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These busy unsettling times

For more than a decade, the Virtual lIbrarian Service and its librarians have been the calm at the university/college. We perform, we are reliable, we meet our deadlines, we do quality service and we make our promised delierables. Through the virus, through the tragedies, through the marches. Tough times to keep your head focused, which for the librarians is to be focused on our students who need good, steady, reliable information and service. But we do not forget about our own selves. We work virutally, alone ---sorta. We meet weekly to check in with the social, personal and mental side of the job. We are okay through all of this, and maybe stronger for it. We have learned more about each other than before. Everything is going to be okay. Be calm, be safe, be happy.


The Coronavirus and the Virtual Librarian Service

The Corornavirus has upset the world we live, work and recreate in. The librarians at the virtual librarian service are practicing safe methods of staying well, both mentally and physically. Important for our many clients is the fact that those practices and redundancies are in place, and ensure our client’s students have no interruption in their access to expert and professional librarian service 7 days a week. Normal library activities continue. Reference service to the student, adding to the library pages links to Covid-19 scientific and public health website pages, providing information required by an instructor or required by a Dean, Program or Department Chair. Publisher renewals are uninterrupted and links and hundreds of library pages contine to be curated and maintained.  Attendance at meetings continues.

Reliance on Accreditors


Libraries, their content and services, are part of all accrediting agency standards within one of the 10 Core Areas.  Depending on the accrediting agency and its scope,  libraries form a greater or smaller portion of the compliance standards/guidlines. The Virtual Librarian Service and its librarians pay a great deal of attention to the Standards as they relate to the library. VLS always ensure the library complies. That is part of our job with our clients and one less worry for the institutional effectiveness officer or CAO at our client institutions. 

From: Center for American Progress : Their Post September 19 2019 at
The government’s reliance on accreditors

OER - maybe not a library issue, but...

Open Educational Resources OER

Since the Paris OER Declaration of 2009, OER has been a goal of many countries. UNESCO, the Commonwealth of Learning COL and many countries met in September 2017 in Slovenia,  as the 2nd World Congress with a theme or agenda of "OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action. 

So that is the big picture, and educational institutions in North America are also exploring OER for textbook alternatives and curricula support.

There is evidence of the impact of using open textbooks recently released which lists all the effects on students of having to not purchase print or digital textbooks.

Libraries have for years been working with open access journals and digital free ebooks. But this is even a broader context. 

I will write on that OER report shortly.

Quality Measures of Library Reference Service.

Quality Measures of Library Reference Service.

The Virtual Librarian Service and its professional librarians offer 7 day a week email reference service. The librarians do not operate a chat service, hunched over our laptops 24 hours a day, demanding that the student who needs help stay in their seat to engage, right now, in long conversations in short tiny chat boxes. Regardless if the student is at work or in less than perfect conditions. Rather, the Virtual Librarian Service duty librarian monitors the client custom email coming to the reference librarian at all hours of the day and night, every day, even holidays. Replies are by email usually within minutes, or sometimes hours from the time of the student sending a reference help request. Reference request replies are predicated on knowledgeable librarians who know the client’s resources and how that content supports the unique programs and often the course assignments.

Problems with an Accrediting Agency - will it affect the library?

Problems with an Accrediting Agency - will it affect the library?

As a librarian I am looking askance at the issues some of our clients may face if they are accredited through ACICS. And when the institution is ACICS accredited, that means their students have access to Title IV student assistance funding.  This DOE negative decision has been looming for a while, and this summer, based on the DOE staff  report, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted to deny ACICS the recognition ACICS itself needs to continue. There is a very explicit process for an agency to be recognized as an accreditor. Here is the DOE description of the accreditation process in America: (

The Accreditor Peer-Review Experience

The Accreditor Peer-Review experience

Site visits by peer review teams can be quite intimidating for the librarian responsible for the self-study report. In large institutions only the Head Librarian or Dean of Libraries may be involved. In smaller institutions using a sole librarian, they are the contact person. In all cases, whether programmatic, regional or national accreditation, the librarian responsible should be thankful that they might be visited by a team with a professional librarian. This level of attention can be pretty much guaranteed at the regional level of accreditation, but not expected for other peer review site teams. For those teams, a subject matter expert or faculty member will probably volunteer to review the report and do the site interviews and report back to the team. That is one reason why writing the library’s section of the self-study report should balance library jargon with general terms and theories. Know your reader.

The Implications of Cancelling a Library Subscription Database

The implications of cancelling a library subscription database

Adding an eResource is easy. The effect of cancelling the eresource subscription is not.

Retention Rates and the Librarian

Academic librarians should be involved in the discussion of retention at their educational institutions. Combine all the research about this topic with the need to demonstrate efforts to improve retention rates for the accreditation bodies, regional, national and programmatic, and you will see several threads that weave through the dialog that librarians can get involved in. Institutions, in trying to improve retention rates, have discovered they must identify, intervene and repeat the process. And they must do this fast and as soon as possible in the student’s program.

So how can the librarian help?

Up goes the cost for content - rent to view

Libraries in the future can only expect the price of content to really escalate.

The price of licensing access to an aggregator such as Ebsco, Gale, ProQuest and others can only rise – a lot more than the 3-5% annual rate we have come to know. Why?