Library Services for Distance Learning: Sixth Bibliography

UNDER CONSTRUCTION ACRL Distance Learning Section

Chapter 3: Role of Libraries

Abdelrahman, O. (2012). A basic hybrid library support model to distance learners in Sudan. Journal of Librarianship & Information Science, 44(1), 19-26.
This paper attempts to investigate the current situation of library support offered to distance learners in four Sudanese universities and proposes a model of hybrid library support adapted from existing models of library services to distance learners and customized to suit the distance education environment in Sudan. The findings of this study show that distance learners in Sudan have very little access, if any, to appropriate library resources and services. A survey of the websites of four universities reveals that two of these universities provide access to electronic and digital resources through their libraries’ homepages. These resources are mainly composed of links to the library’s OPAC, theses abstracts, and links to free international journals. These online web-based materials are not freely accessed by distance learners; their use is limited to regular students with user name and password restrictions. The last two universities do not provide such access to online web-based materials. The paper suggests distance learning administrations, together with faculty members and librarians, should collaborate and take advantage of the available opportunities provided by advances in digital libraries to provide distance learners with adequate resources to meet their information needs. E. Blankenship

Adams, K. E., & Cassner, M. (2010). Library services for Great Plains IDEA consortial students. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 414-424. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488584
The authors studied distance library services and resources available to students enrolled in consortial graduate programs and certificates through Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA). IDEA is an interinstitutional alliance of universities with human sciences colleges in eleven states that share graduate courses in order to deliver fully-online programs and certificates. A survey measuring how library services are provided to distance learners was developed and sent to distance librarians at member institutions. J. Wilson

Alewine, M. C. (2012). Listen to what they have to say! Assessing distance learners’ satisfaction with library services using a transactional survey. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 136-146.
This paper examines how the library at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of library services to its distance learners.  As it saw student enrollment at the university nearly double over a seven year period, the Mary Livermore Library administration noticed an increase in off-campus and online enrollments.  The administration strongly felt a need to ensure the library services offered to off-campus and online students were similar to the amount and quality of those given to on-campus students.  In addition to creating an Outreach/Distance Education Librarian position, the library used survey instruments to gather feedback from the students regarding the effectiveness of the services they received.  Initial surveys that were launched either did not create enough responses due to their format or delivery or did not give the targeted responses needed to improve existing services or create new ones.  After further analysis, the library’s distance education personnel narrowed down the survey to a simple 5 question instrument emailed directly to students who had interactions with library personnel and identified themselves as distance learners. The survey focused on the effectiveness of reference services they received from the library. With a 21.7% response rate, the majority of responses were favorable. Those students who gave a negative response left comments as to why they were not satisfied, which helped provide specific information on reasons for their dissatisfaction with library services.  The survey not only provided useful information to library personnel but also provided an avenue for students to provide their feedback on library services. The survey as a feedback tool will continue to be used by the library as a way to engage students in the process of improving library services. Samples of the survey invitation and survey itself are included in the paper. M. Venner

Armstrong, D. (2010). A qualitative study of undergraduate students’ approaches, perceptions, and use of online tools. Ed.D. dissertation, University of San Francisco, United States — California. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 3416992).
This dissertation investigates undergraduate students’ experiences with and understanding of online courses at two religiously affiliated Northern California colleges. The study describes motivational and learner characteristics within online classes, and positive and negative aspects of online courses as experienced by students. The author makes suggestions for improvement for teaching online courses, and discusses how students’ use of tools affects the selection of their approach to learning. Also discussed within this paper are the roles of communication in shaping students’ perceptions and approach to learning, the importance of course organization to student learning and success, how the learning environment influences students’ approaches to learning, students perception of online learning as being less academically difficult than face-to-face education, and lastly, students’ preference to use nonacademic resources instead of the university library. E. Blankenship

Barnes, C. (2013). MOOCs: The challenges for academic librarians. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 44(3), 163-175. doi:10.1080/00048623.2013.821048

Bartnik, L. (2010). Delivered! A mid-sized academic library’s experience with distance education. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(1-2), 43-52.
A rise in the number of Murray State University’s distance education programs, coupled with accreditation agencies’ requirements of equal services for distance students, prompted librarians to extend their newly adopted use of ILLiad for document delivery to the faculty and students involved with these programs. Librarians utilize research instruction in a variety of ways to market this service to both groups, such as targeting courses at the main campus with students enrolled who may also take classes online or at the satellite campuses. Further, they attend faculty meetings, present at campus forums, take advantage of a strong relationship with the Bachelor of Independent Studies program, use Eluminate on Blackboard, produce brochures, and create tutorials with Camtasia. In their continuing effort to offer the same educational experience to distance students as traditional students, librarians now employ social media and other Web 2.0 technologies to promote their services. T. Carter

