Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Bridging the Gap: Connecting Distance Students of Color to Each Other & the On-Campus Community


ACRL DLS Chair: Natalie Haber
Vice-Chair: Amanda Ziegler
Secretary: Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Archivist: Andrea Hebert
Webmasters: Katie Stewart and Matthew Stevons (dlswebcontact@gmail.com)
Members-at-Large: Karla Aleman and Jennifer Rundels

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Distance Students of Color to Each Other & the On-Campus Community

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Jasmine Sykes-Kunk, Clarion University

Poster Description:

This poster aims to discuss the successes and challenges faced while attempting to build a supportive virtual community with my cohort to supplement the distance learning experience.


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About the Presenter

Jasmine Sykes-Kunk is a MSLS student at Clarion University who is concentrating in local and archival studies. She was named an ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow and an ALA Spectrum Scholar in 2018.


  1. Thank you for sharing! I’ve often found myself turning to more “unofficial” online spaces like social media for learning and community, but I hadn’t considered the benefits of having these be officially recognized. How do you think traditional institutions (I’m thinking of both higher ed institutions like Clarion and professional organizations like ALA) can learn from what is happening in more unofficial communities on Facebook/Slack/Twitter? Do you think that there are also benefits in these spaces remaining separate?

    • Thank you for your comment Jennifer. I believe that having the school recognize the organization validates and supports the needs of students of color. Since librarianship heavily relies on professional networks for research and industry development, I believe the university should support and models ways for the cohort to connect.

      At the very least, I wish there is a way to “meet” my classmates. However, finding and joining social media groups has helped me immensely. I have found mentors, scholarship, funding opportunities and so much more. I was lucky enough to have someone share these resources with me, and I want to ensure that my peers have the same opportunities as well.

      • I agree that it would be wonderful for institutions to better support students of color. I also agree that it is important for schools to model how to develop professional networks. That would have been just as valuable (or more valuable) to me than the information I did learn in grad school.

        I honestly don’t even know what opportunities my grad school provided. And I was so busy in grad school (since I was also working full time), and didn’t have time to seek out these networks on my own. Social media has helped immensely now, but I feel like I’m catching up when others are way ahead of me in building their professional networks (I’m also a solo librarian, which is another thing that limits my network). While I did have some good conversations with some of my classmates, I didn’t make any lasting connections, and I do think a weakness of online learning is that it provides fewer opportunities for connections.

        I also wish I would have had a mentor to talk about scholarships, funding activities, etc. For example, if I had known that the Spectrum Scholarship Program provided more than just funds, but was also something that provided networking and opportunities even after you graduate, I might have applied. I’m not even sure I knew about the program in grad school, but if I did, I didn’t apply because I didn’t know enough about it (and probably also a view that I wasn’t “good enough” for it).

        So thank you for your work towards helping your peers have more opportunities!

  2. Thank you so much for this! I confess that I haven’t looked before to see if there’s a process for online-only students at my institution to create school-sanctioned clubs, so I’m going to go do that now and advocate for it if there’s not.

    • Thank you for your comment, Claire. It is my hope that this poster identifies and highlights opportunities for school sanctioned online student engagement.

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