Member of the Month

Member of the Month: November, 2021

The DOLS Member of the Month is back!

The DOLS Member of the Month initiative started in 2018 as a way to highlight the diverse members of DOLS and their contributions to the distance and online library community.

Danielle Theiss smiling in her headshot

This month, we highlight Danielle Theiss, Director of Library Services at Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

If you are interested in being or nominating a DOLS Member of the Month, please fill out this brief nomination/sign up form. (Note: If you don’t have a Google account, please email DOLS Membership Chair Jessica Bennett to submit your materials.)

How long have you been a DOLS member?
I am a new member this year.

Where do you work, and what do you do there?
I am the Director of Library Services at Park University.

How do you bridge the distance with online and distance learners? What’s one way you create community for your distance learners? 
One way we bridge the distance with online and distance learners is to have our services available 24/7 as many of our students may be active military and in another country or in a very different time zone than where the physical library is located in Parkville, Missouri. We have our chat service available 24/7 so our students always have a librarian available to assist whenever and wherever they are located. We are always wanting to increase how we create community with our online students so I would love to hear how others are accomplishing this! We currently participate in outreach to online students by partnering with academic programs delivered solely online, having a presence in each Canvas class, and building relationships with the faculty so they refer their students to us more often. We also are building learning objects to help online students learn how to use the library and hope our efforts decrease distance learners’ library anxiety.

How do you recharge your knowledge of distance and online library services? 
I currently serve on three DOLS committees (Membership, Fundraising, and Outreach Committee, 2022 ALA Conference Planning Committee, and the Instruction Committee), and I find that my participation as a member of these committees helps me stay engaged with the distance & online learning community and bring ideas back to my institution. I am also looking forward to the 2022 Distance Library Services Conference in July!

What Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives are you and your institution focusing on?
Our institution is working hard to reduce the cost of attendance for our students which is often one of the main reasons students do not return to Park. The library is partnering with faculty and other departments across campus advocating for a greater use of OER practices and resources.

What’s something fun you’re doing now (outside of work!)
I enjoy hiking, biking on “rails to trails” in Missouri and Kansas, experimenting with vegan recipes, learning how to dye wool effectively, and spending time with my family, my two sons, and my two dogs (Scout is a 16 year-old beagle mix and Ruthie is a two-year old labradoodle).

What are you reading right now?
I am spending all my extra time working on editing, writing, and re-reading my dissertation chapters focused on distance learners and library anxiety. I can’t wait until I can read for fun again – hopefully in the next year!

Twitter, LinkedIn, or other handle you would like to share with us? 
Connect with me on LinkedIn!