Library Services to Remote Users:
Treasure Chest or Pandora's Box?

Vicki Rosen
Coordinator of Regional Library Services
University of San Francisco

Pat Knobloch
Head of Reference and Instruction
National University
San Diego

Robin Lockerby
Instructional Services Coordinator
National University
San Diego

Annemarie Welteke
Information Services Librarian
St. Mary's College

Colleen Power
Coordinator of Regional Library Services/Life Sciences Librarian
CSU, Chico

THIS SESSION provided many thought-provoking ideas for providing library services to remote users.
1st presenter Vicki Rosen spoke about the University of San Francisco's (USF) "patrons as customers" philosophy, combining three key elements: personal service, regional centers, and cohort online use for instructional purposes. USF's undergraduate and graduate distributed learning programs are currently in six locations. Rosen noted the distinction of "library as gateway, library as place." Students need a place tocome together and meet and which is also wired for their research needs. All of USF's Regional Centers have incorporated this into their facilities; assistance at each site, is tailored to that particular region, including links to other libraries/campuses. In summarizing, Rosen stated that librarians must be advocates for the library in distance education course planning.
Related websites/sources:
2nd presenters Robin Lockerby and Pat Knobloch of National University offered an insightful look into distance learning offered by a private, WASC accredited university. With its main campus located in San Diego, National University currently has 25 different learning centers throughout California (locations change with demand; demographics, program changes, etc.). Supporting the learning centers are nine regional libraries located throughout the state. What sets National apart from other universities is its one-class-a-month system filling a unique niche, largely due to the flexibility of its programs.
Knobloch reviewed the WASC guidelines for service to remote users and noted that these students must have equal access to the same types of materials for a quality education as the "traditional" on-campus student. Approximately one-half of the library budget goes to electronic resources. A service to be offered soon through their webpage is Net Library. The Net Library lending provider will offer a package of 4,000 books available through the Internet. Books, in cooperation with their publishers, can be rotated in and out, depending on the needs of the program/classes offered. National currently has approximately 200 management courses online, but hopes to have all of its courses available in an online version by the summer of 2000.
Related websites/sources: National University

3rd presenter Annemarie Welteke of St. Mary's College Library discussed library services to distance learners which includes both undergraduate and graduate Extended Education Programs. St. Mary's service to students differs from other campuses in three primary ways: 1) its institutional culture of context enriched education, 2) its central location but distributed responsibility for library instruction and, 3) its very decentralized management. Responsibility for library service to distance learners is shared among five of the eight librarians.
The design model for St. Mary's College Library incorporates the college's three-fold mission of education in the liberal arts: 1) giving students values, 2) teaching the philosophies of LaSalle, a 13th century French educator, and 3) the beliefs of the Catholic faith. Because five of the eight librarians are involved with the extended learning courses, a great deal of flexibility and communication is required. All of the librarians must be aware of the needs of both the undergraduate and extended education programs. The "flat management" system at St. Mary's College Library allows for the sharing of these duties. The success of St. Mary's library support for the extended education program is the result of teamwork, communication, flexibility, and collective knowledge of each individual librarian's responsibilities.
Related websites/sources: St. Mary's College

4th presenter Colleen Power of CSU Chico spoke with great enthusiasm about CSUC's Distance Learning Program. As Chico State has the largest library north of Sacramento, its educational programs and library support of those programs is vital. Through their microwave network, Chico delivers courses to 16 different sites across northern California, offering only upper division classes online. Four to five different degrees are available through its Distance Learning Program, along with a Master's Degree Program in Education.
Chico has found that the availability of their website for distance learners is vital for students. The campus website allows students to access the Chico State Library via the Internet at any public or community college library to get needed information. Power cited that Distance Learning literature shows that 40-80% of those enrolled in distance education courses will go with the "familiar," which means going to a local public library for assistance before contacting the main campus, even if they have a toll-free number. For this reason, the Chico website lists libraries accessible to students in particular areas, so users can see library locations convenient to them. In summarizing the library's role in distance learning, Power stated that being in touch with ongoing changes in the curriculum is pivotal and that the library's role needs to be proactive in the process.
Related websites/sources:

Mara Houdyshell
CSU, Northridge

Annual Conference Highlights