Just finished a really interesting article and marked it all up in green highlighter.
Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which U.S. Association of Research Libraries (ARL) are providing services to their distance education library patrons, it reveals whether each U.S. ARL library has a designated librarian in charge of services to distance education students, and it presents the perceived challenges faced by distance education librarians.
The author excluded the 15 Canadian ARL member libraries but didn't say why - I'm going to email her to find out. I don't want to just reproduce all the good statistics, so I guess I'll have to pick and choose some.
- 43.5% of the responding ARL libraries don't have a distance education librarian, but they do provide library services to their distance education users.
- Only 4 librarians in the survey had no professional library experience prior to becoming a distance education librarian, and all four were hired as a full-time distance education librarian. (does that suggest that support of distance ed is an entry-level type position, or that the younger hipper librarians are the better choices for this type of position, or something else completely - your thoughts? - PRP)
- This one really struck home with me - only 11% of the librarians have a list of all their registered distance education students.
Directly related to this last finding was the fact that many DE librarians "indicated their frustration with no knowing who their registered distance education students are... As a result, DE librarians are unable to promote library services, do outreach services to each individual faculty members or make them aware of the resources libraries have." Sound familiar? :-)
Lots more in the way of interesting stats in this one - check it out.
Link: ScienceDirect - Yang, ZY. Distance education librarians in the U.S. ARL libraries and library services provided to their distance users. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2005, Pages 92-97.