Library Services for Distance Learning: Sixth Bibliography

UNDER CONSTRUCTION ACRL Distance Learning Section

Chapter 4: Organizational Issues (Organization and Planning; Training; Guidelines, Standards and Quality Assurance, Publicity and Marketing; Copyright)

Adams, M. (2012). Distant learners and the library in 2012. Library Issues, 32(6), 1-4.
In recent years, many colleges and universities have begun offering online courses for students who may be returning to school after an extended period of time or students who live far away from a physical library. The library needs to have a role in providing resources for these and other online students that differs from the role it has for providing resources for students in the physical library. There are many ways that libraries can reach online and distance learners such as LibGuides, chat software or an embedded librarian program. Educating the students and faculty about copyright issues is a major issue that libraries need to keep in mind when dealing with online courses. There are many other things that libraries can do to deal with these and other distance issues such as developing LibGuides for each program that is taught online, having a librarian that is the contact person for distance programs and sending out information to faculty and distance education students on library resources and other pertinent items. An assessment of the programs that the library offers to distance learners needs to be done in order to make sure that the library is offering the best services to these individuals as they can. Finally, a major door to the library for online and distant students and faculty is the library webpage. Libraries need to make sure that they have adequate resources for these students and faculty and that they are easy to access and easy to find. R. McWilliams

Cannady, R., Fagerheim, B., Williams, B., & Steiner, H. (2013). Diving into distance learning librarianship: Tips and advice for new and seasoned professionals. College & Research Libraries News, 74(5), 254-261.

Cassner, M., & Adams, K. E. (2012). Continuing education for distance librarians. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(2), 117-128. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2012.694338
All librarians have to keep up with changes and new ideas in the library field and this is especially true for distance librarians and other librarians who deal with distance education. Money and time can be a major issue when keeping up with different professional development opportunities. However, lack of funds does not mean that there are not free or low cost opportunities available. Librarians can attend conferences for all librarians as well as conferences specific to distance learning. There are also library associations that they can join that offer a wide variety of learning opportunities as well as support from other librarians. Committee work is an excellent way to get involved with these associations as well. Those new to the profession or being a distance librarian can seek out mentors who they can turn to with questions or learn from. Webinars and blogs are free ways to stay up to date in the field and there are also online courses that librarians can take that may cost more but can also be beneficial. Professional journals are also a great way to stay up to the date in the field. Outside organizations or even your own college or university can also be good places to find learning opportunities. R. McWilliams

Dames, K. (2010). Educational use in the digital age. Information Today, 27(4), 18.
Dames, copyright and information policy advisor for Syracuse University Library, provides an overview of fair-use controversies in online learning, specifically, the use of streaming video in online classes and copyright issues in relation to e-reserves. The article serves as a useful introduction to those controversies and the roles played by organizations such as the Association for Information and Media Equipment (AIME), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). Dames asserts that institutions of higher learning need to make a stronger claim for their rights to fair use in the online classroom. Conversely, Dames also calls on universities to carefully enforce copyright law on campus and in virtual classes. R. Miller

Foster, M., Wilson, H., Allensworth, N., & Sands, D. T. (2010). Marketing research guides: An online experiment with LibGuides. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 602-616. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488922
This study, conducted by librarians at the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University, evaluates the impact of their plan for marketing LibGuides online as compared to promoting them during library instruction sessions. Specific findings are provided for the library’s attempts at publicizing LibGuides through the library’s homepage, blog, Twitter and Facebook sites, and faculty emails versus the promotion of LibGuides through library instruction interactions. Thought provoking commentary addresses the theoretical bases of word of mouth (WOM) marketing and relationship marketing (RM) underlying social media platforms and the implications this can have for promoting library products (rather than librarians) through these online forums. Libraries at any stage of their online marketing planning could benefit from the findings of this study. A. Knight

Fritts, J., & Casey, A. (2010). Who trains distance librarians? A study of the training and development needs of distance learning librarians. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 617-627. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488925
The authors recap the history of distance learning and currently-available support services for distance learning librarians. The development and distribution of a brief 13-question survey allowed the authors to gather information addressing how distance learning librarians learned specific aspects of their jobs, whether through formal library education, participation in library associations, conference attendance, or on the job. Open-ended questions discovered which training formats were recommended and what other sources of training were received. Results indicated that most look to ALA’s Distance Learning Section as the primary source for training opportunities and many advocate having representatives from the Distance Learning Section do outreach to library schools in order to encourage them to provide stronger education in this area. J. Wilson

