ACRL DLS Membership and Communication Committees Member of the Month/Week: February 2018

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Communication committees are starting a “Member of the Month/Week” initiative to highlight our diverse members. Here is our first highlight on Carrie Girton, Public Services Librarian at Miami University.

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

Name: Carrie Girton

How long have you been a DLS member?

Since 2009

Where do you work and what do you do there?

Miami University Hamilton. I’m the Public Services Librarian, which means I do a little bit of everything–instruction, reference, collection management. I’m also our campus library’s webmaster and I manage our campus library’s social media presence.

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

We are an open-enrollment campus with no on-campus housing, so we try to connect with distance students and help them feel comfortable with asking for help when needed. Also creating research guides, tutorials, and online learning objects are key for us in supporting student success and retention.

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

There are a couple of things that I try to consistently do to bridge the distance and build connections with distance students: include an introduction video in embedded research guides, and include screenshots and/or short screencasts when answering reference questions online. Introduction videos help students put a face with a name and realize that there is an actual person who is willing to help and cares about their success. Including screenshots and screencasts when answering reference questions online replicates the process they would see if we were working together in person, and takes out some of the guesswork and hunting for specific links and buttons for them. Hopefully, it also makes the research process a little less stressful and easier for them to manage.

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

Once a week I volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club and tutor K-5th graders there on developing literacy skills such as learning sight words, reading, and reading comprehension. Such a joy to see their excitement when they read!

What are you reading right now?

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

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