Barsun, Rita. “Postsecondary Distance Learners and Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities.” Indiana Libraries 21, no. 1 (2002):11-17.
An overview is given on how distance education librarians can help their students meet their library needs outside the academic library. The author looks at research that studies the natural tendency of DE students to expect their local public library to meet their research needs. They often turn to it because of ease of use, convenient parking, fast web access, and ILL services offered. However, they are frequently frustrated by their unrealistic expectations of the local library’s resources and services. The author presents examples of public libraries which, through grants and other funding sources, have successfully added programs and services to support community distance learners. In addition, she lists ways that academic librarians can forge formal and informal relationships to establish good working relationships with public libraries with DE students in their communities. The author stresses the importance of using tact when encouraging students to use primarily their academic library’s services while also establishing professional relationships with the students’ local libraries. The article contains three very useful appendices which include suggestions on how the public library can assist distance learners and how the academic librarian can help the public library in doing this. P. Ortega.

Davies, Rob. “PULMAN: Europe’s Network of Excellence for Public Libraries, Museums and Archives at Local Level.” 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, 231-237.
The PULMAN (Public Libraries Mobilising Advanced Networks) Network of Excellence encourages local or regional level cooperation and growth among public, museum, and other cultural institutions in European countries. The public library network includes coordinators representing 26 European countries, with plans for extended participation and further development. Its aims are to promote policy and practice sharing, to strengthen performance, and to spread strategic initiatives for the digital era throughout public libraries in Europe. The details of the work plans and organizational scheme are outlined and it is expected that the initiative will be complete by April 2003. M. Thomas.

Kanjilal, Uma. “Information and Communications Technologies, Libraries and Lifelong Learning: Prospects for India.” New Review of Libraries and Lifelong Learning 3 (2002): 17-26.
Libraries, especially public libraries, must take an active lead in consolidating, organizing and strengthening initiatives in information dissemination and lifelong learning in India, according to the author. An overview of the library system in India is presented, including a brief discussion of national, academic, government and special libraries. The emphasis of this article, however, is on public libraries, which face enormous challenges due to lack of resources and widespread illiteracy. The author describes several Information & Communications Technology (ITC) projects that have emerged in India to promote information dissemination, social and economic development and lifelong learning, particularly in rural areas. Public libraries, the author contends, must assume the role of integrating these projects, promoting literacy and emphasizing continuing education. J. Markgraf.

Nankivell, Clare and Juliet Eve. “Public Libraries Matter.” 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, 219-230.
The United Kingdom government has made investments to improve support provided to learners by the public libraries. In addition to providing additional funding sources, the Library and Information Commission published several key documents and steps were put into place to address some of the needs: infrastructure, content development and staff training. One major focus of the document New Library: The People’s Network was to develop ICT (information and communications technology) skills among public library staff. The “VITAL” project was initialized to assess the value of ICT services through surveys and questionnaires of ICT users in a public library setting. The “Training the Future” component focused upon expectations and attitudes of the public library staff expected to provide ICT support. This paper summarizes the results of both studies and concludes that the public library can serve as a valuable support to independent learners within the local community, as long as there is continued support for staff training in this rapidly changing environment of learning via ICT. M. Thomas.


Shapcott, Mary and Adrian Moore. “The DERAL Project.” [Distance Education in Rural Areas via Libraries] An Leabharlann. The Irish Library 15, no. 3/4 (2001): 136-145.
The DERAL (Distance Education in Rural Areas via Libraries) project assessed the role of the public librarians in promoting distance learning via the Internet. The five partners &endash; Austria, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the UK&endash; developed guidelines and a database of Web resources for the public librarians to better serve the public wishing to continue lifelong learning. The survey administered at the different pilot sites generated variety of data: generally the Swedish and Austrian users were interested in basic computer skills while people from Huesca (Spain) wanted distance courses for their personal development and job prospects. The Northern Ireland users were interested in computer awareness and spent surfing the Internet. Based on the results, the DERAL Gateway, a relational database of online learning resources, was created. The DERAL Guidelines identified five roles for the libraries and the librarians: facilities provider, honest broker, information provider, educator, and marketer. The results revealed that most users liked the free websites for specific information needs. Enthusiasm for online learning was dampened due to lack of suitable courses, language and cultural barriers. The authors found the Web lacking in good free materials. The local government had a key role in the success of the project; where there was a good relationship between the library and the government, the project was well supported. M. Chakraborty.


