K-State Libraries

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Module Summary


K-State Libraries are the academic heart of Kansas State University, maintaining more than two and a half million volumes and subscribing to more than 200 academic databases to support the diverse academic, instructional, and research activities of K-State students and faculty. However, many distance students and teaching faculty are not aware of the myriad services and resources available to them. Given the prominence of the research agenda in the K-State Vision 2025, distance teaching faculty need to support the development of student research using library tools and resources. This module highlights what is available at a distance and how teaching faculty can integrate the library into their distance courses. It includes information about library instruction and research/reference services and tools and software that aid the research process.

Bulleted Takeaways

Learners will:

  • Explore what services and resources can be utilized by distance students and faculty
  • Review how to embed library services and resources into online courses
  • Access links, flyers and other tools to use for library/research advocacy to their students

Module Pre-test

1. What are the library services and resources that may be used by distance students and faculty?

2. How may faculty embed library services and resources into their online courses?

3. How may faculty access links, flyers, and other tools to use for library / research advocacy for their students?

Main Contents

Almost all Kansas State University Libraries services are available to distance instructors and students. The Libraries work hard to ensure distance patrons have the same level of access to resources and services as on‐campus patrons. It’s important that you know what services are available to you and your students, and how to access them.

An Overview of Library Services

The Libraries are staffed by more than 100 information professionals, including almost 40 librarians on the Faculty. Librarians serve as expert consultants for every program offered here at K‐State. They can help you navigate the wealth of information available through both the Libraries and the free web. They have expertise in areas like resource evaluation, plagiarism, citation building and analysis, search strategies, finding and using data, and copyright issues, among many others.

The Libraries offer information literacy instruction as well as classes, tours and information on specific research tools like RefWorks. The Faculty and Graduate Services department is committed to forming collaborative relationships with faculty and graduate students to enhance and supplement research and education activities. The Undergraduate and Community Services department collaborates with faculty and instructors to improve undergraduate learning and scholarly activity. Librarians can work directly with your classes to provide tools and resources that will help your students complete research and other academic assignments.

The Libraries provide a fantastic electronic reserves service for distance faculty. Instructors can collaborate with our online reserves specialist to upload articles, book chapters and other assigned readings to your K‐State Online course, while adhering to copyright and fair use regulations. We also provide access to some streaming video services. The Libraries also offer interlibrary loan and document delivery services to distance instructors and students. When you need an article, book, piece of music or other item that the Libraries doesn’t own or have access to, the item can often be borrowed from another library and mailed or electronically delivered to you.

The Libraries also offer high quality reference services for distance patrons. There are many ways to contact library staff for help including: email, instant messaging, telephone, and scheduled one‐on‐one sessions for more in depth assistance. Reference services are available nights and weekends in order to provide assistance to non‐traditional students or those who conduct research outside of typical business hours.

Additionally, the Scholarly Communications and Publishing department is responsible for educating and informing the academic community on issues and trends in open access, copyright and scholarly publishing models; and promoting growth and sustainability of the K‐State Research Exchange (K‐Rex), New Prairie Press, and digital collections.

The traditional way academic libraries differentiate themselves is through the strength of their collections. For K‐State Libraries, these research collections include cookery, the consumer movement, military history, biosecurity, and children’s literature. The Libraries also provide access to over 200 academic databases ranging from broad and interdisciplinary collections of journal articles, to more focused, subject‐specific collections.

Many library patrons, especially non‐traditional students who may have been away from the university environment for several years, are surprised to learn about all of the print and electronic resources available to them. Distance or remote users have access to over 2.6 million print volumes through document delivery, a service where library staff will scan and deliver online articles or up to 50 pages from a book. For the price of return postage, distance or remote users may have some items from K‐State Libraries delivered to them, too. For immediate, online access the Libraries have purchased or subscribed to thousands of journals, newspapers, electronic books, streaming videos, and digitized primary source materials. All of the databases and most of the remaining library resources are available and free of charge to distance students and faculty.

The Libraries also create and maintain many digital collections that are of particular interest to members of the K-State community and residents of Kansas and the surrounding area. These include two historic photograph collections, the Biodiversity Information System, known as BIODIS, the K‐State Research Exchange, (our digital repository here at K‐State) and the New Prairie Press, an open access home for scholarly journals.

