Library Support for Online and Distance Education: SEPTLA Continuing Education Event

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Submitted by Karla Fackler Grafton, Montgomery Library, Westminster Theological Seminary

On Friday, April 21, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SEPTLA) met at New Brunswick Theological Seminary for our biannual meeting. The program consisted of speakers addressing the theme of library support for online and distance education. Many of our institutions are moving or have moved to the use of online, hybrid and distance educational components and/or are developing completely online degree programs. The goal of this day-long focus on online education was to expose library staff to new and unique ideas as well as proven methods of success for specific library support of online and distance education programs.

Three sessions were held over the course of the day. Margaret Montet (Information Literacy Librarian) and Bill Hemmig (Dean of Learning Resources and Online Learning) from Bucks Community College started us off with a session on e-learners and the library entitled:  Take your e-Learners to the Library. Learning outcomes included how to create a strategy for an online embedded librarian program and the ability to personalize students’ library and research experiences by providing a presence in individual course spaces. Montet and Hemmig gave a lively presentation with many great examples and excellent suggestions.

Stephen Marvin, Subject Liaison, West Chester University

Second, Stephen Marvin (Subject Liaison and campus copyright coordinator) from West Chester University, took on the topic of copyright and distance/online education in Embedding Rights in Distance Education. He gave us a clearer view of the ideas of Fair Use versus the TEACH Act and offered ideas on how to develop a model guideline on copyright and create resource guides for our distance education programs. Additionally, Marvin pointed us toward several resources for more detailed information on copyright and its effect on libraries.

Dana Kerrigan, Director of Library Services at Valley Forge Military Academy

In the afternoon, Dana Kerrigan (Director of Library Services) from Valley Forge Military Academy gave us some distance learning theory and advice from her personal experience as faculty, student, and librarian. Her address was titled: Distance Libraries from Three Perspectives. Kerrigan pointed out barriers to distance/part-time students that might not ordinarily be visible to library staff and suggested ways in which online/embedded librarianship can make the library significantly more accessible to such students.  My favorite takeaway from her address was that we need to beware of the trap of talking about libraries as places that house things (be it books, electronic resources or librarians). Rather, we need to talk about and help people to recognize the library as a service!

The SEPTLA “Majestic Shot”

For our business meeting, we tried a couple of new things (for us). First of all, to save time, we met in conjunction with lunch. Second, we connected remotely with members who were not able to attend.  As one of our main focuses was to update our constitution and by-laws, we wanted to have as many institutions participating as possible. Using web conferencing software, we were able to have three member institutions participate remotely. Holding a combined physical/virtual meeting was a first for us but I suspect that we will continue to offer this option into the future. We hope to keep on working to find creative ways to help our membership be more vocal and involved.

Our day concluded with tours of the beautiful Sage Library and the opportunity to take “the majestic shot” (according to Director Tracey Joel Hunter Hayes) in the main reading room. Overall, it was a wonderful day of learning and networking. Many thanks to New Brunswick Theological Seminary for hosting this event.

SEPTLA would also like to express our thanks to the generosity of the American Theological Library Association. This program was made possible through grant funding awarded by the Professional Development Committee of ATLA.

One Response to Library Support for Online and Distance Education: SEPTLA Continuing Education Event

  1. […] On Friday, April 21, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SEPTLA) met at New Brunswick Theological Seminary for our biannual meeting. The program consisted of speakers addressing the theme of library support for online and distance education. Many of our institutions… more […]

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