The Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning
by Melissa N. Mallon
October 2017, 150pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5217-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5218-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Establish your academic library’s key role in supporting student learning and as an integral part of the learning environment in today’s increasingly digital environment.

The budget-constrained, rapidly evolving climate of higher education and academic libraries makes it a necessity for academic librarians and administrators to communicate the value of their library to the university. This book explains how to execute this critical task.

Authored by a library director and director of library liason and instructional services who formerly served as a faculty member, a librarian, and a professional development instructor, The Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning establishes the library’s role in supporting student learning in an increasingly digital environment by exploring theoretical foundations and sharing concrete examples. The chapters focus on strategies and methods for demonstrating the academic library’s value through strategic campus partnerships, creation of learning objects such as video tutorials, research instruction designed to facilitate student collaboration, and participation in assessment of learning on campus.

All of the topics addressed within a broad range of subject matter fall within the scope of learning in the “digital age,” with particular emphasis on utilizing online learning environments—including social media—to teach students critical thinking and research skills as well as to position the academic library as an integral part of the modern learning environment. This book is a must-read for academic librarians in instructional roles, teaching faculty, academic library administrators and managers who need to communicate the value of the library in relation to student learning, and academic administrators who are obligated to demonstrate the important role of libraries in academic excellence.


  • Advocates and explains the instructional role of academic librarians—a role that is key and continuing to grow in importance
  • Furnishes practical examples of digital products and proven processes to aid in student learning
  • Provides concrete methodologies to use technology to increase the visibility and perceived value of academic libraries
  • Illustrates the use of templates, lesson plans, and other tools that serve teaching librarians
Melissa Mallon, MLIS, is director of the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University, providing research support, outreach, and instruction to students, faculty, and staff in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. She is also director of Liaison and Instruction Services for the Vanderbilt Libraries, where she leads liaison librarians in planning, developing, and implementing innovative programs for instruction and learning for faculty and students across the university. Mallon received her Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University. Before joining Vanderbilt in 2015, she worked as a faculty member and librarian at the University of Pittsburgh and Wichita State University. Mallon has published, presented, and taught professional development courses in the areas of online learning, instructional design, and creative use of emerging technologies in assessing student learning.


"[This book] serves as a useful opportunity for professional reflection and underscores a collaborative mind-set that is a hallmark of many successful library programs. VERDICT: A fast look at digital learning as it relates to library instruction and assessment. Best for LIS students and early career librarians in public services."—Library Journal, February 15, 2018

"Overall, this book provides useful background on digital literacy instruction and information literacy instruction in the age of digital research tools. It is important for academic librarians to keep up to date with changes in these areas."—College & Research Libraries, September 7, 2018

"The Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning is a quick, informative read, with a wealth of useful references for each chapter."—ARBA, March 6, 2019
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