In addition to providing access to millions of books, articles, photos and other scholarly work, K‐State Libraries create tools and resources that aid researchers and contribute to scholarly work. They have proved themselves to be invaluable to an incredible number of students and faculty. They have created tools such as the assignment planner to help students understand the research process and the time it takes to conduct research. The “Get It” system allows researchers to find articles and books quickly throughout our collections. The “Search It” discovery tool allows researchers to search across library databases, the catalog and digital collections with a single query. And faculty love tools like the Citation Linker, LibX and LinkIt to find and navigate to resources quickly and easily.

K-State Libraries distance learning services and resources are dedicated to assisting students and faculty in research and scholarly activity.

Interlibrary Services

What are Interlibrary Services?

Interlibrary loan is a service available to all students, faculty and staff at K‐State. The bottom line is, if K‐State Libraries don’t own an item, they can often borrow it from another U.S. or international library. Once the item is received from the other library, it can be shipped directly to K‐Staters who live in remote areas. Distance users can also request items that the library does own from Interlibrary Services through the ILLiad system. The items will be checked out to the users on their library accounts and shipped directly to them. The user will only be responsible for the cost of return postage.


You can submit interlibrary loan requests through our ILLiad system. This system will allow you to not only submit requests, but also to edit them, ask for renewals, and download articles you’ve requested as PDF files. It’s very easy to set up an account using your eID and password. Be sure to specify your status as “Distance Patron” when you register for ILLiad.

Types of Materials

The Libraries are often able to obtain books (unless they’re too new or too old to be lent); musical scores; dissertations; government publications; maps; pdfs of journal articles and book chapters and much more—just about anything that isn’t rare or extremely expensive. Videos and DVDs are not borrowed from other libraries for distance K‐Staters because the loan period for these materials is too short to allow time for shipping. Textbooks that are required reading for your classes can not be requested.

Library staff can scan articles and book chapters (up to 50 pages in length) from journals and books in the K-State collection. You should complete a separate request form for each article or book chapter that you need. You don’t need to know whether K‐State libraries owns the journal or book when you make a request—staff will scan from our materials if possible, or try to obtain pdfs from another library if necessary.


There is almost never a charge for anything you receive from Interlibrary Services. There is no charge for scanning articles or for shipping materials, but you are responsible for the cost of shipping materials back to the library. Physical materials like books and musical scores can be shipped to you by UPS to addresses in the United States.

How Long

Typically, there is a two to five day waiting period for electronic items like journal articles or book chapters. It can take between three and ten days or more to receive requested materials here on campus and then several more days for shipping to remote users, so you should allow plenty of time when making requests. It pays to plan ahead if you need an item by a specific date and it never hurts to remind your students that waiting until the last minute to complete research for an assignment will lower their chances of interlibrary services being helpful to them.


Library instruction is a critical service offered by the Faculty and Graduate Services and Undergraduate and Community Services Departments in the Libraries. Use the Library Instruction Menu to request a librarian provide instruction to your class.

[Forthcoming video of Adriana speaking about library instruction]

Librarian Role in KSOL

There is a new role in K-State Online called “Librarian.” This role has the power to publish content in your course, such as folders, files, and links, but does not have the power to alter course settings, or view the assessment suite, keeping your students’ grade information private. The Librarian role is the perfect avenue to integrate a librarian into your distance course.

Research Help and Reference

The K‐State Libraries are committed to providing excellent research help and reference services to our students, faculty, staff, and community patrons. Research can be difficult and we are here to help.

Ask a Librarian

The library houses millions of books, documents, resources and other tools. Navigating the huge library infrastructure and collections can be intimidating, especially when you can’t come into the library for in‐person help. This is where the outstanding virtual library reference service becomes invaluable. You and your students can get library help over 80 hours a week, including nights and weekends, by using the Ask a Librarian service. The librarians and reference specialists who staff the virtual reference desk are friendly and helpful and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you get connected with the information you need. “Library Help” answers thousands of questions from students and staff every month ranging from “Do you have this book?” to “How can I find in‐depth research on my topic?” Library staff collaborate with just about every program on campus and are able to field questions in every discipline.


