To meet the needs of rigorous educational programs, academic libraries must make a commitment to serve growing distance education (DE) populations. Students who participate in distance education are typically older, nontraditional students with unique characteristics who need special services provided by their university library in order to obtain an education equal to their on-campus counterparts. Creating a successful reference and instructional service for distance education students not only takes planning, collaboration, and assessment, but also requires knowing your audience, constantly experimenting with new technologies, expecting the unexpected, and being ready to problem-solve at a moment’s notice. In this article, the authors will discuss the process of creating reference and instructional services for distance students and faculty: challenges to expect, ways to address these challenges, and the constant need to plan for the future.

Publication Date

Spring 2009