ACRL DLS Membership and Event Committee Member of the Month: February 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee started a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on Karla Aleman, Dean of Library & eLearning Division at Lorain County Community College.

If you are interested in being or nominating an ACRL DLS “Member of the Month”, please fill out this brief nomination/sign up form.

KarlaAleman

Name:  Karla Aleman

How long have you been a DLS member?

Since 2010 or so. It’s been a while.

Where do you work and what do you do there?

Lorain County Community College, Dean of the Library & eLearning Division

What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?

We are a medium-sized community college recently distinguished as the #1 Community College in Student Success by the American Association of Community Colleges. We’re quite proud. 🙂

As Dean, my librarianship has changed somewhat from my days as a distance services librarian (my former position). Now it’s all about supporting my teams (both the Library and eLearning teams) in their work supporting the college’s mission and students. My work is a combination of strategic planning, project management, budgets, advocacy, marketing, meetings, meetings, and more meetings.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create a community for your distance learners?

A large area of focus for me now is faculty professional development and accessibility. Although I don’t have regular contact with students the way I used to, I now get to work with faculty and the college administration in providing consistent, welcoming, and accessible learning environments. For example, I’m currently partnering with the Provost, the college’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Senate in developing a holistic program for faculty professional development. Preparing faculty to work in online learning environments and create a community within their classes (and with the library!) is one focus for me on the project.

As an administrator, I tend to work behind the scenes. It’s a lot of committee work that leads to bigger changes based on new standards and new resources. My goal is always to address the bigger hurdles both students face as lifelong learners and the college faces in these demanding times. In truth, I miss working with the students on a regular basis. That being said, I now engage students in new ways, through focus groups and campus task forces and the like. My definition of community and engagement has likely changed as a result, but I can confirm that student engagement and feedback is as important to my work now as it was in the past. It is a key element to creating learning environments and communities that are truly equitable and accessible.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?

A combination of reading, chatting and visiting. ACRL’s Distance Learning Section is a great resource for all of the above, and I’ve learned so much about the field by being a part of the section. Library conferences are almost always well worth attending, and I consider myself very lucky to have had the funding at my various institutions to attend as many conferences as I have (about one or two a year). I also look to non-library organizations (EDUCAUSE, Quality Matters, etc.) to see what trends may impact the library field.

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?

I’m writing a book for fun about a magic doctor who struggles with loads of ethical questions regarding human experimentation.

I’m also planning my first spring garden.

What are you reading right now?

Evicted (by Matthew Desmond) and Wind Breaker (by Yongseok Jo; translated)

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handles you would like us to share?

@LibLookingGlass for Twitter (but I rarely post)

What else would you like for us to share about you?

If you’re interested in becoming a library administrator, don’t be afraid to go for it. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 5 Articles on Embedded Librarianship

Compiled and annotated by Lindley Homol and Elena Bianco, members of the DLS Research and Publications Committee.

As 2019 begins, our top 5 articles focus on embedded librarianship. The authors of the articles below provide overviews and examine best practices of embedded librarians at a variety of institutions. The articles examine how embedded librarians can integrate with programs, provide instruction, reference assistance and more while keeping scalability in mind.

Abrizah, A. and Inuwa, S. and Afiqah-Izzati, N. (2016). Systematic literature review informing LIS professionals on embedding librarianship roles. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 636-643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.08.010

Embedded librarianship currently receives renewed interest worldwide, seeks to bring the library and the librarian to users in their work environment. This paper identifies and documents embedding librarianship roles as reported in the Library and Information Science (LIS) literature. Method: A systematic literature review was conducted using methods promulgated by the Center for Reviews and Disseminations but adapted to the particular needs of this review. Various online databases were used. The search phrases used were: embedded librarianship, embedded librarians, blended librarian, integrated librarian, liaison librarian, information consultants, knowledge managers, and subject librarians. For inclusion, an article needed to contain a substantive description of the identified role and/or activity performed in embedding library practices. Papers that did not describe an actual (rather than proposed) embedding librarianship role were excluded. In total 102 articles were retrieved, 55 were found suitable for the review.

Takeaways:
This article provides a comprehensive literature review of embedded librarianship roles. The various literature cited identified the roles of embedded librarians in academic libraries. Successful embedded librarianship incorporates functions such as information literacy instruction, reference services, assistance with research and other scholarly activities, distance and online learning as well as embedding in classrooms.

Connoly-Brown. M., Mears, K. & Johnson, M.E. (2016). Reference for the remote user through embedded librarianship. Reference Librarian, 57(3), 165-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2015.1131658

Embedded librarians serve an important role in assisting remote users. Despite the varying degrees of embeddedness, all maintain the goal of ensuring the same high-quality reference and instruction services that users have come to expect from the traditional library setting. Embedded librarians select and use technology that most effectively meets the needs of this unique user group. This technology can include the library Web site, course management systems, research guides, lecture and screen capture software, remote reference (including telephone, chat, and email), web conferencing, online survey tools, citation management, and social media.

