Connecting people with the information, reading, and opportunities for self-education that they seek has been the primary function of U.S. libraries for a long time. But what about the people who can’t easily come to the library, or who don’t know that the library offers anything for them, or who doubt that they would be welcome? To connect these people with the library’s resources and services, there’s outreach.
For the past century, libraries have used many methods of outreach—sending mini-collections by “travelling library” or bookmobile, devising services for targeted audiences, taking programs to neighborhoods and institutions, getting involved in community organizations, placing ads and programs in broadcast media, setting up books-bymail and phone reference services. The digital revolution has opened new means, including online collections and electronic reference service, of reaching patrons within and beyond the library facility. Distance education—a new service area for libraries, and sometimes a form of educational outreach—offers the library profession the benefit of expanding the opportunities for place-bound individuals to enter our profession through enrolling in accredited distance-education library school programs. What are the implications for the profession of this shift to electronic forms of outreach? What is gained, and what might be lost? What forms of traditional library outreach remain relevant and important? How can traditional and electronic outreach methods be usefully combined?
The theme of this issue is “Outreach and Distance Education.” In the issue you will find descriptions and analyses of a variety of outreach and distance education programs. Also included is a group interview of faculty members at the University of Washington iSchool held over from the last issue, “Education, Training, and Professionalism.” The Alki Committee and I hope you will find the contents of this issue stimulating and provocative.
Alki Editor: Carolynne Myall
Alki Editorial Committee: Sue Anderson; Kathleen Ardrey; Tami Echavarria; Nancy Huling; Cameron Johnson; Eva-Maria Lusk; Carla McLean; Lisa Oldoski, intern; V. Louise Saylor, chair; Cathy Brownell, LINK editor
Cover by Dawn Holladay.
Download the full-color PDF issue below.
Published March 2001
by Cameron A. Johnson, Everett Public Library, and Laura McCarty, Mukilteo Friends of the Library
by Lisa Oldoski, University of Washington, Tacoma Library
by Brian Soneda, Mid-Columbia Library
by Jill Olson, King County Library System
by Carla McLean, Kent Regional Library
by Stuart A. Sutton, University of Washington School of Information
by Tami Echavarria, Whitworth College Library
by Brian Soneda and Matthew Peery, Mid-Columbia Library
by Laura McCarty, Mukilteo Friends of the Library
by Cindy Cunningham, Amazon.com
by Carolynne Myall, Eastern Washington University Libraries
by Dolly Richendrfer, Spokane Public Library
by Cheryl McCulloch, Kitsap Regional Library
by Tom Reynolds, Edmonds Library
by Nancy Pearl, Washington Center for the Book