Allred, John. “The Origins, Activities and Outcomes of the UK Department for Education and Employment’s ‘Open for Learning’ Project, 1992-1995.” New Review of Libraries and Lifelong Learning 1 (2000): 103-122.
The “Open for Learning” project was established to provide access to library resources and to support adult learners pursuing individual learning. Adults were able to take courses and qualifications for professional and personal development on their own via use of the materials furnished by Open Learning Centers and available at public libraries. The pilot program was initiated with ten participating libraries in conjunction with the Employment Department. Although certain concerns arose, such as copyright and bibliographic control issues and library staff training, the program proved beneficial and well received by its participants. M. Thomas.

Davies, Rob. “Information Society Training and Awareness-Raising Networks: ISTAR.” 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, 205-219.
ISTAR (Information Society Training and Awareness-Raising) Networks is an interregional initiative established by the European Commission, whose goal is to promote computer technology awareness, and provide access to selected areas in Europe that have limited opportunities for access to networks, training, information, and commercial computer applications. Benefiting a number of groups, including lifelong learners, the self-employed, and teleworkers, ISTAR networks utilize the public library services in selected regional sites in Central Macedonia, Greece, Northern Ireland, UK, and Germany. This article describes the scheme’s planning and implementation phases, management structure, and work plans, and services. The project website is http://www.istar.org (NO LONGER AVAILABLE 12/5/08) serves as a gateway to all regional websites. M. Thomas.

Dority, Kim. “Online Learners and Public Libraries: Annoyance or Opportunity?” Colorado Libraries 26, no. 4 (Winter 2000): 23-26.
Due to changes in the workplace and societal changes, statistics show that many are taking advantage of distance education opportunities offered by traditional universities, commercial and other institutions. Host universities make great efforts toward library services in support of online students, yet public libraries can complement the services that academic libraries offer. The challenges, both perceived and real, include adult learners’ negative ideas about public libraries, the cost considerations in gathering and delivery of materials, and the intimidation factor that many adult learners may feel about re-entering the library. The author lists some specific ways in which public libraries to take advantage of these opportunities to build relationships, create increased visibility, and to market the library in a positive way. M. Thomas.

Eve, Juliet. “The Evaluation of IT Facilities for Lifelong Learning in UK Public Libraries: The VITAL Project.” 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, 191-204.
In a climate of government and public support of learning for all, the public library holds a unique position in providing opportunities for lifelong learning through the expansion of ICT facilities for local community. This article provides evaluations of some of the important UK Government policies and papers that assert the public library’s role in lifelong and open learning. Highlighted is the VITAL research project (Value and Impact of IT Access in Libraries), which is a UK initiative whose aim is to develop and assess the public library’s role in its provision of ICT services. The project seeks to query library users, non-users, and ICT users about their expectations of the ICT facilities and support from the library staff. At the date of the article’s publication, the results were not yet complete, but early indications show that those interviewed want and need access to ICT and favor the convenience of the public library facility. M. Thomas.

Germeraad, Goffe and Jan Bronder. “How the Rotterdam Public Library is Redefining Its Position in a Changing Society.” 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, 183-190.
In response to societal changes, changes in the distribution of information, changes in customer behavior, changes in education and technology, the Rotterdam Public Library has managed to do well in meeting the needs of the city’s 600,000 inhabitants. Taking a proactive stance, the library has carried out customer surveys and market research and a number of efforts have been implemented, including structural alterations to the main library building and to some of its 22 branches, commitment to staff development and enhanced cooperation with the other libraries and other entities. New services include installation of an information call center and expanded use of the web for frequently asked questions and forms. M. Thomas.

