Distributed Learning and Virtual Librarianship
edited by Sharon G. Almquist
306 pages • 7 x 10
What is the best way to deliver research resources to students who live "off campus"—as in, "way off campus," in a rural area without a high-speed Internet connection? And where does one find a complete (and accurate) synopsis of copyright guidelines that will prevent well-intentioned librarians from being labeled as the "copyright police"?
The answers to these two questions regarding distributed learning—and many more—are contained in Distributed Learning Librarianship. Organized by chapters and written by practitioners in their field of expertise, this book will document the history of distributed learning to current issues in distributed learning librarianship, with a special focus on the role of technology. Topics covered include virtual libraries, reference assistance, E-reserves and document delivery, administrative and marketing issues, and copyright concerns. This text will be valuable to librarians working in public, school, and state facilities.
This compilation of works by experienced and knowledgeable practitioners in their fields examines the vast topic of library support for distributed learning, providing both historical and contemporary viewpoints.
In the long-ago past, librarians used various means to distribute books to people in remote areas, such as mules, railroad cars, or horse and buggy. Ironically, modern library specialists face the same basic challenge—delivering information and resources to patrons in the most efficient and effective manner.
Reviewed by Colleen Burgess, Western Libraries
This textbook covers a range of aspects of our current information environment from the perspective of distributed library services and with a special focus on technology in academic libraries. In Distributed Learning and Virtual Librarianship, author and lecturer of a course by the same name, Sharon G. Almquist brings together a group of guest lecturers from her course to offer their talks as a collection of essays.
In her essay, "Distributed and Virtual Learning Overview: Terms and Timeline", Almquist frames her course, and this textbook, using the following definition of distributed learning: "... the term distance imposes a restriction or qualification as well as a geographic separation between learners, instructors, librarians, and resources. ... By removing restrictions of any sort, distributed learning and the dissemination of information may occur anywhere at any time." (1-2). Through a lens of American copyright law, the ACRL Standards for Distance Learning Library Services, and the American education system, the authors featured in this text review topics of interest to library school instructors and academic librarians alike including: mobile devices and mobile learning, the "wiki-ized" library, virtual reference services, electronic course reserves, and distance learner services. The book also includes an essay on Public, State, and School Libraries; offers suggested activities, exercises, and case study questions for instructors teaching similar courses; and Almquist kicks off the text with a comprehensive annotated timeline of distributed learning.
This book would serve well as an immersion for library school students and new grads interested to develop their knowledge and expertise in the growing area of virtual librarianship, as well as a textbook for instructors teaching courses on distance, distributed, or virtual services.