The Northcentral University (NU) Commons serves as a social networking space for students, faculty, and staff to engage and connect with peers, and obtain resources to enhance learning and teaching experiences. Through distinct member communities, users can like, comment on, and share content; ask questions; and engage in discussions-all outside of the online classroom. Communities allow users to connect with faculty in a specialization, students in the same degree program, or users with a special interest.
In monitoring other communities in the Commons, Library staff noticed an increase in the number of questions asked and comments received related to research and Library resources by users in varying communities. As a result, NU Library staff formed a unique community in the Commons called “Library Insider” where users can connect with the Library; share strategies and insights related to research and resources; be informed about important Library updates; and receive weekly training tidbits to strengthen research skills. The community is monitored by two Library staff members who act as community stewards, altogether responding to user comments and questions and developing content for a series of weekly posts. Users can reach Library staff through traditional means like phone, chat, email, or text for help with locating resources and support with research questions; however, creation of a web community in the Commons has provided users with another avenue for connecting with Library staff, discussing research-related topics with peers, and exploring information literacy concepts in a meaningful way.