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2009

Ryckman, Brian. “Establishing a Baseline: History, Evolution and Evaluation of Grand Valley State University’s Off-Campus Library Services.” Journal of Library Administration 49, no. 1-2 (January 1, 2009): 75-88. 
In 2006, as part of a complete reorganization of the library as a whole, the Off-Campus Library Services unit (OCLS) at Grand Valley State University was disbanded. In its place, library subject liaisons took up the duties of serving both on- and off-campus students and faculty in the liaisons’ respective departments. After a year of the new, distributed service model, the library wanted to gauge the impact of the new model. Toward that end, the library conducted a study to determine faculty awareness of, and attitudes toward, library services. Working in collaboration with departmental administrators, the library surveyed all teaching faculty in four departments that offer distance classes. The survey assessed faculty’s attitudes in categories such as the importance of library instruction, the importance of accessible print and electronic resources, and the importance of library services overall. Survey results included the following: 70% of faculty respondents require students to use library resources; and a majority of faculty were aware of many library resources such as databases and free document delivery. The authors discuss plans for enhancing library services to distance students and faculty. One possible initiative is a marketing campaign in collaboration with the university’s institutional marketing department. Strengthening partnerships with other university entities, such as the continuing education department, is also planned.  R. Miller

Shepley, S. “Building a Virtual Campus: Librarians as Collaborators in Online Course Development and Learning.” Journal of Library Administration 49, no. 1/2 (2009): 89-96.
Librarians at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology built relationships with the Virtual Campus and its designers, subject specialists, graphic designers and faculty, involving the librarians directly in course development, management and instruction.  A librarian is assigned to each online course, working directly with the course designer and subject specialist to identify needed resources and services, and develop specialized instruction for students.  N. Mactague

Matesic, Gina. “Every Step You Change: A Process of Change and Ongoing Management.” Journal of Library Administration 49, no. 1-2 (January 1, 2009): 35-49. 
The Off-Campus and Distance Education Library Service (OCDELS) at the University of Manitoba provides reference and document-delivery services for off-campus students. OCDELS is one department within the larger university library. The author was hired as a full-time librarian in charge of OCDELS, and she describes how she went about learning the systems that were in place when she arrived and the process by which she implemented changes. Her initial activities included meeting with stakeholders in the university’s distance education program and in the larger library of which OCDELS is a part (collaboration with librarians responsible for on-campus services was essential). The author also conducted an environmental scan, examining the Web sites of other distance library programs and conducting a literature search. One major change that the author initiated was to replace OCDELS’ paper-based document-delivery processing system with an online request form and corresponding back-end database. The new online system permitted helpful statistics to be generated more easily and for workflow to be analyzed to identify inefficiencies. The author worked in collaboration with library information-technology staff to create the online system. The new system was introduced gradually and only after close consultation with stakeholders. Also, open communication was encouraged to help library staff deal with the stress that results from change.  R. Miller


2008

Blankenship, Emily F. “Aligning the Assessment Process in Academic Library Distance Education Services Using the Nash Model for Improved Demonstration and Reporting of Organizational Performance.” Journal of Library Administration 48, no. 3 (2008): 317-328. 
Academic libraries today are faced with having to justify their online distance education service environments since distance education is growing rapidly. In this article, the author uses the Nash Model for Improved Demonstration and Reporting of Organizational Performance to help libraries align themselves with the distance education environment that they support. There are six components that are involved in the Nash Model:  library leadership, the stakeholder, the capacity of the library to perform assessment processes, technology, and participation. The author concludes that these tools can be used to assess one’s libraries’ distance education service and make any improvements in that area.  R. McWilliams

Block, Judy. “Distance Education Library Services Assessment.” The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship 9, no. 3 (Winter 2008). 
This paper reports the process and results of a series of assessment methodologies used by the Distance Learning Librarian at Eastern Michigan University. The author outlines the role of assessment in distance librarianship, explains the application of authentic assessment within a distance education program, and outlines a process of assessing students’ information literacy skills at a selection of regional campuses. The paper outlines the methods by which the author assesses the services and skills of distance students, including a web-based questionnaire, web-based survey, and a survey distributed in person at a selection of regional campuses. The paper also details the results of surveys distributed at regional campuses.  B. Fagerheim