Takeaways:
This article provides an introduction to several different technologies librarians can use to support embedded reference and information literacy instruction for online and distance populations. One of the biggest challenges to embedded librarianship is scalability, so the authors helpfully provide both examples of how each technology could support an embedded librarian program and also important considerations to keep in mind. These tips should help new embedded librarians–or experienced embedded librarians interested in adopting a new technology–make an informed decision about which options are best for a given program.

Lysiak, L., Mross, E., & Raish, V. (2018). Across the campus and around the globe: Reaching online learners through high-level embedded librarianship. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 12(1-2), 13-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2018.1502717

The authors discuss an embedded librarian pilot project undertaken at an R1 university with a large population of online learners. In this model, librarians aimed for a more engaged approach by working with faculty and instructional designers in three upper-division online undergraduate political science courses over two semesters. The embedded librarians took an asynchronous online course developed by their online learning librarian to prepare them for the embedded role, and they were each given a librarian role in their university’s learning management system. At the end of the semester, the pilot was assessed through survey responses from instructors and students, as well as student coursework. Although student-librarian interaction varied across the pilot, all instructors believed that the embedded librarians helped to improve their students’ papers and citations and would want librarians to be embedded in their courses in the future.

Takeaways:
High-level embedded librarianship can be a way to provide equivalent library services and support for distance or online learners. Student engagement with the embedded librarian can be encouraged through the design of graded library activities, though this extra engagement should be weighed against the extra time involved in grading and the librarian’s workload. Due to the asynchronous nature of the many online courses, it is important to count students’ engagement with learning objects or course guides into assessment, rather than just traditional student reference interactions with a librarian.

Olesova, L. A., & Melville, A.D. (2017). Embedded library services: From cooperation to collaboration to enhance student learning in asynchronous online course. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 11(3-4), 287-299. https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2017.1404546

The authors present a case study of a long-running embedded role for a librarian with an online graduate course in instructional design. The embedded librarian was able to work cooperatively and then collaboratively with the course instructor to design the library interaction with the course, relying on a framework that considered learners, content design and organization, instructional strategies, issues in using the LMS for teaching and learning, and an evaluation of the embedded library instruction. Students’ performance on course assignments demonstrated a marked improvement in using citations, copyrighted materials, and reliable sources after the librarian was embedded.

Takeaways:
This faculty-librarian collaboration was successful because it began with a cooperative approach in which the librarian determined which embedded resources to include. Once both the instructor and librarian are more aware of the resources students need, the relationship can evolve into a more collaborative one. Timing is key for embedding librarians into courses and should include significant planning time for outreach to online faculty and for the embedded librarian to develop or edit library content for the course.

Raish, V. (2018). Librarian role and embedded librarianship. Library Technology Reports, 54(5), 24-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/ltr.54n5

The article deals with the best practices derived from coordinating embedded librarians in the online environment regardless of school size and online presence based on the experiences of Penn State University. Such best practices included starting at the program level, valuing collaborations, and respecting one’s limits and expertise. The importance of asking questions related to the learning management system (LMS) is also cited.

Takeaways:
It is important to recognize the strengths and limitations of the library in terms of being able to embed librarians in online courses. Recommended steps: Begin conversations with programs early. Discuss levels of access to courses, and determine which areas within a program’s curriculum are the best fit for embedded librarians. In addition, it is important to determine the interest and capacity of fellow librarians for embedding into programs. Assessments should be continuous with a focus on improvement.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ACRL DLS Membership and Event Committee Member of the Month: January 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee is continuing its “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on John Stawarz, Online Instruction Librarian at Syracuse University.

If you are interested in being or nominating an ACRL DLS “Member of the Month”, please fill out this brief nomination/sign up form.

Name:  John Stawarz

How long have you been a DLS member?
I joined DLS in 2017 and attended my first DLS Conference in 2018.
John Stawarz Portrait
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I have served as the online instruction librarian at Syracuse University since January 2017. I also provide reference and instruction support, as my position is based in the Learning Commons.

