Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
What's Involved in the Evolving?: The Process Used in Developing a Proposal for Library Needs of Distant Learners in a Sparsely Populated State
Date of this Version
Distance education. Distant learners. Extended campus library service. Nontraditional students. Satellite delivery. Access to information. Equal access to information and service. Limited resources. Over the past few years, these topics have appeared frequently in the literatures of higher education and librarianship. As the burgeoning interest in distance education continues to grow, more and more librarians are involved with meeting the needs of distance education students. Although meeting the library needs of any nontraditional student has always been a challenge for academic libraries, developing a program and process to serve distant learners is particularly challenging. In Nebraska, geographic and demographic factors further add to the challenge. Nebraska, a state spanning 400 miles, is sparsely populated (1.6 million), with the majority of the population concentrated in the eastern quarter of the state. Total enrollment at all public higher education institutions in the state numbers only 104,617 (U.S. Department of Education, 1990). The University of Nebraska system, comprised of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the recently-added University of Nebraska-Kearney, accounts for 48 percent of this enrollment. Additionally, there are three state colleges, located in Chadron, Peru, and Wayne, and a dozen private schools.