Bartnik, L., Farmer, K., Ireland, A., Murray, L., & Robinson, J. (2010). We will be assimilated: Five experiences in embedded librarianship. Public Services Quarterly, 6(2-3), 150-164.
Due to emerging technologies, the notions of brick and mortar libraries with “traditional” librarians seated behind reference desks have been changing for several years. In this article, five reference librarians at Murray State University chronicle their efforts to assimilate within colleges on campus as embedded librarians. Each librarian explains her personal experience with one of the following colleges: Business, Education, Science, Engineering & Technology, Humanities & Fine Arts, and Health Sciences & Human Services. The librarians utilize a wide-range of methods, varying in intensity, to reach the subject faculty. These approaches include: daily office hours within the colleges, weekly office hours within the colleges, the implementation of the “roving office” or roving librarian model, and embedding library components within Blackboard. Each librarian also shares the unique situations and challenges she faced for each college. T. Carter

Behr, M., & Hill, R. (2012). Mining e-reserves data for collection assessment: An analysis of how instructors use library collections to support distance learners. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 159-179.
In this paper Behr and Hill set the stage for defining why funding resources for collection development for libraries has become critical, especially in the state of Michigan. With library budgets decreasing, identifying useful materials for distance learners requires examining services distance learners use, such as electronic reserves. Electronic reserves enable libraries to see what materials faculty want their students to use, how often they are being accessed and whether they are from the library’s already existing collection.  This paper analyzes the usage of electronic reserves at Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University by conducting an inventory of those items and their usage by distance learners.  A thorough literature review has been conducted to shed light on the issues surrounding electronic reserves, such as copyright and faculty usage.  The electronic reserves services of both Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University are examined in this paper. Methodologies of their examinations are described in useful detail.  The results are categorized into formats of electronic reserve material, sources of electronic material and their scholarly statuses. Behr and Hill also examined the media publication dates of the items on electronic reserves to see how current the materials were.  Overall they found that the majority of items on e-reserve were owned by the libraries and garnered a better understanding of what materials make up electronic reserve collections. M. Venner

Bentley, Y., Shegunshi, A., & Scannell, M. (2010). Evaluating the impact of distance learning support systems on the learning experience of MBA students in a global context. Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 8(2), 51-62.
The authors investigated the distance learning support services in the United Kingdom overseas MBA online program. Support systems investigated were CD-Roms that accompanied the course, library services, handbooks, chat with needed professionals, access to professors, assignment feedback and overall experience. The students were surveyed twice. It was found that the results and improvements made from the first survey had enhanced the program for the students who were surveyed at the end of the second program. L. Cheresnowski

Bezet, A. (2013). Free prize inside! Embedded librarianship and faculty collaboration at a small-sized private university. Reference Librarian, 54(3), 181-219. doi:10.1080/02763877.2013.770351

Block, J. (2010). Distance education and the digital divide: An academic perspective. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13(1). Retrieved from
This paper addresses the digital divide in regard to the speed of access of internet connections, race, location, and socio-economic groups. It emphasizes the reliance of distance education programs on broadband connections and the discord of many learners with out-dated equipment and dial-up modems. A solution is discussed through the use of wireless networks. L. Cheresnowski

Brahme, M. & Gabriel, L. (2012). Are students keeping up with the e-book evolution? Are e-books keeping up with students’ evolving needs? Distance students and e-book usage, a survey. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 180-198. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2012.705109
While students seem surprised with the ease of accessing electronic books, they are frustrated with features that don’t satisfy their needs. Different vendors’ platforms offer many of the same features, but are used differently. Patrons expect the use of library e-books to be as easy as using a Kindle. However, downloading applications from various platforms is confusing to even tech-savvy patrons. In-person questions were easily identified and were primarily about downloading entire books, printing chapters and/or books, and length of availability of the book. Pepperdine librarians surveyed graduate distance students about their experiences and preferences with e-books. The survey showed most had used tablet readers, over a third had used hand-held devices, 50% had used e-books discovered through the catalog, and 14% had never used an e-book. Drawbacks identified included a lack of books on relevant titles, especially textbooks; “not all pages viewable;” navigation and printing issues; and a lack of notetaking/highlighting ability. Most preferred to use the tablet or iPad format and wanted to be able to print portions of the text. Type of material or purpose was important in opting for an e-book. While on-campus students complained about screen fatigue, the majority of the distance students indicated they could read on screen for at least an hour or longer. Most students felt that e-books have gotten easier to use and many believe the features have improved.  A third indicated they thought they had gotten better at using e-books. Over one quarter hadn’t noticed any changes in e-books. As further evidence confirming that students aren’t keeping up, a majority did not know they could highlight or take notes. Brahme and Gabriel speculate that the findings are mixed because students aren’t aware of all the features or the extensive number of formats available and because “keeping up” is challenging. B. Avery