Research Help and Reference at a Distance

There are four ways you can get help as a distance patron: you can text, call Library Help, email questions or use the very popular instant messaging system ‐‐ you simply enter your question and during service hours a librarian or reference specialist will answer you within seconds. Librarians answer all sorts of questions on just about any topic, so don’t be shy. It’s also a great way for students to voice questions anonymously.

Distance students and staff can also schedule research consultation appointments with librarians. Graduate students and instructors can schedule time to call or chat virtually with librarians in the Faculty and Graduate Services Department. Undergraduate students can do the same with one of the Undergraduate and Community Services Librarians. To request a one‐on‐one session, you can email Library Help anytime or IM during service hours to be connected with a Librarian.

Help Outside Service Hours

Patrons looking for information or good places to start research on a specific topic can check out the Libraries’ Subject and Class Guides. Library staff maintain many research guides in a variety of academic disciplines ranging from Agriculture to Women’s Studies. Typical subject guides include links to electronic copies of major journals, specialized databases, subject specific organizations and websites as well as other electronic resources and collections. Librarians also maintain and create interdisciplinary subject guides to meet the needs of researchers for the most current issues, such as visual literacy or sustainability. Librarians will work with instructors to create individual class guides that provide students information and resources which pertain specifically to the course themes and assignments. The Libraries also maintain several web pages, tools and tutorials on using the library. These resources are geared towards users with a variety of educational and research backgrounds and can be found under the Help heading on the Libraries homepage.

From the Libraries homepage, users can click on “Information for Distance Learners” link for some basic information on how to find materials and resources in the library from a distance. Many distance patrons don’t know they are able to use the library or have library materials sent to them. There are a number of online resources to help. Distance students are also the most likely to gather most if not all of their information and research online or electronically and often need more help in evaluating web resources. Citation assistance is also in great demand both on and off campus and there are several tools and resources available help. The easy to navigate citation tools and help pages will give distance users a starting point if they have questions outside of service hours. The Libraries also provide links to the best citation builders and help sites all in one place.

Scholarly Communications and Publishing

The Scholarly Communications and Publishing department is responsible for educating and informing the academic community on issues and trends in open access, copyright and scholarly publishing models; and promoting growth and sustainability of the K‐State Research Exchange (K‐REx), New Prairie Press, and digital collections.


Librarians in the Scholarly Communications and Publishing department host the Copyright Consultation Service and are glad to discuss copyright questions with K‐State faculty, staff, students and others affiliated with the university. The Fair Use and Copyright module will go into much more detail about the nuances of copyright in higher education, but you should know that this service exists and that you can contact us with questions regarding fair use, open access, creative commons, plagiarism and other issues related to copyright.

The Scholarly Communications and Publishing department is committed to educating and assisting the entire K‐State community about digital collections, electronic publishing, K‐Rex (the K-State digital repository) and current scholarly communication. Librarians are happy to field questions and assist in the publication and preservation process for your scholarly work.



K-State Libraries subscribe to more than 200 databases which provide access to millions of articles, books and images electronically. These databases range from broad, interdisciplinary databases like ProQuest Research Library to narrow specialized databases such as PILOTS (Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress). You can search for databases by name, if you know it, or by subject. There are also databases which include a wide variety of electronic books, such as NetLibrary, Safari and Springer Link. While many databases include the full text of articles, reports, and other materials, there are still many instances when the full text is not available in the database you are searching. Fortunately, many databases are powered by the Get It system which enables you to search for the full text in our other collections. Get It also searches the catalog for print versions of the article, which you can request to be scanned and emailed to you at no charge.



If you want to know if K-State Libraries subscribe to a specific journal title online, you can search the E-Journals database. Just click on the E-Journals link and enter the title of the journal. The system will search for the title and provide links to the databases which provide access. Be sure to notice the dates listed under each database as not all issues of a journal are available in every database.

Digital Collections

Digital collections include collections of specialized information available online. Most collections are specific to Kansas and Kansas State University. These collections are a great way to engage your distance students in the K-State Community and provide them with information they’ll find useful as residents of Kansas and the surrounding region.