What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?
One of the interesting challenges is that many of the earliest online graduate degree programs were launched in partnership with the for-profit company 2U, while more recently created programs are being developed in-house through our Center for Online and Digital Learning. This means we need to support online graduate students embedded within two very different organizational structures and learning management systems. I’m very fortunate to work with a wide variety of stakeholders involved with online and distance learning, which at Syracuse University has been growing in recent years.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?
Collaboration is key, whether it’s partnering with student groups, department faculty and staff, liaison librarians, functional specialist librarians, online learning centers, technology experts, or other stakeholders involved with online learning. For example, most of the fully online degree programs now require students to attend at least one campus-based or regional residency, and I’ve partnered with subject librarians to take part in these residencies, which allow us to affirm our support for these online students and develop a personal connection with them.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?
Being new not only to online learning but also to librarianship, I’ve found myself trying to sponge up as many skill sets as possible to support online programs, including project management, online copyright, user testing, information literacy, and instructional design through a variety of programs such as online EDUCAUSE and Library Juice Academy classes, graduate courses, distance learning conferences, and various social media platforms that bring together distance librarians into a community of practice. I’ve been amazed at how supportive everyone in the distance community has been.

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
Now that I’ve finished back-to-back master’s degrees, I’m able to spend more time with my 5-year-old daughter, who’s doing a great job teaching me how people learn.

What are you reading right now?
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, by Cathy O’Neil

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handles you would like us to share?
Twitter: @libraryjohn

What else would you like for us to share about you?
I love that I get to work with a wide variety of people and programs, not only within Syracuse University Libraries, but across the entire university. No two days are ever the same!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ACRL DLS Membership and Event Committee Member of the Month: December 2018

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee started a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on Sandy Hawes, retired as Graduate Online Services Librarian at Saint Leo University.

If you are interested in being or nominating an ACRL DLS “Member of the Month”, please fill out this brief nomination/sign up form.

Name: Sandra Lee (Sandy) Hawes

How long have you been a DLS member?
16 years

Where do you work and what do you do there?
Retired August 2018 from Saint Leo University where I was the Graduate Online Services Librarian.

What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?
I enjoyed the opportunity to work from home for the last five years of my tenure at Saint Leo University. I was the solo provider of online library and research support for Saint Leo University’s ever-growing community of online graduate students.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?
I used any tool that helped me bridge that gap. The library provided access to LogMeIn.com and I subscribed to Join.Me, using both for live interaction with students that included live co-browsing to work with students on their research projects. I developed and recorded resource presentations and PowerPoint slideshows that were shared from a Google Drive site. And, of course, I worked with students by phone/chat/email to provide reference support and assistance.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?
I attend online webinars, volunteer with DLS on the Communications Committee, and continue to participate in my local library groups (Florida-ACRL, Tampa Bay Library Consortium, Suncoast Information Specialists).

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
I’m a “beta” reader (reviewing her final draft before publication) for a friend, Kim Beall, who has written her sophomore novel “Moonlight and Moss.” And, taking a cue from her, I’m finally getting started on a three-act play I’ve been noodling around with for a couple years. Wish us both luck!

What are you reading right now?
“Once Upon a River” (Diane Setterfield), “Sleepwalking to Armageddon” (Helen Caldicott), rereading “Nomadland” (Jessica Bruder), Unsheltered (Barbara Kingsolver), “The Bookshop of Yesterdays” (Amy Meyerson), and the current issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction (serial) and Analog Science Fiction & Fact (serial)

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handles you would like us to share?
Twitter: @SandyBlueSkies

What else would you like for us to share about you?
I’m the proud “doggie mommie” to four miniature long-haired Dachshund “fur babies”: Nicki (age 13), Taylor (age 12), Wyatt (age 11) and Ceeley (age 9). They keep me on a regular daily schedule, including “walkies” around the neighborhood in the evenings. To them, the only difference between my working full-time and being retired is that I don’t spend all day seated in front of the computer in my home office.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DLS Discussion Group Fall Forum on OER

Do you find yourself reluctant to create or distribute OERs? At the same time you see the value in  finding, evaluating, adopting, or sharing OER’s at your institution?  Join the Distance Learning Section Discussion Group’s Fall Forum! We’ll start with an experienced keynote speaker, Lindsay O’Neill, who will discuss creating, sharing, and distributing OER material.

We’ll then have four breakout sessions – 15 minute moderated chat discussions – where we’ll introduce a topic and then invite YOU to ask questions, talk about what you’re doing, and brainstorm how to better serve our students, faculty, and staff. Can’t come for the whole thing? Join us for the parts that you can…or just for what interests you!

Registration link:  https://ala.adobeconnect.com/exx5qs900xkk/event/registration.html
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (60 minutes), central time

Lindsay O’Neill is a faculty member in California State University, Fullerton’s Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program.

Lindsay also consults and trains faculty and librarians on effective pedagogy, instructional design, educational technology, elearning development, open licensing, and accessibility. She holds a Master of Education, specializing in Educational Technology/Instructional Design, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science.

Given interest, the discussion will continue on our Distance Librarians slack platform. You can sign up for the chat here: http://distancelibrarians.herokuapp.com/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment