Friday, November 29, 2013

At A Distance: Fostering Library as a Place for Distance Students: Best Practices From Two Universities


The concept of library as a place is now in action in many academic libraries: from physical library spaces to Web presences. In the constantly growing market of online and distance learning, however, libraries must foster library as a place for students who may never set foot in the physical building. This article provides a profile of two universities serving two very different bodies of distance students as well as the challenges associated with these populations. These libraries work to provide services to distance students that cultivate the library as a place to go for learning, research, and support by focusing on six categories: access, environment,
resources, instruction, availability at the point of need, and “being real.” Tangible examples and best practices are provided throughout. This article is based on a presentation given at the 15th National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries in Philadelphia in March 2011.



By focusing on the needs of students at distance and maximizing options in the six categories
discussed, NU and UNCG are fostering library as a place for distance students. The authors
believe that readers who explore the categories presented will find among them some ideas that
will help them implement ways to effectively foster at their own institutions the “library as a
place” for their online students.


Bryna Coonin , Beth Filar Williams & Heidi Steiner (2011) Fostering Library as a Place for Distance Students: Best Practices From Two Universities, Internet Reference Services
Quarterly, 16:4, 149-158, DOI: 10.1080/10875301.2012.618796

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