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 Brian Ryckman, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) STEM Librarian.
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: Brian Ryckman
How long have you been a DLS member?
On and off for 15 years
Where do you work and what do you do there?
Southern New Hampshire University as the STEM Librarian.
What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?
SNHU has been an interesting place to work. We’re one part large online university, one part intimate traditional campus experience, and we have most recently developed science programs through our College of Engineering, Technology, and Aeronautics. Part of our mission statement includes that we are “relentlessly challenging the status quo”, which in part means that we are constantly examining our programs to determine if they meet student and industry needs while remaining student-centered. The library participates in the course development process to promote information literacy concepts while helping to keep textbook costs down for students.
How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?
My work in the STEM disciplines is both face-to-face with students as they work through science-related projects and with instructional designers and program development teams as they create or reexamine online courses. With a new building project near completion we are looking at how to connect online students with physical lab spaces. I will also say that the library e-Learning team has worked hard to maintain a consistent presence in every online course while tailoring library resources and concepts for each program.
How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?
My colleagues all have varied interests and I learn a lot from them. I have been fortunate to have worked at a few other institutions and I draw inspiration from them as well. My colleagues outside the library bring a different perspective which compels me to reflect on my own practices and how I might approach different challenges.
What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
I recently learned that one of my ancestors was a prominent beer brewer and one time mayor of Albany, NY. My colleague and I are researching beer brewing techniques from the 1600s while compiling information for an upcoming article. I’ll also mention that New England in the fall isn’t a bad place to be.
What are you reading right now?
White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo
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