Brooke, C., McKinney, P., & Donoghue, A. (2013). Provision of distance learner support services at UK universities: Identification of best practice and institutional case study. Library Trends, 61(3), 613-635. doi:10.1353/lib.2013.0003

Brouse, C. H., McKnight, K. R., Basch, C. E., & LeBlanc, M. (2010). A pilot study of instructor factors and student preferences. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38(1), 51-62.
Brouse and his team explored students’ perceptions about services and tools that could possibly enhance the online learning experience. Based on a survey of 96 students in online health classes, communication with teachers (such as emailed announcements and posting reminders) were the most useful service in creating a useful course. Online “office hours” and asynchronous communications with instructors via the message board were seen as dramatically less important. This study will have implications for distance librarians exploring the most effective and efficient means to provide reference and instruction services to online students. S. Clark

Brumfield, E. (2010). Applying the critical theory of library technology to distance library services. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(1-2), 63-71.
The past few years have seen an increase in the use of critical theory to explore issues within library and information studies, such as James Elmborg’s use of Freire’s critical pedagogy to develop a critical theory of information literacy. In a similar vein, Brumfield applies Pyati’s critical theory of library technology to analyze “the social constructs of library technology” at work in distance librarianship. This article poses a framework for assessing distance service effectiveness that goes beyond financial costs and student retention, and will prove provocative reading for those who view distance library services as a means to empower traditionally underserved learners. S. Clark

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.

Cannady, R. E. (2011). Fostering library as place for distance students: Best practices from two universities. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 23(3), 286-289. doi:10.1080/1941126X.2011.601242
Cannady reports on a presentation delivered at the 2011 ACRL Conference. Beth Filar-Williams of University of North Carolina-Greensboro and Heidi Steiner, Distance Learning Librarian at Norwich University, discussed their libraries’ efforts to foster a sense of “library as place” for their distance learning populations. The presenters discussed how they used technology and the human touch to address issues of access, environment, resources, point of need, instruction, and “being real”. This is a brief and worthwhile article with several easy-to-implement tips for distance library services. S. Clark

Casey, A. M. (2012). The knowledge base as an extension of distance learning reference service. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 212-223.
In this article Anne Marie Casey reports the results of her study of distance learning librarians’ opinions on the practicality, feasibility, and desirability of a knowledge base developed from institutional virtual reference interactions to support distance learners. Casey administered a survey to distance learning librarians via an electronic mailing list and conducted follow-up telephone interviews with volunteer respondents. The survey was designed to gather information about librarians’ current use of knowledge bases and their interest in implementing and maintaining them. The majority of survey respondents (76%) reported that their libraries don’t have a knowledge base. Of those, 59% are unsure they would implement one. The main reasons given in the survey were workload and quality control issues, privacy and intellectual property concerns, and the fact that reference interactions do not produce standard answers. Additional issues that were mentioned in the telephone interviews were intended audience for the knowledge base and buy in from staff. Telephone interviews also revealed a lack of clarity regarding the term “knowledge base,” which might have led to misreporting in survey responses. Casey suggests, “This discrepancy may stem from the fact that many people think of a knowledge base as a term that applies more to information technology than to libraries.” Some librarians responding to the survey might not have equated electronic pathfinders, FAQs on their websites, and archived email transactions with knowledge bases. C. Barboza

Chisholm, E., & Lamond, H. M. (2012). Information literacy development at a distance: Embedded or reality? Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 224-234. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2012.705170
In this article, authors Chisholm and Lamond describe a project undertaken at Massey University (New Zealand) to integrate information literacy into distance education courses. The model, developed in 2010 and 2011, is based on the creation of “reusable online learning objects,” specifically generic in nature so as to facilitate re-use of learning objects across multiple disciplines. The learning objects used were a “collection of screen casts and online presentations.” The authors determined that there were four factors that influenced distance education students’ engagement with the learning objects. These factors were: placement of learning objects at the point of need, instructor referencing the learning objects, the need for information as a critical element of the course and a clear sense of the importance of the online component to success in the course. Lastly, the authors remind readers that unless librarians establish relationships with teaching faculty, information literacy content is ineffective. C. Caretto

