ACRL DLS Membership and Communication Committees Member of the Month: March 2018

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Communication committees are starting a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members. Here is our highlight on Sarah J. Hammill, Business and Online Learning Librarian at Florida International University.

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

Name: Sarah J. Hammill

How long have you been a DLS member?

14 years

Where do you work and what do you do there?

Florida International University. As the Business & Online Learning Librarian, I support students at a distance and faculty who teach online.

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

One goal in the strategic plan of FIU is to have 60% of its classes offered as hybrid or fully online in the next 5 years. As the online learning librarian, my role is to support the students and faculty in an online environment so I keep busy!

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

I try to bridge the distance with online learners but being approachable. In my information literacy online instruction sessions, I use interaction and humor as a way to keep the students interested and engaged.

When I do online instruction sessions, I begin each session by asking the students to share a resource they have found on their topic and then ask them where they found the information. From there, we begin discussing the pros and cons of the source of information. This leads to explaining other options for finding information and how to effectively develop a search.

Additionally, I use humor as a way to connect and create community. I am constantly recruiting students to become librarians by telling them it is the best job in the world. At the end of every online instruction session, I conduct a poll and ask, “Who wants to be a librarian?” I volunteer to be their mentor but if they decide librarianship is not for them, they can always reach out to me with questions about the library.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?

Follow DLS.

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


What are you reading right now?

A Stone of Hope by Jim St. Germain

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