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.