Cote, D., Kraemer, B., Nahl, D., & Ashford, R. (2012). Academic librarians in second life.  Journal of Library Innovation, 3(1), 20-47.
Cote, Kraemer, Nahl, and Ashford attempt to outline the strengths and weaknesses of Second Life as a library platform. The article gives a brief overview of Second Life and its history as well as some speculation about what the future holds for Second Life and other virtual reality platforms. It goes on to provide the results from a survey given to 67 self-selected and self-identified Second Life librarians. The paper quickly covers the multiple choice responses and focuses a majority of its text on responses to the open-ended questions, covering both how they were coded and what they were. Responses, while mostly positive, do dig into the meat of the challenges of a Second Life presence, making this an excellent read for librarians who are considering providing these services. The article could also be used to illustrate to academic institutions benefits of the substantial time investments needed to provide virtual library services in Second Life. The point is made that Second Life is currently the most established and populated virtual reality software platform, but many results of the study could be transferred across platforms. K. Griffiths

de Groot, J., & Branch, J. L. (2011). Looking toward the future: Competences for 21st-century teacher-librarians. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 57(3), 288-297.
The article reports on a study that explored the experiences and attitudes of M Ed graduates of the Teacher Librarianship by Distance Learning (TLDL) program at the University of Alberta. The study, conducted through an online survey among a sample of twenty-eight recent graduates, found that the teacher-librarians viewed technological aspects and leadership issues as the key components to be addressed in their education. On the basis of the feedback, the courses of the TLDL program were restructured by including new courses or redesigning the irrelevant ones, so as to integrate those competencies needed for 21st-century teacher-librarians. The authors, who are instructors in the program, presume that the study could provide directions to other teacher-librarianship programs as well as continuing education programs. C. George

Diffin, J., Chirombo, F., Nangle, D., & de Jong, M. (2010). A point to share: Streamlining access services workflow through online collaboration, communication, and storage with Microsoft SharePoint. Journal of Web Librarianship, 4(2-3), 225-237.
The article explains the way in which the University of Maryland University College’s Document Management (DM) team developed a knowledge management system. The DM team decided to reorganize the existing print-dominated document management mechanism into an integrated Knowledge Management System (KMS). They have identified three crucial issues to be addressed for smooth functioning and creation of KMS: communication, collaboration and storage. After strategically analyzing the needs in terms of job responsibilities, available resources, and professional roles, the team selected MS SharePoint as the platform. The article elucidates the background of the change, the reasons for selecting the particular platform, implementation, and facilitation of collaboration, communication and storage efficiency. C. George

Erich, A. (2011). The role of the university library in the e-learning process. Proceedings of the International Conference on Library & Information Science/ Conferinta Internationala De Biblioteconomie Si Stiinta Informari, 289-292.
Erich discusses the changing role of the university library in the e-learning process. As university libraries become a key player in support of teaching, learning and information dissemination, their role as a collection of resources diminishes. As knowledge experts with the ability to identify, evaluate, organize, synthesize and communicate information and knowledge, the librarians impact universities’ strategic educational outcomes as a center of learning. Benefits and strategies of an e-learning systems are articulated as well as a framework (5 C’s): Connection; Content; Capacity; Conservation and Collaboration.  Additionally, a list of tactics to improve the relationship between e-learning and the university library suggests the crucial role libraries play in engaged teaching and research. M. Giltrud

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

Guder, C. (2010). Patrons and pedagogy: A look at the theory of connectivism. Public Services Quarterly, 6(1), 36-42.
This article introduces a new learning theory called “connectivism” and begins the discussion of how libraries and librarians can incorporate this theory into online library instruction and reference services. Beginning with a description of services libraries already offer, the article shows that libraries already do incorporate this new learning theory by being student-centered and helping students connect to the information they need. It continues, however, to discuss ways that libraries and librarians can increasingly incorporate this approach to learning into the services that are offered. C. Girton

Hartnett, E., & Thompson, C. (2010). From tedious to timely: Screencasting to troubleshoot electronic resource issues. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 22(3-4), 102-112.
In this article, the authors argue that screencasting can be used to assist patrons in more and different ways than librarians currently utilize. Screencasting programs and software are reviewed in this article, giving a reader who is new to this area good information on finding the right software for his or her needs. The authors also give specific examples of ways their libraries have used screencasting software to help troubleshoot issues. These examples are helpful, especially for those who are new to using screencasting to provide reference services. C. Girton

