2003

Watson, Elizabeth F. Developing Library and Information Services for Distance Education. Knowledge Series. Vancouver, BC: Commonwealth of Learning, 2003. Online. Available: http://www.col.org/knowledge/ks_libraryinfo.htm or http://www.col.org/knowledge/pdf/ks_library.pdf.pdf
This guide is part of the Commonwealth of Learning’s Knowledge Series, which publishes discreet guides in various areas of distance education practice and delivery. The author explains that distance education students need libraries and librarians as much as traditional on-campus students do. She then proceeds to outline, in a bulleted format, the numerous factors that make a successful service, starting with establishing guidelines that meet the institution’s mission and programs and also adhere to professional requirements and standards. There is an excellent section on planning distance library services that discusses cost considerations and effective public relations to educate students, administrators, and faculty about the benefits the library offers to distance education students. The author then rounds out the topic by considering the importance of timeliness, quality, and use of a personal touch in document delivery, reference, database searches, and bibliographic and literacy instruction. She also discusses technology, especially in developing countries, and ways to overcome challenges a librarian may face in providing library services to distance students. E. Onega.

2002

Barsun, Rita. “It’s My Library, Too, Isn’t It?” In The Tenth Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Cincinnati, Ohio, April 17-19, 2002, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2002, 41-60. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 37, no. 1/2 (2002): 59-82.
The ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services delineate certain stipulations for assuring quality services to distance education students, yet despite the efforts to insure quality services and resources, many students enrolled in distance education courses, for a variety of reasons beneficial to them, prefer to use local library facilities, public or academic. Discussed in this article are examples of some of the types of agreements and partnerships between local academic and public libraries and the challenges that may result in response to libraries’ attempts to accommodate the remote user. Institutions offering distance education courses are responsible for providing adequate resources and services for distance learners enrolled in their programs; thus, distance education librarians at “home” libraries have the obligation to inform students of policies regarding cooperative agreements feasible to local libraries. Results of several user questionnaires and institutional surveys are given, as well as appendices and an extensive bibliography. M. Thomas.

Brett, Julie. “Distance Learning Zones: A Pilot Project.” In Libraries Without Walls 4: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users, edited by Peter Brophy, Shelagh Fisher, and Zoë Clarke. London: Facet Publishing, 2002, 19-28.
Supporting the library and information needs of thousands of “trans-national” post-graduate distance learners overseas enrolled in UK institutions is the aim of the British Council. The Distance Learning Zone pilot project was designed to carry out these objectives by providing access to information professionals, local access to resources, interlibrary loan, ICT training, and social and networking opportunities. Before the project began, the distance learners and the information professionals were given a survey to assess their perceived needs and expectations of the project. Upon its completion, these needs and expectations will be evaluated again and progress of future developments in the project will be reported on the Council’s website. M. Thomas.

Brett, Julie. “Distance Learning Zones: Providing Library and Information Support to Global Distance Learners.” ASSIGNation 19, no. 3 (April 2002): 23-26.
There are a large number of worldwide learners that are affiliated with higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. According to this article, over seventy institutions offer global learning in over thirty countries. The British Council, which promotes UK education overseas, has established a pilot project to assist with library and information support services. The concept of Distance Learning Zones was created to provide customized support services to distance learning students worldwide. The author describes the services provided and the future of the project. T. Summey.

Burge, Elizabeth J. “Behind-the-Screen Thinking: Key Factors for Librarianship in Distance Education.” In Libraries Without Walls 4: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users, edited by Peter Brophy, Shelagh Fisher, and Zoë Clarke. London: Facet Publishing, 2002, 7-15.
The author urges consideration of several “behind-the-screen” issues facing distance education librarians today. The World Wide Web for library instruction is increasingly being used to deliver training, services, and research and curriculum support to remote learners. Web-based instruction requires a different set of competencies and skills for librarians than traditional instruction; therefore, library professionals must continue to develop skills formally through library school or professional development via self-directed study or through collaboration with instructional course designers. The author feels that there is a need for additional research studies regarding international distance education; however, several significant studies already completed are discussed. Future trends for distance librarianship must focus on the changing organization and structure of library services. User needs for distance learners are changing and libraries must be ready to meet those needs with enhanced electronic services, involvement in the learning process, commitment to information literacy, increased collaboration with teaching faculty, and increased development and expansion of library cooperation. M. Thomas.

2001

Alemna, A. A. “The Role of Libraries in Ghana with the Introduction of the Distance Education Project.” Education Libraries Journal 44, no. 3 (Autumn 2001): 19-22.
Limited access to education, geographically remote areas, and insufficient training opportunities are examples of challenges addressed by distance education in various countries. The rise of distance education in response to these challenges in tertiary (higher) education is briefly discussed. In Ghana, a demand for tertiary education that outpaces availability has led to a growth in distance education. Libraries in Ghana play an important role and face challenges in adequately supporting these relatively new programs. Ghana libraries must, according to the author, increase and stabilize staffing, broaden lending policies, build collections and increase networking capabilities. Special libraries, which usually have better facilities than other libraries, and public and community libraries, with branches throughout the country, should be utilized in serving distance education students. The author concludes with a call for increased government funding of libraries and the establishment of a National Library in Ghana. J. Markgraf.

