Gratz Library Director Goes the Distance for Distance Learners

An early provider of online education, Gratz College has enrolled students from as many as 36 states and six countries. As the college has extended its geographic reach, so has our Tuttleman Library, providing research support to our students and faculty across the country and around the world.

On-campus faculty and Summer Institute students still make frequent in-person use of the Tuttleman Library. But in the world of distance learning, Director of Library Services Nancy Nitzberg spends much of her time fielding questions from students outside college walls. 

Whether research requests come into the library from across the globe or across the hall, they all receive the same degree of personal and individualized attention. What may differ is the delivery method. For example, Nitzberg has mailed books from the Tuttleman collection to grateful students throughout the continental United States. When copyright laws permit, she also scans and sends research materials electronically to students and faculty, wherever they may be. In addition, she advises them on search techniques for accessing research materials on their own. She has compiled online resource guides for both our education (M.A. and Ed.D.) and our Holocaust and Genocide Studies students (M.A. and Ph.D.), with guides being planned for students in our other programs as well.

She has also arranged for students to access materials in libraries in other cities. For example, when a Gratz student in Paris needed a particular book, Nitzberg located the title in an academic library in Paris and emailed the library director there – in French – to ensure the student could access the collection.

For the director of an academic library, international collaboration is a big part of the job. One such effort took Nitzberg on a cyber journey from Israel to Nigeria, and formed a relationship between Gratz and a Nigerian university. A Gratz student in Israel seeking a dissertation written by a Nigerian student, contacted Nitzberg. After trying multiple channels, Nitzberg accessed the dissertation with the help of the library director at the University of Jos in Nigeria. 

After learning that the sought-after dissertation had been located, the professor wrote, from Nigeria, “Academia is one family and, together, we are stronger.” It is through this spirit of cooperation that Nitzberg is best able to serve our geographically diverse student body at Gratz.

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