Cassner, Mary and Kate E. Adams.  “The Subject Specialist Librarian’s Role in Providing Distance Learning Services.” Journal of Library Administration 48, no. 3/4 (2008): 391-410. 
To identify the current practices of subject librarians in serving distance learners, a survey of academic librarians in either subject specialist or distance librarian roles was conducted in December 2007.  The survey questions covered services and activities, research and instructional support methods, use of technologies, course management software use, collaborative activity with distance librarians, course assessment participation, inter-institutional collaboration and the changing role of the subject librarian.  A noted unexpected response was that a distinct distance librarian position did not exist in many libraries.  The authors conclude that the skill set for subject librarians is evolving and that the job responsibilities of subject and distance librarians increasingly coincide as they meet the needs of a changing student population.  J. Hutton

Grays, L. “Building a Better M.I.C.E. Trap: Using Virtual Focus Groups to Assess Subject Guides for Distance Education Students.” Journal of Library Administration 48, no. 3/4 (2008): 431-454. 
To obtain feedback about the effectiveness of online subject guides, the authors conducted virtual focus groups with distance students. The authors discuss the importance of subject guides, or pathfinders, in providing information to students. Little has been done to determine if these guides are actually useful, however. A virtual focus group methodology was chosen as a way to gather feedback from distance learners enrolled in online hospitality courses, specifically researching the topic area known as M.I.C.E. (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions), from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Because the data gathered from the virtual focus group sessions is very specific to one library, it is not presented in the article. Instead, the authors provide a brief discussion of the variables that need to be considered when using this research method.  N. Marshall


2007

Needham, Gill, and Kay Johnson. “Ethical Issues in Providing Library Services to Distance Learners.” Open Learning 22, no. 2 (2007): 117-128. The authors used library codes of ethics and guidelines for library distance services (established by national library organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom) as a basis for a proposed set of ethical guidelines to govern library support for distance learners. The authors’ guidelines comprise ten “key principles” covering ethical issues, such as an institution’s responsibility to provide library services to distance learners equal to those that on-campus students enjoy, the recognition that distance learners may require different and more personalized service than on-campus users, confidentiality and privacy, intellectual freedom, copyright; professional development for the distance librarian, and so on. The authors examine each key principle from the perspective of their own experience and raise interesting questions unique to distance learning, for example: how to serve students in other countries and when telephone support, book delivery and other services may be compromised by the geographic distance involved. The authors note that such problems must be acknowledged and dealt with, and ethical guidelines for distance services can help librarians frame the discussion and take appropriate action.  R. Miller


2006

Adams, Mignon. “Distant Learners and the Library.” Library Issues: Briefings for Faculty and Administrators 2006, no. 2 (2006): 1-3. 
The author describes barriers that prevent distance students and faculty from using the library and offers suggestions to overcome those barriers. Distance students may lack the time to visit their school’s physical library, and other factors may prevent the students from using online library resources: the students’ lack of experience with virtual libraries, faculty members’ not promoting library use, and the library itself not making sufficient outreach efforts to distance students. On the school’s part, there may be an “administrative distance” between the library and the university’s distance education program; departmental administrators, faculty, and instructional designers may not be aware of opportunities to collaborate with the library. To remedy such situations, the author suggests several measures, including appointing a librarian as liaison to the distance education department, creating a library Web page specifically for distance services, and establishing a library presence in online classes. The author also advocates improved document delivery to distance students. Additionally, faculty should be aware of copyright issues governing reserved readings and other texts in online classes, an area in which the library can help.  R. Miller

Cassner, Mary, and Kate E Adams. “Assessing the Professional Development Needs of Distance Librarians in Academic Libraries.” Journal of Library Administration 45, no. 1 (2006): 81-99. 
The authors undertook an empirical study of distance librarians’ professional development needs, seeking anonymous survey responses from the OFFCAMP listserv late in 2005.  Respondents stated that listservs, professional journal articles, monographs, and distance learning conferences were most important, and that workshops and classes were least important in meeting professional development needs.  To support future development, respondents stated they need increased funding, time, and administrative support, and they predicted that learning more about instructional technology and Web page design will be important in the next five years.  N. Mactague