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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

Member of the Month: November 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 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 

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

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryckman/

ACRL DLS Member of the Month: October 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Events Committee is continuing an initiative to highlight members of our group. Here is our highlight on Heather Dalal, Instruction & Emerging Technologies Librarian at Rider 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:  Heather Dalal

How long have you been a DLS member?
7 years

Where do you work and what do you do there?
I am the Instruction & Emerging Technologies Librarian at Rider University. I teach a lot of face-to-face classes and my work is online learning and I am primarily in charge of our online learning objects and online course instruction.

Heather Dalal

What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?
Rider University focuses on the success of every individual with their own personal dreams and aspirations. The engaged learning program sets up students to be motivated and innovative leaders. I collaborate with course instructors on how best to increase students’ information literacy skills and knowledge as well as reduce their information anxiety. These skills are of course essential for our graduates, but I’m really able to make deep connections with our students which encourages them to fulfill their academic goals.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?Fortunately, I have very good collaborations with the program coordinators of our online degrees. They allow me time in online department meetings and online orientations to welcome and explain what librarians too. I try to be warm, approachable, and available to the needs of our online students and faculty.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?I am recharged through the Distance Learning Section. I look at the work of our committees to keep us aware of recent articles and trends. I also appreciate getting to know other distance & online learning librarians who understand the work that I do and the various hurdles we face. Our members are efficient and productive and I’m proud to be a part of such a great team.

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
We recently discovered our 8 year old daughter would really hike so we backpacked 14 miles on the Appalachian Trail. I loved it way more than I thought I would. 

What are you reading right now?
Amazing Decisions: The Illustrated Guide to Improving Business Deals and Family Meals by Dan Ariely

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handles you would like us to share?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherdalal

What else would you like for us to share about you?
My liaison roles are mostly linked to online programs, such as Nursing, Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling, and Management. I also serve the School of Fine & Performing Arts, which is all on campus.

ACRL DLS Member of the Month: July 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee is continuing a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on Mou Chakraborty, Director of External Library Services at Salisbury University Libraries. 

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: Mou Chakraborty

How long have you been a DLS member?
17 years and counting!

Where do you work and what do you do there?
I’m the Director of External Library Services at Salisbury University Libraries. I’m the point person for all things distance library services.

What is unique about your institution, and how does your work as a distance services librarian support the mission?
The library has a Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with different institutions in the Maryland area where SU has satellite locations. I touch base with the heads of these libraries to discuss if the needs of the students there are met satisfactorily. In most cases, however, the distance students directly contact me or the SU library. SU Libraries prides in adhering to the ACRL DLS Standards providing excellent services to distance students. I led the Distance Education Task Force which came up with a comprehensive report with short term and long term recommendations. I’ve done several surveys of distance students and faculty. I have created and maintain the Distance Library Services LibGuide. I work with other subject liaisons providing them with the support as needed for distance students in their departments. SU provides a multi-week faculty development program Soaring with Learning to prepare faculty to design, develop and deliver online and hybrid courses. I’m the facilitator for the week on library resources and am embedded in the course.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?
Often distance students feel isolated having no real connection to the campus. In every interaction I have with these students, I reinforce that they may be far, far away but not lost in the galaxy; help is a phone call or a click away. I created a Star Wars inspired video for our Social Work students who are all over the world which was received very well! Communication and collaboration are the key! I do information literacy via IVN, online, and even F2F. If I’m doing a F2F session on campus, we have ‘Zoomed’ in distance students.

I’m embedded in many courses where I ‘own’ a discussion thread (Ask Mou- the Library Guru!). I also embed course-specific LibGuides. I’ve created an Outreach Plan for distance library services and have realized some of the goals including a Blind Date with a Book, promoting services and resources on our social media during Distance Learning Week. We’ve also featured a distance student during that week on the library FaceBook page as well as in our library newsletter. On a regular basis, I interact with them via chat, email, send them short videos; I do longer IL sessions via Zoom.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?
I’ve learned so much about distance library services from my former boss at my previous institution who introduced me to ACRL/DLS. Since, then I’ve met some amazing people in the section, and working with them on different committees has been an enriching experience. The DLS conference was my favorite (felt like a home base!) and I’ve learned a lot attending sessions and/or networking with colleagues. I also keep up with professional readings and getting information posted on various listservs. The webinars that different ACRL/DLS committees organize are relevant and informative.

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
Recently I was busy planning my son’s video games birthday party so I had to do a crash course on Fortnite 101 (seriously what up with that llama?!). I love coordinating theme parties. My son got me hooked onto Pokemon Go and now transitioning to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite! 🙂

What are you reading right now?
Pemberley: Or Pride and Prejudice Continued (a left over from our Blind Date with a Book), Percy Jackson – The Lightning Thief (for the mother-son book club that I initiated). I’m also re-watching the Harry Potter movies as I’m coordinating and leading a Harry Potter themed camp (Make your Own Magic: Ingenuity and Self-Reliance through YA Literature).

