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portal: Libraries and the Academy 2.4 (2002) 682-683
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Off-Campus Library Services, ed. Anne Marie Casey. New York: The Haworth Information Press, 2001. 467 p. $49.95 softcover (ISBN 0-7890-1340-1) and $79.95 hardcover (ISBN 0-7890-1339-8) Co-published simultaneously as Journal of Library Administration, Vol. 31, Nos. 3/4 and Vol. 32, Nos. 1/2, 2001.
This informative group of 34 essays, stemming from the Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference held in Portland, Oregon, in April of 2000, concentrates on the variety of off-campus distance education programs and how to provide library services to support them. Anne Marie Casey, Director of Off-Campus Library Services at Central Michigan University, edited this impressive volume and was involved in planning the conference. Central Michigan University Libraries has been sponsoring this conference since its inception in 1982.
The essays address a wide range of topics from using a free 800-telephone number to problem solving in the state of Utah through use of a library consortium. Other topics are conferencing software to maintain the personal touch that is often lost with off-campus learners and developing an effective off-campus library services [End Page 682] Web page. All of the essays provide practical advice for both universities and libraries, large and small, and at almost any point on the distance education spectrum. The international perspective of countries, such as Australia, India, and Indonesia round out this volume, making it virtually a manual for providing off-campus library services.
One needs only to scan the educational and library literature to know that distance education is here to stay; if a university and library are not already engaged in some form of distance education, they will be. Library and Information Science (LIS) schools will undoubtedly play a role in the education of future librarians where distance education is concerned. After all, the implementation of any distance education program must involve access to information and resources that libraries and librarians have traditionally provided. The essay by Heidi Hoerman and Kevin Furniss offers sage advice to LIS schools, including what to offer in a course on distance education.
Not to be forgotten in this whole planning process is the distance-learning student who should have the same access to resources and assistance as the traditional on-campus student. Stephen Dew's chapter, "Knowing Your Users and What They Want: Surveying Off-Campus Students About Library Services," suggests that librarians put aside their traditional role of presenting what library services they offer to students and instead, listen to what services the students want.
In addition to the valuable content of this book is its overall organization. Both the abstract and following keywords will assist the reader in knowing the exact content and focus of each essay. The majority of the essays have an introduction, conclusion, and references. Of particular use to the reader will be the breakdown of the essays into sections with bold headings indicating the subject matter to be discussed.
This book is overwhelmingly geared toward services to the adult student at a remote location. This is reflected in the essays and the essayists who have all been involved in providing services and instructional support to these types of learners. Such expertise cannot be overlooked when considering this volume for a library collection or simply for finding out more information about off-campus library services.
Louisiana State University