The following paper was presented at the 2002 SELA/South Carolina Library Association Joint Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, as part of the “New Voices” program, sponsored by the University and College Libraries Section (UCLS) of SELA. The Southeastern Librarian is pleased to reprint the paper in its entirety.
The purpose of this paper is to examine many of the issues involved in providing library services to distance learners, and to discuss the growing overlap of services for traditional on-campus students and distance learners. Is the distinction between the two groups enough to merit a separation of services, or should libraries simply strive to meet the needs of all patrons, regardless of status or qualification? At some schools with a wide variety of course-delivery methods and a large student population, it might be considered a waste of time to differentiate between the distance learner and traditional student, or it might be increasingly difficult to identify the many categories of students. For this reason, it is proposed that libraries begin to consider blending distance library services with traditional services.