Gall, D. (2010). Librarian like a rock star: Using your personal brand to promote your services and reach distant users. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 628-637. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488928
The author makes a case for librarians to apply the concepts of personal branding and relationship marketing to enhance their professional persona to create a more memorable connection to users. This article stands out in its ability to go beyond the notion of marketing for marketing’s sake by emphasizing the importance of maintaining a solid reputation as a librarian in order to create a successful personal branding campaign. Anecdotal evidence is shared by the author about his experience branding himself as Dan the Librarian, a reliable resource for the remote users he serves. Distance librarians and library liaisons looking to strengthen their connection and visibility with their target service community will benefit from the author’s practical advice. A. Knight

Gonzalez, A. C., & Westbrock, T. (2010). Reaching out with LibGuides: Establishing a working set of best practices. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 638-656. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488941
This article documents a case study of the planning, implementation, promotion, and assessment of LibGuides at the New Mexico State University Library. The literature review and works cited throughout the article provide readers with a wealth of input from the professional literature regarding best practices for research guides in general. Librarians interested in leveraging the usefulness of their research guides may find inspiration in the “Benefits” section of the article, which highlights powerful ways LibGuides were developed by NMSU librarians to go beyond the traditional subject guide model to better serve more specific student research needs and strengthen librarian-faculty collaboration. The experience and advice shared throughout the article involving workflow, support, buy-in, and staffing issues encountered with NMSU’s LibGuides project could also help to inform research guide development, whether using the LibGuides platform or other models. A. Knight

Grabowsky, A. (2013). Information and interaction needs of distance students: Are academic libraries meeting the challenge? Georgia Library Quarterly, 50(2), 12-18. Retrieved from

Hill, J. B., Li, H., & Macheak, C. (2013). Current practices in distance learning library services at urban and metropolitan universities. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 7(3), 313-322. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2012.732550

Jaszi, P. A., Adler, P., Butler, B., & Aufderheide, P. (2010, December 20). Fair use challenges in academic and research libraries. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved from
Researchers from the Association of Research Libraries and American University conducted interviews with sixty-five librarians, to investigate how libraries employ fair use in support of teaching and learning, scholarship, curating and outreach, and service to differently abled communities. The report details a range of issues arising from librarians’ attempts to understand and comply with copyright law while meeting the needs of library users. Some interviewees reported having to curtail various projects and limit users’ access to materials for fear of incurring copyright liability. The report recommends the development of a code of best practices for academic librarians dealing with copyright issues. Furthermore, the report underlines academic librarians’ need for legal advice from in-house copyright experts. Such efforts, the report finds, will help librarians assert fair use rights in service of the academic community. R. Miller

Little, G. (2011). The revolution will be streamed online: Academic libraries and video. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(1), 70-72. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2010.10.009
This column focuses on the increasing use of streaming video by libraries, especially within the popular video site YouTube. In addition to covering the creation of promotional and marketing videos, the author explains how libraries are developing streaming videos to instruct users on information literacy concepts and the use of specific search tools. Examples are also provided for libraries utilizing streaming video and creating YouTube channels to share college and university archives. For those interested in exploring options of video streaming in their library, the “Other Options” and “Getting Started” sections of this column offer valuable food for thought. A. Knight

Lockerby, R., & Stillwell, B. (2010). Retooling library services for online students in tough economic times. Journal of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 779-788. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488964 This article outlines organizational changes implemented by librarians at San Diego, California’s National University to meet the needs of a rapidly growing number of online students. Strategic planning, staffing changes (including the creation of a Multimedia Services Department to develop online tutorials and other learning objects), and goals for future improvement are described. A brief history of the library and its previous organizational structure is provided for context. R. Shepard

Mee, S. (2013). “Outreach to international campuses: removing barriers and building relationships.” Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 7(1/2), 1-17.

Nicol, E., & Crook, L. (2013). “Now it’s necessary: Virtual reference services at Washington State University, Pullman.” Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(2), 161-168.