Hawes, S. (2011). Playing to win: Embedded librarians in online classrooms. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 5(1-2), 56-66.
This article provides a step-by-step account of how the author transformed library services to distance learning students at her library/university. The author proposes that this course of action can be used by other librarians who would like to provide additional reference services to online users. By using this plan, the author helped her library advance from only providing online chat during certain hours to expanding to embedded librarian services for online classes offered by the campus. C. Girton

Hemming, W., Johnstone, B. T., & Montet, M. (2012). Create a sense of place for the mobile learner. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(304), 312-322.
This article explores the notion of “library as place” in a virtual context (“virtual space as place”) with regard to Bucks Community College Library’s online offerings in response to its increasing population of mobile users. A model for the “virtual library as place” is introduced to provide a more holistic understanding of information literacy for online users. Expanding their work as embedded librarians to offering all online library users information literacy support, the authors also detail their library’s journey of creating a comprehensive mobile platform that links users to library resources and services, including different modes of research assistance. With the authors adopting the standpoint of all library users being potential distance or online library users, this article is intended for librarians serving on-campus as well as distance education populations. A. Knight

Herring, S. (2010). Research on libraries and distance education: An analysis of articles published 1999-2009. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(3), 137-146.
Citations, abstracts, and indexing terms for 472 professional journal articles on library services in distance education, published from 1999 through 2009, were analyzed to determine major topics, key issues, trends in research, methodologies used, and to identify leading journals. Major databases were searched and citations downloaded and entered into Excel to create the research database. Duplicates and short items were eliminated, leaving only research articles. Up to three key concepts were identified for each article, totaling fifty-eight and then consolidated into thirteen broad categories. Methodologies were identified from article abstracts. Categories, methodologies, and individual journals were analyzed for frequency of use over time. The most frequently occurring broad category was Access to services and resources with 23%. After that, Instruction was second at 15%, Management third at 9%, with Impact and Issues and Technology both at 8%. A count of research methodologies found Descriptive examples at 153, Survey, 54, Mixed methods, 32, Case study, 20. Over time, Descriptive examples decreased from 80% to 33% of the annual total as use of more diverse methodologies increased. The 472 articles appeared in 123 journals with only eight publishing ten or more articles. Shown to increase over time were both the frequency of articles and the complexity and sophistication of research methodologies. H. Gover

Hill, J., & Patterson, C. (2013). Assessment from a distance: A case study implementing focus groups at an online library. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 20(3-4), 399-413. doi:10.1080/10691316.2013.829376

Hoffman, S., & Ramin, L. (2010). Best practices for librarians embedded in online courses. Public Services Quarterly, 6(2-3), 292-305.
Best practices were derived from a selective review of the most recent literature, a case study of Ramin’s experiences as an embedded librarian, and Hoffman’s mixed-methods study of embedded librarianship at six institutions. The literature review was divided into the following categories: equivalent access, institutional relevancy, faculty interest, purposes, activities, different models, and role of the librarian. The most significant outcome of the mixed-methods study was that personal interaction with a librarian builds a stronger relationship between online students or instructors and the library, perhaps even with the institution itself. A librarian’s presence in an online course is more than an academic solution: it is a powerful outreach tool. The derived best practices were organized into four overall categories: preparing and developing the service; time management; use of the course management software; and avoiding technical problems. H. Gover

Holloway, K. (2011). Outreach to distance students: A case study of a new distance librarian. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 5(1-2), 25-33.
This article details the development of a new distance librarian and the methods she used to educate distance students and perform outreach at California State University-Bakersfield. The author recommends a study of the library’s distance population and their demographics and then using that information to focus on initiatives that will reach the largest amount of students. Among the methods that are discussed are faculty-librarian collaboration, reference interviews (both in-person and online), and embedded librarianship. The author stresses the need for a mix of traditional librarianship, technology and creativity to achieve results. C. Hanrahan

Huang, L. (2010). Planning and implementation framework for a hybrid e-learning model: The context of a part-time LIS postgraduate programme. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 42(1), 45-69.
Due to the lack of a well-structured full-time graduate program for library and information science in Taiwan, a need for a part-time online program has been identified. This article explores what it would take to develop such a program (in terms of finances, marketing and feasibility) and also names some of the strengths and weaknesses of online learning in terms of student success. It identifies a four-element model (cost, service, quality and flexibility) that should be taken into account when pursuing this type of opportunity. The article also clarifies what is needed for other institutions considering this type of program. C. Hanrahan

Johnson, K., & Fabbro, E. (2013). The role of academic libraries. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed., pp. 231-245). New York: Routledge.