Kendall, Margaret. “Lifelong Learning Through Computer-Mediated Communication: Potential Roles for UK Public Libraries.” New Review of Libraries and Lifelong Learning 1 (2000): 81-101.
The provision of computer-mediated communication can be a positive means to attract patrons to the library and involve them in lifelong learning. Many public librarians tend to be wary about providing Internet connection in public access terminals, citing fear of misuse, limited resources, security and privacy as concerns. According to the author, many UK librarians generally feel that Internet use on public access computers should be restricted to information seeking, rather than for e-mail. Often, public library users are introduced to ICT by using e-mail, which can potentially lead to a fuller realization of other resources, learning opportunities, and community involvement, all facilitated through Internet connections. Further research on information seeking behavior is needed and the author offers a proposal for surveying the users, interviewing library staff, and utilizing panel studies. M. Thomas.

Mcharazo, Alli A.S. “Public Libraries and Distance Education in Tanzania: Issues and Dilemmas.” Libri 50, no. 4 (December 2000): 295-301.
Recent developments in distance education opportunities have generated interest among Tanzanians enrolled in higher education; however, certain issues concerning support from conventional libraries may hinder success in this area. Presently, Tanzania’s public libraries face major challenges in providing support and satisfying the needs of individuals enrolled in distance education programs. The author conducted a study of students from the Open University of Tanzania to observe public library usage, which revealed that many students did not use the public library because of an inadequate supply of quality library resources, insufficient reading space in the facilities, fees charged to use the library, inadequate staffing, cultural influences, and distance. There must be greater commitment to serving the needs of Tanzania’s distance learners through increased resources and awareness. M. Thomas.

Schmidt, Anne-Marie. “Staff Training in Distributed Libraries: Competence Development Through Distance Education in Aarhus County Library.” 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, 78-83.
Aarhus Public Library conducted a study in response to a Danish Government report, which emphasized the public library’s future role as a central player in the lifelong learning of its residents. At the time of the 1996 study, not many of the library staff had much formal IT training, so the staff at Aarhus County Library (Denmark) gained valuable first-hand insight of the effectiveness of distance learning process through developing and implementing two modules of courses (basic Internet skills and web design) via distance education method. It was found that distance education could be a cost-effective method to supplement traditional teaching methods and to improve staff skills in new technologies. The advantages and challenges (for participants and the teachers) of the project are summarized. Several ideas for enhancements and future developments are offered. M. Thomas.

Sutherland, Jennifer. Distance Education: Library Use Among Adult Distance Learners: Its Implications for Local Public and Academic Libraries. M.L.I.S. project, University of Denver, 2000. 51 pp. Online. Available: http://www.du.edu/lisa/capstone/Capstone_Projects/j_sutherland.pdf (in pdf format)
Technological advances have enabled increased numbers of participants to take advantage of distance education opportunities at remote locations. This study focuses on the library use patterns and resource needs of the distance education students surveyed at the Western Colorado Graduate Center. The study revealed that despite resources provided by the main library, many students preferred to use local academic or public library facilities, since most of the participants lived over 100 miles from the host university. The results of several other similar studies confirm the similar pattern. The author examines the trend’s impact upon public and local academic institutions and often, there are difficulties that may impede effective use of library resources available to the distance learner. The challenge remains for the host institution to improve awareness and instruction in accessing the complete range of resources available to the distance education student. M. Thomas.


“Public Libraries: Resources for Distance Learners.” Distance Education Report 3, no. 19 (October 1, 1999): 3.
The demand for quality services by distant learners has resulted in revitalization and increased usage statistics in public libraries. A 1998 federal report reveals an increase in public library system-wide web use, increased spending for telecommunications, and greater numbers of both public and school libraries brought online. Distance learners in academic programs have established a history of collaboration with public libraries. An example of collaboration between University of South Alabama-Baldwin County and the Fairhope Public Library (AL) is given, summarizing the major points of the agreement of cooperation, as well as some questions for future consideration. M. Thomas.