Library Services for Online Patrons
A Manual for Facilitating Access, Learning, and Engagement
by Joelle E. Pitts, Laura Bonella, Jason M. Coleman, and Adam Wathen, Editors
October 2019, 200pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5952-6
$60, £47, 53€, A83
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5953-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A practical blueprint for improving online services for library patrons who learn, study, and research online.

This practical and holistic approach to offering library resources and services to online patrons addresses multiple areas of service to online patrons, including reference, instruction, access, and marketing.

Academic libraries are wonderful resources for university students and faculty on campus, and public libraries thrive on providing targeted in-person services such as storytime, makerspaces, and adult programming. It can be easy, however, to forget about the large population of students, faculty, and community members who access library resources and use library services remotely.

Library Services for Online Patrons reaches out to patrons who are not—or not always—located on campus or who seldom—if ever—visit libraries’ physical facilities and who may not be aware of or able to equitably use library services. The authors focus on ways to organize library resources using principles of design and to cater library services to the specific needs of online students, faculty, and community members. They also address how to effectively target marketing to the online population and how to collaborate with campus and community stakeholders who work directly with them.


  • Provides novel services and resources that will save librarians already serving online patrons time and energy
  • Offers a broad, practical perspective to help novice librarians make initial connections with online learners
  • Emphasizes the importance of identifying other institutional players in online education in order to effectively implement and market improvements
  • Enhances understanding of the importance of universal design and how to assess possibilities for improvement in online services
Joelle Pitts is instructional design librarian and Hobrock Distinguished Associate Professor at Kansas State University Libraries. She is responsible for the creation of web-based learning objects and environments aimed at improving the information literacy of the university community. She leads the award-winning New Literacies Alliance, an inter-institutional consortium dedicated to creating institutional, technological, and vendor-agnostic online lessons. She implemented the technical infrastructure for large-scale flipped classroom activity.

Jason Coleman is head of the Library User Services Department and associate professor at Kansas State University Libraries. He is responsible for circulation, reserves, and general reference services at three libraries. He also serves on the libraries' distance education team and manages the libraries' IM chat service. In 2016 he received the libraries' Brice G. Hobrock Distinguished Faculty Award.

Laura Bonella is academic services librarian and associate professor at Kansas State University Libraries. In addition to supporting students and faculty in education and social sciences as the team lead of the libraries' social sciences/education/business team, she serves on the libraries' distance education team. She is also the current chair of ACRL's Women and Gender Studies Section and the convener of the ACRL Balancing Baby and Book discussion group.

Adam Wathen is the associate director for system-wide services at Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kansas, where he oversees programming, outreach, collection, technical services, and circulation. He has formerly acted as a collection manager at Johnson County Library and in academic libraries in roles as a reference librarian, government publications librarian, acquisitions manager, and director of a private college library.


"A strong addition for any academic libraries starting to offer distance learning support services."—Library Journal, April 1, 2020

"Because of the broad focus, Library Services for Online Patrons covers the basics of many public service functions or areas (e.g., online reference, service design). This broad focus and practical bent results in a manual that would be most helpful for those with less experience in these areas. However, because of the inclusion of case studies and templates, even experienced online service providers should still find the book of value. Library Services for Online Patrons is recommended for everyone interested in improving the online library services they provide."—The Library Quarterly, July 1, 2020
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.