Kearns, L. R., & Frey, B. A. (2010). Web 2.0 technologies and back channel communication in an online learning community. Techtrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 54(4), 41-51.
This article explored which web 2.0 technologies were used by participants to communicate with each other outside the formal structure of courses. In the context of study of online learning community development, surveys were distributed to library science students and focus groups were implemented. Distance learning students used more technologies than campus based students. While younger students tended to prefer mobile technologies aimed at socializing, older students tended to experiment more with a wider range of web tools focused on collaborative learning. The most frequent topics of communication were related to assignment and program requirements. L. Haycock

Leonard, E., & Morasch, M. J. (2012). If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere: Providing reference and instructional library services in the virtual environment. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 24(4), 257-267. doi:10.1080/1941126X.2012.731946
This article focuses on professional competencies that sustain quality, user-centered service and support of online students. Poignant scholarship and interview responses illustrate successful online librarianship in terms of reference, instruction, liaison work, technology proficiency, and even character traits. Notably, the sections on intellectual property competencies remind North American readers to remain aware of issues involving restricted information access and censorship affecting members of international communities and library users abroad. Library schools are also called upon to support student learning in this area in addition to the more standard information technology, interpersonal communication, and instruction competencies. The tips and insights offered throughout may serve as a provocative primer for those new to online librarianship, as well as a salutary reminder for those of us actively serving online users and mentoring future librarians. A. Knight

Lester J. (2011). Use of adjunct faculty in delivery of distance education in ALA-accredited LIS master’s programs in the U.S. and Canada. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science, 52(3), 212-237.
It should come as no surprise that adjunct faculty are being employed more and more these days in the delivery of distance education across the curriculum. This article narrows the focus and explores the results of a study on the use of adjunct faculty in delivery of distance education by ALA-accredited master’s programs. It provides an overview of the literature, purpose of the study, methodology, findings, limitations and further research. In short, the results show adjunct faculty are employed to a greater degree in distance education delivery than in overall course delivery in these master’s programs. J. Hutson

Li, P. (2013). Effect of distance education on reference and instructional services in academic libraries. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(1), 77-96. doi:10.1080/10875301.2013.804018

Marken, J., & Dickinson, G. (2013). Perceptions of community of practice development in online graduate education. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science, 54(4), 299-306.

Mehra, B., Black, K., & Lee, S. (2010). Perspectives of east Tennessee’s rural public librarians about the extent of need for professional library education: A pilot study. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science, 51(3), 142-157.
A pilot study of the educational and training needs of rural librarians in East Tennessee was conducted to inform curriculum development at the University of Tennessee’s (UT) School of Information Science (SIS). Data was collected via a self-administered web-based survey, ongoing feedback from regional public librarians, and anecdotal feedback from regional planning and other library network gatherings. Analysis of the feedback indicated key information needs of the communities, key activities by rural information professionals, and a strong need for professional library education among library staff. This evidence resulted in a 2009-2012 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to recruit and provide scholarships for rural East Tennessee paraprofessional library staff to enroll in an individually-tailored Library and Information Science master’s degree via UT SIS’ synchronous distance education program. J. Hutton

Mirtz, R. (2010). Spatial metaphors and distance learning library services: Why ‘where’ makes a difference. Journal of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 857-866. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488984
In a critical essay, Ruth Mirtz found that the terms used to describe distance-learning programs could affect the policies, attitudes, and services to distance learners we serve. For example, universities use common terms such as extension, outreach, continuing, and distance to describe their missions and services provided for distance learners; however, those same terms often carry other meanings, steeped with historical or metaphorical implications, suggesting that distance learning programs are somehow unequal or mere separate appendages of the operations at the central university. Several examples are included to illustrate the metaphorical uses of some of the terms. Mirtz contends that librarians should remain committed to offering equal services and resources to face-to-face library users, as well as the distance learners, regardless of the labels used to define them. M. Thomas

Mon, L. (2010). A virtual graduation ceremony for online distance students. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 33(4). Retrieved from
Even though online education is increasing, students taking online courses have been shown to have increased levels of frustration and drop out at a higher rate than their on-campus counterparts. Florida State University experimented with hosting a virtual graduation ceremony in Second Life for graduates of the College of Communication and Information. The author provides a detailed overview of the planning process, identifies some of the issues that arose, and suggests improvements that may be made for future virtual ceremonies. A. Kepsel

Mon, Lorri, M. (2012). Professional avatars: Librarians and educators in virtual worlds. Journal of Documentation, 68(3), 318-329. doi:10.1108/00220411211225566
This study examines the establishment of identity and place in library and educational settings within the virtual world Second Life (SL). Feedback from interviews conducted with librarians and educators offer insight on strategic creation and habitation of professional “virtual selves” via avatars to evoke confidence in SL residents holding prominent notions of virtual worlds as gaming rather than learning environments. This article also serves in a broader capacity for those interested in game-based learning to consider the use of virtual spaces and identities to achieve desired learning outcomes. A. Knight