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

What else would you like us to share about you?
I was a medical librarian in my other life! In my previous position as a distance and instructional technology librarian, I traveled all over the country and some overseas! I’m a trained Indian classical dancer, so I choreograph and direct shows.

ACRL DLS Member of the Month: April 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee is continuing a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on Anna Uribe, lead Instruction Librarian as Ashford 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.

AnnaUribe

Name:  Anna Uribe

How long have you been a DLS member?
2 years

Where do you work and what do you do there?
I am the lead instruction librarian at Ashford University.

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

Three things that make us stand out:

  1. We’re completely online

We have no physical space or collections to manage. While this allows us to fully concentrate on online library services, it can also be a challenge because there aren’t many institutions we can model.

  1. We use standardized courses

Personally, I love standardized courses because of their scalability. I know that library supports we contribute to a course will help students across the university, not just specific class sections. The downside however, is that there’s less ability to make refinements or adjustments, so you have to really get it right.

  1. The library is a member of the curriculum development team

We have a standardized, well-documented curriculum development process. At the minimum, the library is invited to all course/revision kickoff meetings where we have the opportunity to introduce all the available library supports, and every course is reviewed by the library before it goes “live”. Depending on the needs of the course, we may also be invited to weekly design meetings, and work through the backwards design process with the faculty and instructional designer.

While this is a huge advantage, it’s still a challenge to integrate library and information literacy instruction into a course’s existing learning objectives.

One of my colleagues has a funny saying about us being pioneers in online education. What happens to pioneers? Well, a lot of times they get eaten by bears. I’ve presented our successes and failures at SCIL (Southern California Instruction Librarians) conferences, and I ‘m always happy to share what works and what doesn’t with anyone who will listen at a DLS conference.

How do you bridge the distance with online learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners?
I think the way we promote our 24/7 chat service helps to create community. We acknowledge library anxiety and try to use empathetic messaging. We also leverage our faculty in getting the word out. As a university, we’ve seen that faculty are our closest connection to students. At the same time, we know associate faculty are extremely busy, so we’ve developed ready-made course announcements that they can easily post to their class. In the end, faculty feel supported and students are being reminded from a trusted source that the library is here for them anytime day or night.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?
The DLS listserv and conference. I can’t express how gratifying my first DLS conference was! Not to knock other conferences, but as a completely online librarian, DLS was the first time I felt like I’d found some true peers.

What’s something fun that you’re doing now (outside of your work as a distance librarian)?
Planning a trip to Paris this summer.

What are you reading right now?
The Wind and the Willows. I never read it as a kid, and I am loving it!

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handles you would like us to share?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-uribe-7961764b/  

What else would you like for us to share about you?
Though I serve a non profit university, I’m employed by an ed tech company. I want other librarians to know that it is possible to work for a for profit company and be extremely proud of what you do.

ACRL DLS Member of the Month: March 2019

The ACRL Distance Learning Section (DLS) Membership and Event committee is continuing a “Member of the Month” initiative to highlight our diverse members.  Here is our highlight on Raymond Pun, Librarian for Alder Graduate School of Education.

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

RayPun

Name:  Raymond Pun

How long have you been a DLS member?

3+ years (I think)

Where do you work and what do you do there?

I work in the Bay Area at a new graduate school called Alder Graduate School of Education where I support students and faculty in K-12 education. It’s a startup environment where I get to explore and help design collection development policies, the library website, e-resource management workflows, and research services. I’m the only librarian in this school and it’s been fun working on both public/technical services work.

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

The school is very unique because it is completely remote with selected residency periods supporting students who want to be K-12 educators in public schools. I’m at awe at these students for what they have accomplished and their visions as school teachers. My work is to serve as a facilitator and help students access library and writing resources to prepare them professionally and personally. As the distance services librarian, I don’t get to see the students face to face (yet) but it has been exciting to get their messages seeking help or advice relating to research/writing. I am also happy to serve as the point of contact for collection development and getting collection request from faculty has been a nice way to support their teaching/research needs.

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

Currently, I collaborate with colleagues in our school who teach and support our students in a variety of ways. Since I am still relatively new in the position, I have been giving brief intros to library and writing resources to our students via online. I’ve already had a chance to meet with several students for help and I am thinking of creating open or research-themed office hours to cover specific topics or research assignments. One area that I am interested in building is open educational resources (OER) for our collection. I hope this may encourage others to create more OER content for K-12 education too.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance library services?

At times I peruse articles from publications such as Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning or CRL News, read web articles/reports from The Chronicle of Higher Education, webinars from various higher education groups too. It’s rapidly changing and exciting times to explore, revamp and strengthen distance library services.

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

I travel locally or internationally for fun or for other non-library related work. Some places I have visited recently include Oslo in Norway, Stockholm in Sweden and Cyprus. All amazing places to explore!

What are you reading right now?

Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation by Robert L. Tsai

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

Twitter: @raypun101 (Twitter)

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

I am originally from Queens, New York City!

 

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