Good news! The Distance Learning Interest Group has been trying for a few years to get enough momentum to have a program at ALA Annual (Anaheim, CA, June 26-July 2, 2008). I’m happy to say that Lauren and I proposed a topic and it has been approved! The topic came from our last in-person meeting, where there was much discussion (in part spurred on by past chair, Howard Carter–thanks, Howie) about whether, with distance learning evolving and becoming ever more ubiquitous, distance learning is really distinct from on-site library and information services. To sum up: isn’t all learning now, to some extent, distance learning?

With that in mind, then the program is titled “If we don’t call it distance learning, does it exist?” and the description is:

In our world of online access to resources and services, aren’t all users distance learners? Should all library staff have engage with distance learning?

We will look at these questions in three ways: impact on the library’s mission and culture; how outreach is affected; and challenges for solo distance-learning librarians. Discussion will engage the audience to identify ways to integrate distance learning services and resources with traditional support and physical collections.

Let’s get this discussion started early. What do you think?

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