Morrison, K., & Priest, A. (2010). Intute Mobile Internet Detective. ALISS Quarterly 5(3), 18-20. Retrieved from
The Internet Detective is an online tutorial from Intute used to assist students with finding and using reliable information on the Internet. This article looks at the results of market research conducted by Intute in order to insure that a new mobile version of the tutorial meets the requirements of users. Results of the study revealed insight into users’ needs as well as how they use the Internet for academic research. A brief discussion of how Intute modified their new mobile product to appeal to their target audience is provided. A. Kepsel

Mullins, James L. (2012). Are MLS graduates being prepared for the changing and emerging roles that librarians must now assume within research libraries? Journal of Library Administration, 52(1), 124-132. doi:10.1080/01930826.2011.629966
Research libraries are being challenged to hire librarians with skills in technology, along with good interpersonal and communication skills. Research librarians are also being asked to help establish and work with new partnerships both on and off campus. These changing roles for research librarians have resulted in defining new roles while actually occupying these positions. Mullins’ purpose was to determine ways to ensure the training of MLS students to adequately address these roles. He conducted a volunteer, random study to ask nine questions regarding the hiring of new LIS graduates during the past three years. Nine respondents participated and the mean number of hires was five. Based on the responses, Mullins concluded that there will be a need for training after the new hire begins and that no assumptions could be made that all requisite skills would be present at hiring. However, Mullins also concluded that new hires would possess a desire to explore the possibilities for what could be and to  look at this as an opportunity.  D.B. Geier

Nicholas, P. (2010). Desk to the desktop–Digital reference service leveraging educational assistance in distance learning: Implications for Jamaica. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(1-2), 18-29.
Universities in Jamaica are increasingly moving towards digital library services due to distributed student populations and the geographical spread of teaching sites. The author gives a brief overview of reference services and current approaches. Asynchronous and synchronous approaches to reference services are identified. The issues to be considered in implementing digital references services in Jamaica are applicable to any library considering a digital approach. A. Kepsel

Nickel, L. T., & Mulvihill, R. G. (2010). Serving unaffiliated distance learners: Strategies that work. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(3), 87-95.
Libraries everywhere are challenged to serve patrons in their own communities who are taking distance classes. University libraries are challenged trying to serve students who never enter the doors of the library. Rather than turn away from serving these patrons, libraries should create ways to attract unaffiliated users. As “twenty somethings” or older adults, these users already feel comfortable using libraries in their own communities. Many institutions offering distance classes also offer full-service libraries, but this article suggests ways for libraries to purposefully reach out to unaffiliated users. A lot of communication can be done through the library’s web site to market services that a library can offer to these patrons. Clear communication about available services will empower and welcome unaffiliated users, making them successful students no matter where they take their classes. J. Kind

Pitts, J., Coleman, J., & Bonella, L. (2013). Using distance patron data to improve library services and cross-campus collaboration. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(1), 55-75.

Raraigh-Hopper, J. (2010). Improving library services for distance learners: A literature review. Reference Librarian, 51(1), 69-78. doi:10.1080/02763870903389384
The author’s stated purpose is to compare library services provided to on-campus against services provided to off-campus students. Two of the reviewed articles showed that off campus students want convenience, familiarity and speed when searching; that online tutorials may enhance the familiarity factor and that using Bloom’s Taxonomy in developing online tutorials may aid in teaching effective research methods. Electronic reserves, embedded librarians, live chat, online subject and style guides can help bridge the gap between distance students and the library. Other suggestions for improving distance services are to maintain strong relationships between faculty and librarians, to assess and monitor services monthly, and to respond quickly to assessment data. N. Mactague

Roberts, S., & Hunter, D. (2011). New library, new librarian, new student: Using LibGuides to reach the virtual student. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 5(1-2), 67-75.
This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using LibGuides as an online learning and content management tool. Librarians at Chattanooga State Community College introduced LibGuides in 2009, in an effort to expand outreach information literacy services to distance learners. In addition to providing a brief overview of the early use of print based pathfinders, the authors describe the benefits of virtual subject guides to librarians, faculty and students at Chattanooga State. These benefits include 24/7 remote access to library resources; links to embedded content such as databases, OPAC’s, course reserves, and video tutorials; easily customized and updated content; and greater collaboration between librarians and teaching faculty, because of administrative capabilities in the LibGuides interface. The authors note that although the use of virtual learning tools may hold greater appeal to those students with stronger self-motivation, feedback from the college community was mostly positive. L. Marcus

