. During the pandemic, Interlibrary Loan requests for hard copy materials may not be able to be fulfilled, but there may be electronic versions available and the library staff is available to help. Due dates for all Krupp Library items have been extended and the team is working to try to get Interlibrary Loan items extended as well.

For those needing a break from academics, the library website offers connections to virtual fun while social distancing. It links to museum tours, a Frida Kahlo exhibit, and concerts as well as connections to watch TV shows and movies without a subscription.

In addition, the Krupp Library also publishes student work and makes it available to the wider world. Honors theses, available through the library’s Digital Commons, have garnered nearly 700,000 views, notes Kohl. In addition, the library is about to launch the first undergraduate interdisciplinary journal in collaboration with faculty. This open access source will include student papers, showcasing undergraduate work.

Library hours through April 17:

  • Sunday Online Only – 10am-10pm
  • Monday to Thursday 8am-10pm Online, 9am-3pm Onsite
  • Friday 8am-5pm Online, 9am-3pm Onsite
  • Saturday Online Only – 9am-5pm



  • Research & Instruction 401-232-6299
  • Borrower Services 401-232-6125


Read More

Related Stories