Monday, December 13, 2010

Is the Darling Library a Place for Online Students?

When students move into the dorms, attend classes, hang out at the student center, go to athletic events, and study in the library, they connect with campus life. Being in the library with its books, computers, study carrels, and fellow students doing research reminds them of the purpose for their sleep deprived existence. On college campuses everywhere, the library is a centrally located iconic symbol of academia providing an inviting inspiring space for collaborative and independent studying. It is a part of campus culture. Today our challenge is to translate that function into the virtual academic community.

For online students the online library looks pretty much the same as every other part of the university – their course, faculty, the registrar, and financial aid – are all in the same place as their online bank; their computer.

In order to support the University’s mission to prepare students to impact the world for Christ, we need to equip them to succeed academically – whether in the building or on the web site. Online this means making the library truly inviting, accessible, intuitive, easy to navigate, instructive, useful, and self-affirming. Online students need to feel capable but not isolated. They need to know there are guides, tutorials, and knowledgeable caring people they can talk to when necessary.

This requires a unique team of librarians who are information professionals, helping professionals, and educators. We have to have a balance of
  • technical skills with an understanding of the information landscape,
  • strong customer service and people skills,
  • an understanding of different learning styles and background knowledge in key disciplines of our curriculum.

Everyone in our library must have a commitment to the mission and purpose of the University, a deep love for our students, and a connection with the essence of who we are as a University.

One way the Darling Library is attempting to put a face with our function is through this blog. (Did you notice the Ask Us box on the right? You can chat with one of our librarians from here when is says the Darling Library is online.) Regular features like What are you reading? and Hidden Hope are intended to pull Hope students, staff, and faculty in to get to know each other better -- building an online community and hopefully stumbling upon some useful information on the way.

These Monday Musings are intended to give our readers a taste of some of the issues librarians are chewing on these days. Faculty Book Reviews give our faculty a forum for sharing how they are keeping up in their disciplines through scholarly readings. New Book Highlights give the Hope community a peek into what’s new and provide a little information on how the Library is organized.

Other places you can find a direct link to contact a Darling Librarian online include Libguides, HopeOnline courses and eCompanions, while searching in a database such as ProQuest or EBSCOhost, click on Ask a Librarian (that’s us!), and any email a librarian or library tech help email go to us. We will reply in 24 hours or less. Of course, you can always call us at the library’s main phone number (714) 879-3901, ext. 1234 or directly using our Library Contacts

(Left to Right: Lindsey, Sam, Robin, Joe, Nicky, Emma, Terri)
We are here. Talk to us.

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