Event Title

Roles, Skills, and Challenges of Academic Online Learning Librarians: Findings from a National Study

Session Format

Presentation

Conference Tracks

Research Design and Planning

Short Description

Browsing job descriptions for online learning librarians, you’ll find responsibilities like creating online instructional materials, instructional design, training colleagues, supporting student success, providing traditional and online instruction, and much more, with qualifications including knowledge of learning management systems, Universal Design for Learning principles, and Open Education Resources. With such wide-ranging duties and required expertise, it’s difficult to define online learning librarianship. In this presentation, find out how academic online learning librarians describe their role, how they gain necessary skills, and what challenges they face based on the results of semi-structured interviews with online learning librarians throughout the U.S.

Long Description

Whether enrolled in a fully online program, taking all of their classes face-to-face, or balancing a mix of traditional and distance courses, most college students today take part in some form of online learning. Academic libraries have long supported on-campus students through in-person library instruction and reference and off-campus students with dedicated distance education librarians, but recently, many libraries have created online learning or e-learning librarian positions. What is the role of an online learning librarian? Are they simply distance librarians by a different name, or tech-savvy content creators? Do they gain the skills they need to be proficient in online learning through library school or elsewhere? What challenges do they face participating in this emerging area of librarianship? In this presentation, the researchers will share findings from a national interview study of online learning librarians exploring these questions.

The presenters will begin interviewing online learning and e-learning librarians in early 2020 after receiving IRB approval from their institutions. Subjects have been identified and will be directly recruited from a publicly available list of member institutions of LOEX, a non-profit educational clearinghouse whose membership largely represents academic libraries across the United States dedicated to information literacy instruction. The presenters will conduct semi-structured interviews with selected librarians based on the following research questions:

  • What is the role of an online learning librarian in an academic library?

  • What skills do online learning librarians possess and how do they gain those skills?

  • What challenges do online learning librarians experience and how can academic libraries mitigate these challenges?

In addition to presenting findings from their study, the presenters will facilitate an interactive discussion among session attendees about their own roles, skills, and challenges within their positions. The presenters and attendees will collaborate to identify trends and future directions in online learning and e-learning librarianship.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe academic online learning librarians’ roles and skills in order to better understand how they contribute to teaching and learning in academic libraries

  • Reflect on challenges faced by academic online learning librarians in order to propose recommendations for academic libraries to mitigate these challenges and foster professional growth

  • Identify trends and future directions in online learning and e-learning librarianship

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Roles, Skills, and Challenges of Academic Online Learning Librarians: Findings from a National Study

Browsing job descriptions for online learning librarians, you’ll find responsibilities like creating online instructional materials, instructional design, training colleagues, supporting student success, providing traditional and online instruction, and much more, with qualifications including knowledge of learning management systems, Universal Design for Learning principles, and Open Education Resources. With such wide-ranging duties and required expertise, it’s difficult to define online learning librarianship. In this presentation, find out how academic online learning librarians describe their role, how they gain necessary skills, and what challenges they face based on the results of semi-structured interviews with online learning librarians throughout the U.S.