Nunn, B., & Ruane, E. (2011). Marketing gets personal: Promoting reference staff to reach users. Journal of Library Administration, 51(3), 291-300. doi:10.1080/01930826.2011.556945
In their article, Nunn and Ruane discuss strategies for marketing reference services to university students. They note that the most successful marketing initiatives are ones that focus on students and that give clear examples of how librarians can help meet students’ needs, finding them “a better answer, faster” (p. 296). The authors also stress the importance of soliciting student feedback and incorporating it into marketing efforts. Although the authors acknowledge that “[t]here is no single method for reaching library users” (p. 295), they suggest that any methods that create a personal connection between librarians and the members of their community can be highly effective at improving the library’s image in the community and can also have the effect of increasing library use. Such methods include sending librarians to users’ locations (aka “roving reference” or “librarians on location”), highlighting staff profiles on promotional material, and partnering with faculty to design assignments for students. C. Thomes

Rebmann, K.R., Molitor, S., & Rainey, B. (2012). Distance Learning Skills and Responsibilities: A Content Analysis of Job Announcements 1996-2010. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6,100-116. DOI: 10.1080/1533290X.2012.693904
Rebmann, Molitor, and Rainey reviewed archived job descriptions for librarians using advertisement content analysis to determine if distance learning skillsets were growing. They precede their findings with a review of the literature looking at definitions of distance learning and trends. The literature review suggested that libraries are no longer the preferred place of access for remote digital information, and that the library resources such as reading rooms and book stacks are visited less frequently by digital learners. The literature review also suggested that library positions have grown to include services for digital learners.

Rebmann et al. examined more than 19,000 job advertisements published between 1996-2010 in an effort to answer three research questions which included identifying trends for jobs requiring distance learning skills, identifying areas of the library that require distance learning competencies, and identifying jobs that are focused or have a dedicated purpose to distance learning. Conclusions included the fact that there were years where there were fewer advertisements for total jobs and that during the years 1996-1998, there was a rapid increase in the amount of jobs requiring distance learning skills. From 1999-2000, the number of listings decreased but the need for distance learning skills remained stable. Listings dropped from 2007-2010. They also concluded that there is some lack of clarity as to whether the demand for focused distance learning positions is as strong as in the past.

Rebmann et al. also concluded that positions in distance librarianship occurred most often in public service areas, administration, information technology, and technical services. They also suggested that the most common term for positions that focused on distance learning was “Distance Learning Librarian,” followed by “Distance Education Librarian”. D. B. Geier

Wang, Y., & Baker, M. (2013). “Effectively managing copyright clearance: Electronic reserves in a large distance education university.” Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 7(1/2), 210-219.

White, L. (2010). Aligning assessment to organizational performance in distance education service delivery. Journal of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 997-1016. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.489005
After reviewing the library professional literature on assessment, the author concludes that little has been written on the need to align assessment practices in libraries with the changing library environment and the demands for increased library accountability from both internal and external stakeholders. The rise of distance education, in particular, creates a need for new, effective, comprehensive assessment processes lest libraries face both negative short-term tactical consequences such as resource and service reductions and/or negative, long-term, strategic consequences such as organizational restructuring or elimination. The author argues that libraries seeking aligned assessment processes must develop “a proactive culture of assessment,” review all library services with consistent metrics, provide access to assessment results for all library stakeholders, and constantly innovate using outside methods and expertise. Such libraries will survive and thrive in a service environment shaped by the mission/scope of the library, resources, participation/stakeholders, and technology. The article includes a detailed, five-step conceptual model for the progressive Alignment of Library Assessment Practices to the Service Environment, from Nonaligned to the Environmental Alignment Step in which all stakeholders understand and value the results of assessment and assessment results shape all strategic plans and decisions in the library. J. Wood

White, L. N. (2010). Assessment planning for distance education library services: Strategic roadmaps for determining and reporting organizational performance and value. Journal of Library Administration, 50(7-8), 1017-1026. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.489007
This review article examines and compares the literature on assessment practices in the fields of library and information science and business. The findings identify shortcomings of library assessment practices, which allow libraries to prove their overall financial impact and value as organizations to their stakeholders. A broad picture of business assessment practices is also identified and distinguished by the author as a model for libraries to quantify their value as an organization while using such data to inform strategic planning. The concept of reporting on intangible values is presented as a possible solution for libraries to report on “library goodness factors,” defined as intellectual capital, social capital, and human capital. Table 2, titled “Possible Assessment Plan Components and Use Focus Areas,” may prove especially useful for administrators and librarians involved with assessment planning. A. Knight


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