Library Cards & Distance Students

As a distance education student, a post yesterday from the LibrarianInBlack caught my eye – The importance of getting library cards to remote users. Sarah Houghton-Jan expands on a post by Laurie the Librarian and applies the same concepts about library cards to the public library. Laurie’s post, Why the highest priority to helping distance students should be getting them library cards, chronicles a bit about her adventure to facilitate an easy system of getting cards to distance students at a college library. I think that both Sarah and Laurie are trying to make the point that services need to be brought to distance students and/or remote users. Not only do we need to bring these services to our constituents, but we need to do it in a painless and way that is easy to understand and facilitate.

From my perspective as a student, these services don’t necessarily need to come from the library. I really want all of my ID numbers (whether I get a physical card or just the information) to come from one place – and really wouldn’t it be wonderful if I only needed one number??? Actually, I want all of my services to come from one spot. The library really isn’t a separate entity. In Laurie’s post, she talks about trying to get librarian presence in the online space that houses the distance classes – aka WebCT. I personally think this is where libraries need to be in order to better serve distance students. I don’t want to have to leave my class session, open a new browser window, and log into the library’s proxy server to get information. A link within the course place to the library catalog, to the electronic resources, etc. would be wonderful. It isn’t really about bringing the library card to the user, it is about bringing the library services to the patron.

5 Responses to Library Cards & Distance Students

  1. kiki says:

    Ah yes, the all-in-one dream of every distance student! At OU, we even use the same login for everything–library, class web sites, enrollment, etc–so they’ve at least gotten that far.

    I’m sure there are security reasons for not logging into the bursar’s site, for example, at the same time that you log into the library, but it’s definitely a peeve of mine that the e-reserves at the library aren’t more fully integrated with the online course module.

    Of course, at MPOW we don’t yet have the ability to do e-reserves, but I’ve been told that will be changing next year (yay for our students, whose pain I most certainly feel).

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m a distance learning librarian, and I make it a priority to get cards to any distance students I work with. In our case it’s less a logistics thing than it is a psychological issue–depending on where they are they may not even have a physical ID card, and having that library card gives them a tangible link to the home campus. I also make it a point to cultivate relationships with as many of our distance faculty as possible, and make it clear that all the services that are available at our main campus can be utilized “out there” as well.

    As far as the all in one issue–that isn’t happening yet due to issues with the IT dept, but my goal is to eventually have everything as seamless as it was at OU. (Kiki, I graduated in may–do i know you?)


  3. kiki says:

    Hi Sarah!

    No, I don’t think we’ve met. We would have overlapped by one semester (I started this January) but both the classes I took were online, so the only time I was actually in Norman was for the weekend that 5033 met.

  4. Sarah says:

    Well, I was at the tulsa campus, so… 🙂

    Seriously, have fun, and take at least one class with Dr. Patterson (don’t tell her I gave away her secret, but her bark is way worse than her bite and you will learn a TON.)

  5. […] Library Cards & Distance Students (Life as I Know It) […]

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