The K-State Research Exchange, or K-REx, is a digital archive of scholarly works created by students and faculty here at K-State. K-REx is a service meant to preserve and provide permanent access to scholarly materials created by K-State faculty and students. Materials available in K-REx include journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, white papers, electronic theses, dissertations and other resources. Items in K-REx are freely available on the web and are indexed by and accessible through web search engines. Unlike most web sites, files within K-REx are maintained for the long term.


Historical Photographs

The Historical Photographs collection showcases a selection of historical photographs preserved in the University Archives. The images are representative of what is contained in the collection and include photos of students, campus life, buildings, faculty, athletic teams, military training and more from the 1880s to 1950. The entire collection in the University Archives contains over 100,000 images. Though some distance patrons may never make it to campus to see all of the photos in the archive, viewing the selection in the digital collection can help students and faculty feel more connected to the campus and the K-State Community.



Also called the Biodiversity Information System, this is a project meant to expose information associated with the University’s natural history collections to a diverse group of users. Based largely on K-State’s Herbarium and Museum of Entomological and Prairie Arthropod Research, BiodIS is a portal for users of all ages and fields who have an interest in or need for biodiversity data, including taxonomic, geographic, and ecological information. BiodIS is a partnership between the Division of Biology, the Department of Entomology, and K-State Libraries. Distance patrons located in Kansas and the surrounding area will appreciate the many beautiful images and resources within this collection and will be able to connect K-State Research with their own geographic location.

Kansas Aerial Photography Initiative (KAPI)

The purpose of this initiative is to preserve and provide access to over 65,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture aerial photos of Kansas counties. Aerial images dating from the 1940’s can be found in this searchable image archive. Kansas residents will enjoy finding the location of their homes and property as they appeared decades ago. Residents and researchers can also request copies of these photos via the KAPI site.


While you can find articles, electronic books and book chapters in the databases, distance patrons can also access the online library catalog that lists all of the physical materials housed in various library locations, plus the electronic journals, books and resources to which have been subscribed to or purchased. You can narrow your catalog search to only include items that are available electronically, but most of the physical collection can be mailed to distance patrons. Users can perform simple or advanced searches, but should remember to omit leading articles like “A”, “An” or “The. Click on the title of the item you want to get more information. In the record, you can discover the status of the item and use the Subject Headings to find more materials like it. Once you’ve found the item you want, log into our Interlibrary Services system to request that it be sent to your location.

Search It

The newest library research tool available to the K-State Community, Search It provides a single search interface through which users can search most library databases, digital collections and catalog records. Search It is primarily used in undergraduate research, as it provides a broad, Google-like approach to searching. However, many distance users may find it useful, regardless of status, to discover the types of resources and materials at their fingertips. Search It can be customized to save search results, articles and queries. The Search It tutorial contains videos, screenshots and other helpful information to become acquainted with the newest breed of library search tool.

Library databases, E-Journals, catalog and Search It can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection: you’ll just be asked to provide your K-State eID and password if you’re off campus.


Customized course guide for ENGL 100, Expository Writing

APA citation page in a research guide

Module Post-Test

1. What are the library services and resources that may be used by distance students and faculty?

2. How may faculty embed library services and resources into their online courses?

3. How may faculty access links, flyers, and other tools to use for library / research advocacy for their students?



The library provides a wide variety of resources and support services for online instructors and learners. Faculty are encouraged to make some resources available to their students in online courses. Cool Tools highlights a variety of tools available to students, in a colorful digital flyer. Faculty and Graduate Services highlights the services available to both faculty and graduate students. Finally, this student flyer lets learners know what services the library will provide for them. Faculty may review Distance Education Faculty's Top 10 Points about Library Services highlights a countdown of library services.

Extra Resources

Additional Links and Resources

Information for Distance Learners

Assignment Planner

Link It

Request an Instruction Session

Ask A Librarian FAQ and Chat

Distance Student FAQs

Electronic Reserves

Interlibrary Services for Distance Patrons

Search It

Class and Subject Guides

Cool Tools