Balas, Janet L. “Distance Services: Researching Today’s State-of-the-Art Technology.” Computers in Libraries 21, no. 4 (April 2001): 56-58.
Selected resources useful for researching information on the latest technology in distance education services are summarized in this article. The Video Conferencing Cookbook web site, which features an introduction to videoconferencing technology, standards, useful applications, evaluation, and the current state of videoconferencing is highlighted. Some selected regional and international web-based distance learning sites are also discussed. The author states that information and support for researching technology in distance services may also be found in resources available from professional organizations, such as the Association of College and Research Libraries Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services, Library and Information Technology Association, and some European initiatives. A list of the web sites discussed is included. M. Thomas.

Bargellini, Maria Laura and Luciana Bordoni. “The Role of the Library in a New Learning Scenario.” The Electronic Library 19, no. 3 (2001): 153-157.
Newer technologies have helped bring about an increased number of individuals involved with distance learning activities. Users now have access to a variety of electronic technologies, such as CD-ROM, electronic bulletin boards, the Web, and multimedia hypertexts. Librarians serve a vital role in assisting the user in the development of efficient research skills in filtering and evaluating the abundance of information available. In addition, libraries must continue to facilitate in the availability and storage of digital information. The authors add that several government agencies in the US and in other nations have shown support for research in digital libraries for improvement of information filtering and artificial intelligence applications. There should be a balance between the technological aspects and the librarian’s role in serving the needs of the adult distance learner. M. Thomas.

Gupta, Dinesh K. “Library Services to Distance Learners in India.” New Review of Libraries and Lifelong Learning 2 (2001): 171-181.
India has a long history of providing educational opportunities by means of distance education to learners enrolled in the country’s many correspondence institutes and open universities and the author contends that the library should be at the heart of the educational system. Several key issues are outlined in this review of recent research in library service to distance learners in India. Issues included in this paper cover the role of libraries in distance and open learning, management scheme, collection development, information needs, public libraries’ role, information technology, networking and resource sharing, and library systems. According to the author, research in library services to distance learners reflects a need for a greater amount of research works to be undertaken. The paper concludes with a list of research topics for future orientation. M. Thomas.

Mizoue, Chieko. “Distance Higher Education and Library Services in Japan.” In Supporting the Student in Open and Distance Learning: Proceedings of the 9th Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning, Collected Conference Papers, October 2001. Milton Keynes, UK: Open University, 2001.151-158.
Distance learning in Japan has grown from the initial use of correspondence courses in the late 1940s to approximately 240,000 students involved in higher education. Delivery of library services needs to be strengthened. The University of the Air has established Study Centers that are supplied with collections. Some schools have donated collections of books to local libraries to support their students. However, a stronger relationship between all types of libraries including public libraries should be encouraged in order to provide students with adequate resources. Libraries in Japan should extend their hours and their goals of library service through reciprocal agreements. I. Frank.

2000

Brophy, Peter and Alan MacDougall. “Lifelong Learning and Libraries.” New Review of Libraries and Lifelong Learning 1 (2000): 3-17.
Initiatives toward lifelong learning have long been a national priority in support of enhancing education and economic prosperity of its citizens in the UK. This paper traces the development of the concept of “lifelong learning” and describes some government initiatives and policy documents aimed at promoting Britain’s efforts to insure lifelong learning opportunities to all. The strengths and limitations of ICT-based networks and virtual university environments are put forward and the authors emphasize that libraries, public and academic, must capitalize upon the opportunity to play a key role in student-centered lifelong by providing a wide range of support and services, not excluding traditional library services. Academic libraries face a number challenges, such as ensuring basic services and access to a variety of quality resources, interlibrary cooperation, and a convergence between libraries and computing services. M. Thomas.

Bundy, Alan. “A Window of Opportunity: Libraries and Learning in the 21st Century.” Paper presented at the Australian Library and Information Association Distance Education Special Interest Group Conference Flexible Learning – The New Paradigm Monash University, Gippsland 13-14 February 2000.
This paper addresses the library’s essential role in terms of the of convergences between distance education and conventional education and partnerships between teaching faculty and librarians, with emphasis on meeting the information and lifelong learning needs of the distance learner. The recent increase in the numbers of individuals pursuing flexible, lifelong learning opportunities reflects a shift in educational standard from library-centered to student-centered learning. The author reviews a number of examples of convergences from the viewpoints of leading North American, British and Australian distance educators’ included in the 1999 book, The Convergence of Distance and Conventional Education. The author urges librarians everywhere to depart from the reactive attitude that the library primarily exists to support and provide information management, to focus instead on their value as educational partners in the 21st century. M Thomas.

