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University Library

Resources for Online and Distance Students

Taking an online class? Learn about how the library can help you succeed.

Welcome, SSU online and distance students

Due to concerns around the global pandemic, COVID-19, Sonoma State has moved from previously scheduled face-to-face classes to online formats.

To get the most up-to-date information from Sonoma State about campus updates, closures, and services, visit Sonoma State's page on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information.

As a student at SSU you are now being asked to participate in an online environment using tools with which you may not be familiar. The first thing to remember is that classes have moved online for everyone, students, faculty, staff and administrators, alike. That means, like you, everyone is adjusting. So, don't panic, communicate: ask questions until you understand the answers. Here are some reminders for conduct as we all make adjustments:

  • communicate with compassion
  • consider everyone's roles and the necessary adjustments they are having to make
  • get to know the tools as best you can but know you may not master them immediately
  • value flexibility
  • know that many of us will be making mistakes and fumbling through this sudden transition
  • ask for help: from your peers, from your instructors, from librarians, from support staff
  • share resources

Library Rights for Online Learners

In 2008 the Association of College & Research Libraries adopted a set of standards designed to help academic libraries to better support online and distance students. The Standards for Distance Learning Library Services are a response to several critical factors, including:

  • the rapid growth of higher education learning opportunities that take place outside the traditional classroom;
  • greater recognition of the need for library resources and services at locations other than main campuses;
  • growing concern and demand for equitable services for all students in higher education, no matter where the "classroom" may be, or in the absence of a classroom at all;
  • a greater demand for library resources and services by faculty and staff at distance learning sites;
  • and the expansion and advancement in technological innovations in the transmittal of information and the delivery of courses.

A key section of the Standards, the "Access Entitlement Principle," communicates the rights that college and university students, faculty, and staff have in accessing library services and resources:

"All students, faculty members, administrators, staff members, or any other members of an institution of higher education are entitled to the library services and resources of that institution, including direct communication with the appropriate library personnel, regardless of where they are physically located in relation to the campus; where they attend class in relation to the institution’s main campus; or the modality by which they take courses. Academic libraries must, therefore, meet the information and research needs of all these constituents, wherever they may be. This principle of access entitlement, as applied to individuals at a distance, is the undergirding and uncompromising conviction of the Standards for Distance Learning Library Services."