Robinson, J., & Kim, D. (2010). Creating customizable subject guides at your library to support online, distance and traditional education: Comparing three self-developed and one commercial online subject guide. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 4(4), 185-196.
In the Spring 2010 semester, librarians at Murray State University made the switch from self-developed online subject guides to Springshare’s LibGuides learning management system. This study compares three self-developed in house guides with the commercially produced LibGuides. Authors Robinson and Kim also examine the role of virtual subject guides in expanding distance learning programs and offer recommendations to institutions just entering the realm of online learning management systems. Results of the study indicate that integration of Web 2.0 technologies is a key factor in the use of self-developed and commercially produced guides. In addition, the availability of systems librarians to collaborate with librarians and faculty is crucial to the successful integration of these guides into information literacy and distance learning programs. L. Marcus

Shell, L. B., Duvernay, J., Ewbank, A., Konomos, P., Leaming, A., & Sylvester, G. (2010). A comprehensive plan for library support of online and extended education. Journal of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 951-971. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488996
Responding to the increased institutional emphasis on online education at Arizona State University (ASU), the ASU Libraries formed a task force to make recommendations on information literacy and access to library materials for students enrolled in online courses and degree programs. The Online and Extended Education (ONYX) Task Force met during summer and fall of 2009 to develop the Comprehensive Plan for Library Support of Online Programs which includes: 1) craft guiding principles for supporting online students and programs; 2) conduct a needs assessment and environmental scan; and 3) recommend a sustainable and scalable plan for library support of online and extended education. This article is a detailed discussion of the process of developing the plan. R. Ulrey

Solorzano, R. M. (2013). Adding value at the desk: How technology and user expectations are changing reference work. Reference Librarian, 54(2), 89-102.

Sullo, E., Harrod, T., Butera, G., & Gomes, A. (2012). Rethinking library service to distance education students: Analyzing the embedded librarian model. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 31(1), 25-33. doi:10.1080/02763869.2012.641822
Embedded librarians work directly with their customers either in physical locations, such as an academic department, or in a virtual space, as in a computer-based distance learning setting.  In 2009 the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library at The George Washington University launched a virtual embedded librarian service to better understand the needs of distance education students and to raise their awareness of library resources and services.  Students received individual attention and support from the librarians, who were able to proactively address the students’ needs. A survey revealed seven categories of student questions, including citation management and using library resources, enabling future programs to target areas of greatest need. The service grew from one librarian embedded in one class to six librarians in numerous classes and multiple class sections in just two years. Anecdotal feedback, as well as the rapid growth of the service, indicates the value of Himmelfarb’s embedded librarian program and the feasibility of using embedded librarians in health sciences education. In future semesters pre- and post-surveys will be used to assess students’ experiences with using library resources and their opinions of librarians’ participation in classes. Librarians identified several best practices for serving distance education students, including the importance of pre-planning with course instructors, the value of introductions by the instructors and by the librarians themselves, and the need to leverage technology beyond the discussion board and e-mail. M. Heyd

Turner, D., & Myer, S. (2010). Creating a media-rich online induction. SCONUL Focus, (48), 13-16.
Turner and Myer, librarians at Teesside University in the United Kingdom, describe how they redesigned their Web-based induction (orientation) program for off-campus students so that it would be as engaging and interactive as the library’s face-to-face orientation for on-campus students. The authors discuss limitations they faced, such as limited time and relatively little experience producing videos. However, as Turner and Myer note, students probably do not expect absolutely professional-quality video, because they are used to more informal content on sites like Youtube. The authors go on to describe their goals for the online orientation and methods of evaluating it, including gathering feedback from students. This article is an insightful account of how librarians planned and produced video content for a library orientation for off-campus learners; it will be of interest to distance librarians facing similar tasks. R. Miller

Weissman, N., & Swan, K. (2013). Bringing the librarian to online courses: Cognitive, social, and teaching presence. In A. Sigal (Ed.), Advancing library education: Technological innovation and instructional design. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Whiting, P., & Orr, P. (2013). Evaluating library support for a new graduate program: Finding harmony with a mixed method approach. Serials Librarian, 64(1-4), 88-98.

Woodard, A. (2010). From zero to Web 2.0: Part 3. Computers in Libraries, 30(1), 27-28.
In the third installment of her report, the author examines the progress that Vise Library at Cumberland University has made toward implementing elements of Web 2.0 technology. Advances in online products such as tutorials and a Facebook presence have been made, while other areas remain works in progress. M. Schumacher


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