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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

Section Five Year Review

1. Name of Section: Distance Learning Section

2. Name of person filling out form: Rob Morrison, Section Past-Chair and member, Strategic Planning Committee.

3. Phone Number: (435) 797-1477

Fax: (435) 797-7475 Email: robmor@cc.usu.edu

Please append a section organization chart to this review. See attached chart.

4. In your review of the section’s charge during the preparation of this review, did you identify needed changes? Please note needed revisions if any.

A review of the section’s mission and organization was conducted in 1998, following an official name change (from the Extended Campus Library Services Section). The new section mission “is to provide leadership in promoting and supporting the development and delivery of library services for distance learning programs offered by higher education institutions.” There are now ten new section goals:

Demonstrate Leadership: to provide leadership and direction in the area of distance learning library services, including all higher education programs designated as off‑campus, extended campus, distance education, or distributed education.

Promote the ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services: to promote the guidelines to librarians within individual institutions, regional accreditation associations, directors of state libraries, library/information science schools, and to professional library and higher education associations and institutions.

Share Information: to facilitate the development and sharing of expertise, practice, resources and research in distance learning library services among librarians, administrators, teaching faculty, instructional team members and students, individually and as members of professional groups and associations.

Support Service Provision at Higher Education Institutions: (Encourage higher education institutions to provide library services to distance learners)to promote, discuss, and support library service activities, personnel and resources provided by higher education institutions for distance learners.

Interact with Other Professional Groups: to work with other ALA groups and through the ACRL Council of Liaisons to promote library and information services for those individuals taking and providing courses or higher education programs in distance learning environments.

Develop Conference Programs: to develop conference programs exploring the scope, issues, and research of distance learning library services.

Encourage Professional Development: to enhance the professional development of its members.

Communicate with Section Members: to promote formal and informal networking and communication through a newsletter, web site, the OFFCAMP listserv, Discussion Groups and socials at ALA.

Contribute to Professional Knowledge: to initiate projects, research studies, workshops, committees, and open hearings that promote best practices and contribute to the knowledge base in distance learning library services.

Promote the Academic Credibility of Distance Librarianship: to work with library schools to encourage the study of distance learning library services in the academic curriculum and in research projects undertaken by students and faculty.

5. When you reviewed the section’s committees’ charges during the preparation of this review, did you identify needed changes? Please list needed changes.

After the section name change in 1998, a review of every committee’s charge was conducted by the Executive Committee-see #4. Five new committees were established and charges modified for four existing committees. Revised committee charges: Membership, Communications, Guidelines, Strategic Planning (formerly Planning). These revisions will ensure that the section can effectively carry out our new mission, goals, and the ACRL Strategic Plan.

6. Are there committees which are no longer needed? New committees which should be formed? If so, please discuss.

Committees no longer needed: none.

New Committees: In 1999 we established the Web, Liaison, Instruction, and Electronic Resources committees in order to: accommodate the needs of a readily increasing membership; more effectively support the section’s and ACRL’s mission and goals.

7. Please assess your activities (e.g. pre-conferences, programs) since the last section review and comment on effectiveness.

1995. Can This Marriage Be Saved?: the Relationship between Extended Academic Programs and Public Libraries. Excellent panel presentation and discussion on the vital need for academic and public libraries to work together and take responsibility for distance learners.

1996. Leadership on the Cybercampus Commons: Where Are We in the Vision? Thought-provoking program on the role of libraries in virtual learning campuses. The program was highly evaluated by an over flow crowd of more than 300 participants.

1997. Imagining the Learning Library (ACRL President’s Program). More than 1,000 attended this innovative program delivered remotely via an audio link to libraries in four states, an ALA/ACRL first. The Distance Learning Section set up the remote program broadcast that included a distinguished panel featuring the executive producer of Walt Disney Imagineering. The program was followed by a “Showcase of Ideas” featuring the best practices of teaching with technology.

1998. Distance Learning Library Services: The Future is Now!

1999. Nothing But Net? Understanding the Digital Library User. Co-sponsored with IS, this dynamic program, attended by more than 400 attendees, featured a variety of speakers, including students who provided a unique perspective seldom seen at ALA programs.

8. List the publications or other products issued by the section since the last review.

Publications: DLS Newsletter; ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services.

9. List any projects completed during the review period which were not listed in the previous two questions.

The Research Committee revised a “Questionnaire on Topics to be Researched on Library Services for Distance Learning” previously conducted in 1994. The new questionnaire is on the section’s web site and was the focus of a program at the Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference in Portland this year. This committee also sponsored a panel discussion at ACRL’s National Conference in 1998. Guidelines Committee: scheduled open hearings to gather input for revising the ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services at ALA, ACRL conferences, and at the Off Campus Library Services Conference in 1998. This committee also developed an initiative to disseminate the Guidelines and sponsored a presentation on how the Guidelines are being utilized nationally at the Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference in Portland earlier this year. The Statistics Committee developed a Uniform Statistics Data Collection Form to gather data on library services provided off-campus and to equip libraries with a standard method to record this vital information. A final report was issued in 1999.

10. How have you used the ACRL Strategic Plan in planning your activities? How could the Plan be more helpful?

The section’s mission and goals reflect and embody ACRL’s Strategic Plan.

11. Are there goals or activities of your unit, whether formal or unstated, which are not directly related to the ACRL Strategic Plan? If so, should they be added to update and extend the plan? Please discuss.


12. Are there goals you had to drop or curtail due to insufficient resources? If so, please discuss.

No. For the past two years, the section has focused on reorganizing and updating our mission and structure that has now placed us in a stronger position to serve members and to fulfill ACRL’s Strategic Plan.

13. Please briefly discuss the future plans of the section including additional goals or activities that the unit would like to undertake in coming years? Please describe and indicate how the unit’s charge or the ACRL goals and objectives statements would be affected.

Guidelines Survey & Dissemination


“Best Practices”/How to Do It Manual

Membership Survey Establish “regional” sections

14. If new activities are contemplated, are there existing activities which could be curtailed (or goals which have now been achieved), so that the unit can reallocate existing resources? No.

15. Does the unit have a formal review or evaluation process to examine its structure, goals, or activities? If so, please describe.

An Ad hoc Governance Group was established in 1998 to thoroughly review the section after the name change was approved by membership. This process resulted in an extensive evaluation that has been completed as detailed in #4. Currently the Strategic Planning committee will be focusing on a long range goals and objectives for the section, including a new Strategic Plan.

16. To help the Planning Committee review the following committees, please discuss the effectiveness of your interactions with them: Budget and Finance Committee, Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Membership Committee, Publications Committee, Standards and Accreditation Committee. Please add any additional comments you may wish to make.

The past five years have seen tremendous changes in our section. We are one of the fastest growing sections within ACRL and much time and energy has been devoted to reorganizing, updating, and positioning the section to meet the needs of ACRL members and the ACRL Strategic Plan.

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