January 25, 2022

Conference Paper: “Librarians Beyond the Brick and Mortar: A Framework for Embedding STEM Library Services in Virtual Spaces”

The following paper will be presented at the IFLA WLIC 2018 taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the end of August.


Librarians Beyond the Brick and Mortar: A Framework for Embedding STEM Library Services in Virtual Spaces


Trevor Watkins
Kent State University




Colleges and universities across the world continue to shift degree programs from learning in physical spaces to asynchronous and synchronous learning in virtual spaces. Students, who have access to brick and mortar libraries at their academic institution are sometimes unable to utilize resources because of time constraints and responsibilities outside of the classroom. Reference and information services must evolve to meet the needs of students who are unable to access the brick and mortar library physically. Facilitated by a science librarian who created a framework to deal with these issues, this workshop offers participants the opportunity to explore new methods of outreach for both distance learning students and non-traditional students and find solutions that can be implemented in their institutions. The focus of this session is library services for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. However, attendees will learn that the framework can be applied to any subject area. Within the framework, librarians and information professionals investigate traditional library services and potential roadblocks both distance learning, and non-traditional students encounter when library services become a necessity for their collegiate success. Additionally, participants learn how to migrate existing library services and identify and implement new services into virtual spaces. We look at usability tools and methods that help identify student needs that the library service supports, evaluate cloud applications and collaborative tools essential for facilitating the transition and discuss what new skills current professionals must ascertain, and what topics library and information science schools should consider integrating into the curriculum to prepare future professionals. The session begins with a discussion on how a software engineering workshop and plagiarism school service was virtualized for the benefit of distance learning students. Participants work in groups with scenarios to analyze and provide virtual solutions for specific library services.

Direct to Full Text Paper
7 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.