This post is part of an ongoing series about interesting and exciting job prospects in the field of library and information science. Join me as I explore the evolving roles librarians fill.
My recent research, as well as my experience as an online student, has led me to believe that online students should be treated as another user group, with their own distinct behavior and needs. I’ve even tried my hand at making an online information literacy session for my information access course. You can view it here, if it interests you.
Armed with this knowledge, it’s no wonder that I’ve begun seeing job postings for “online learning librarian.” Like this one, from East Carolina University’s Joyner Library:
Reporting to the Head of Research and Instructional Services, the Online Learning Librarian plans, implements and assesses the delivery of library services to the university’s distance learning students and other remote users; collaborates with campus faculty and staff in the marketing and integration of online learning materials into course curricula; investigates and applies new technologies to integrate information literacy and research skills into online courses; and provides online library instruction, virtual research assistance and online consultations. The Online Learning Librarian will help shape future library services to distance learning students and should understand the evolving needs of nontraditional students.
Distance or online learning is not necessarily new, but it’s popularity is. Once relegated to suspect institutions, online degrees can now be gained at even the most respected universities across the U.S. And with this new-found popularity comes an exciting opportunity for creating new services. As the above listing says, the librarian hired will be in charge of shaping the future of the library. That definitely sounds like a creative and challenging job. And I think someone who received their MLS in an online environment would be uniquely qualified to “understand the evolving needs of nontraditional students,” as the posting requires. Definitely a job title to add to my list of future career possibilities!