Ellison, John W. “Distance Learning for Today’s Librarian.” Library Review 49, no. 5 (2000): 240-242.
Depending on the instructor and learner needs, the delivery of distance education may take place through a variety of formats or combinations of formats, synchronous or asynchronous. The author cites some examples of the methods, including live television, ISDN broadcast to several locations, WebBulletin Board, CD-Rom, and more. Libraries of the institutions responsible providing the courses must ensure support through provision of resources to distance learners. The ways in which libraries do things have changed and the author indicates that it is essential that librarians be adequately prepared in all aspects in meeting the needs of the distance learner. This may be done through library school coursework, taking advantage of staff development and continuing education opportunities, and even realizing the needs of the distance learner first-hand by enrolling in a course as distance learner. M. Thomas.

Hall, Lorraine and Sally Curry. “Libraries Access Sunderland Scheme: The LASh Experience.” In Libraries Without Walls 3: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users, edited by Peter Brophy, Shelagh Fisher, and Zoë Clarke. London: Library Association Publishing, 2000, 84-97.
One successful partnership emerging from UK’s strong commitment to lifelong learning is the LASh (Libraries Access Sunderland Scheme) project. The project seeks to offer lifelong learners of the city of Sunderland seamless, convenient access to library collections and study space at the University of Sunderland, City College, and City Public libraries. Factors contributing to its success include strong commitment to the user, understanding of partners’ library systems and services, and a positive, determined approach at making the scheme work effectively. Also discussed is the SAILS (Staff Development for Access to Information and Learning in Sunderland) research project, whose aim was to focus on potential barriers that may hinder library use. These include human factors, such as lack of confidence and awareness among the users, increased staff training and development, and the all-important need for libraries to promote and market the library. The authors conclude that public and academic libraries should work together to face the challenges of serving the needs of the lifelong learner. M. Thomas.

Slade, Alexander L. “International Trends and Issues in Library Services for Distance Learning: Present and Future.” In Libraries Without Walls 3: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users, edited by Peter Brophy, Shelagh Fisher, and Zoë Clarke. London: Library Association Publishing, 2000, 6-48.
Outlined in this paper are some current international trends and issues emerging from the literature on the topic of library and information support to distance learners. The authors open with a list of terminology and definitions on distance learning. Broad issues such as budgets, consortia, virtual learning and other issues as they affect distance learning and libraries are discussed. Regarding the role academic libraries, key issues are examined, such as taking a proactive stance, moving toward a user-centered mindset, and strengthening partnerships with teaching faculty, computing personnel and with other types of library institutions. The literature finds that public libraries serve to support lifelong and open learning, particularly in the UK. Other overarching issues discussed are organization and planning issues, electronic resources and services, library instruction, the need for research on library services, and professional issues. Future trends are explored. M. Thomas.

Weyers, Richard. “Distance Learning Zones: Providing Global Information Support to Distance Learners.” In Libraries Without Walls 3: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users, edited by Peter Brophy, Shelagh Fisher, and Zoë Clarke. London: Library Association Publishing, 2000, 238-249.
Evidence shows that the market for distance learning courses in the UK is growing. One research report summarizes key issues and needs germane to the distance learning student. Most of the issues involve insuring quality service, the student’s need for library resources, the value of contact librarians at the host university, diverse educational background, and ICT issues. Overseas learners need open communication with the instructor, their colleagues, and resources. This communication may combine conventional library services with technology-based instruction. The author outlines barriers facing providers of service to distance learners, as well as tools, support and library services needed to meet those challenges. The financial means to make all this possible requires funding and collaboration with other institutions is the key to the provision of quality access and resources. M. Thomas.

1999

Mansilla, Eduardo Villanueva. “A Brief Presentation on the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Peruvian Libraries.” In [Proceedings of the] ICDE Librarians’ Roundtable, 11-12 October, 1999, The Open University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Open University of Hong Kong, 1999, 46-48. ERIC ED 438 832. Also online. Available: http://www.ouhk.edu.hk/10th/roundtable/peru.pdf (in pdf format)
Following a brief overview of the conditions in the country of Peru, the author appraises the current state of the library profession, Internet connectivity, Library services and institutions, and the technology market in the country. The two library schools in Peru, both at Lima, teach at the B.A. level. Public and school libraries tend to rely on local authority for library resources and it is estimated that the conditions in public and school libraries are poor. Estimates show that 3% of the population has access to the Internet, mostly in the larger cities and at academic institutions. The National Library, head of the National Information System, faces certain limitations, such as lack of a national bibliographic agency, limited interlibrary cooperation, and lack of a standards agency. A limited number of public university libraries provide web-accessible library catalogs and some libraries have created their own system. M. Thomas.