In 2019, Ithaka S+R began a three-year IMLS-funded research initiative to help community colleges and their academic libraries more effectively support their students. The initiative, known as Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems (CCASSE), involved two surveys, one of academic and student affairs leaders and one of library directors, to identify trends shaping student support and perspectives on the impact of COVID-19, as well as a series of interviews with individuals holding diverse leadership positions to gain insight into the strategies community colleges were using to assist students through the challenges of the pandemic.  

As the culmination of this project we are excited to announce a series of conversations and convenings—open to the public—that we are hosting in March and April. We hope these will help establish a forum for the community to discuss the evolving role of community college libraries in bolstering student success and navigating uncertainty and change. Each convening will focus around different themes that emerged from the project. These interactive gatherings will offer space for people to share their own experiences and, in doing so, build on the innovative work libraries have been conducting in recent years and help to collaboratively address the challenges that the pandemic surfaced.

Registration is now open, and we hope you will sign up for one or more of these sessions.

Convening 1: Emergency and emerging technology programs at community college libraries

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM (ET)

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many community college libraries stepped up, developing new programs and technology lending services to assist students who would otherwise not have access. These libraries dramatically pivoted existing programs, or quickly developed new lending policies and services for loaning laptops and wi-fi hotspots, among other needed devices. As the pandemic continues, and emergency funding runs low, how can libraries sustain and scale these initiatives? 

Join us as we share findings from a national survey. A panel of community college library directors will join us to  discuss the emergency provisions they provided during the pandemic, the budgetary challenges they faced, and what the future of these programs may look like going forward. We will also consider the impact of emerging technologies, such as increased digital content and streaming media, and their impact on the role of the community college library within the college ecosystem.

Convening 2: “When in doubt, go to the library”: Navigating the community college ecosystem

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM (ET)

Community college libraries are a key part of the academic and student services ecosystem and contribute broadly to student success through their provision of scholarly resources and technologies. A key element of library service provision is their physical spaceformal space for students to do work in between or after classes, as well as space for students to informally meet with friends and classmates.  Through this space, the library plays a key role in cultivating community and a sense of belonging for students that helps to bolster student success and retention. 

Join us for an interactive panel discussion in which we will hear from librarians, students, and others about the various ways that community colleges and their libraries have worked to foster a sense of belongingness within the community college ecosystem and to improve the accessibility of community college resources in recent years.

Convening 3: Assessing the evolution of the community college library mission

Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM (ET)

The past two decades have seen dramatic changes within the academic library community. Many libraries have expanded partnerships, both within their community college and with the wider community. More recently, upheaval has required that community college libraries expand and develop programs to provide student support resources within the context of the pandemic. Both developments have contributed to an evolving understanding of the impact that community college libraries can have on student experience and success. 

Surveys have indicated that student support officers, academic affairs officers, and library directors often diverge in how they articulate the priorities of the community college library. We invite you to join us for an interactive webinar to participate in a conversation with administrators and librarians about the evolving missions of libraries. Topics of discussion will include:

  • How does the library assist the college to retain students and promote student success? 
  • How have new initiatives affected the overarching mission of the community college library?
  • How might libraries demonstrate their impact in relation to their evolving missions?

This webinar will bring together multiple perspectives to create a generative discussion on the evolving role and impact of community college libraries.

We hope that you will be able to join us for one or more of these convenings. We are keen to make this as interactive and dynamic a space as possible for participants, so if you have questions or suggestions for what you would like to see covered, please feel free to reach out to us at and, or by using the comment box below.