Betsy Williams and Andrea Hebert, DLS Bibliography Committee
Summer is here, and dreams of exotic destinations abound. Just in time for summer vacation, the DLS Research and Publications Committee offers you a sampling of articles focused on library services for those lucky students and faculty in far flung destinations.
Chan, K. P., Colvin, J. B., Vinyard, M., Leach, C., Naumann, M. A., & Stenis, P. (2015). Libraries across the sea: Using a virtual presence and skilled student assistants to serve students abroad. Journal of Library Administration, 55(4), 278–301. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2015.1038921
The authors, all from Pepperdine University, describe their challenges and successes in supporting students studying at international campuses in Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Florence, Heidelberg, and Lausanne. Pepperdine’s international campuses each include a small library; however, the limited number of students (40-75 per semester) do not make it practical to staff the libraries with a full-time librarian. Instead, one study abroad student is hired at each campus to staff the library for five hours per week. The librarians developed a two-pronged approach to support their study abroad students: creating LibGuides specifically designed for the international programs and beefing up the training provided to the student workers.
The new LibGuides include only information that is relevant to the international programs and courses. Students can easily find cultural and academic information, and custom-built search boxes ensure students retrieve only what they can access, such as e-books. Partnering with Pepperdine’s International Programs office was key in creating accurate and tailored course guides.
The new training program for the student workers includes time devoted to customer service. Ongoing training and feedback from the student workers has helped them feel they are valued members of the library community and motivated them to exceed expectations.
Denda, K. (2013). Study abroad programs: A golden opportunity for academic library engagement. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(2), 155–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2012.08.008
Denda’s case study focuses on how librarians at Rutgers University assessed the role of the library in supporting students and faculty in study abroad programs. Through informal discussions with students, faculty, administrators, and in-country resident directors involved in study abroad programs, the librarians learned that students usually have little or no access to libraries or research resources at their host institutions; students, faculty, and resident directors aren’t aware they have access to Rutgers resources while abroad; and students need a platform to disseminate their work done abroad.
In addition to the discussions at Rutgers, Denda reviewed the websites of 115 ARL institutions and found that while 98% offer study abroad programs, only 2% provide a link to the library from the study abroad web pages, and less than 3% of the libraries reference study abroad programs or resources. Most libraries (79%) do provide instructions for remote access on their web pages.
Study abroad programs are different from distance education programs in that they are taught face-to-face and students are immersed in the local community and culture. These programs have their own mission and goals, and library services should address the distinctive needs of each program.
Recommended actions include developing and articulating library policies for study abroad students, extending the institutional repository, assigning a liaison librarian, and engaging more with study abroad faculty and students. The library can be a bridge to connect study abroad students not only to library resources but also to local communities, other study abroad students, and alumni living abroad.
Griner, L., Herron, P. J., & White, S. (2015). Study abroad partnerships: Librarians, business faculty, and in-country facilitator develop an innovative experiential learning program. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 20(3), 189–208. https://doi.org/10.1080/08963568.2015.1046782
The authors discuss how they developed an undergraduate business course through collaboration with faculty and an in-country course facilitator. The set of circumstances that led to the development of the course may be unique to the University of Maryland, but the article presents a good example of how equal collaboration made the course a success for the students and their entrepreneurial partners in Nicaragua.
The course included pre-departure work and in-country work. Students completed a great deal of work before arriving in Nicaragua and attended a library presentation on Nicaragua’s culture and history. During the 10 days in-country, the librarians were on-site to assist with industry research.
Librarians can leverage their subject expertise, their research skills, and their knowledge of the history, politics, and culture of the country to help faculty create context and provide a meaningful learning experience for the students.
Solis, E., & Perkins, D. (2017). Globetrotting students and faculty: Adapting library instruction to global sites. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 11(1/2), 123–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2016.1229419
Solis and Perkins describe the detailed and comprehensive planning, preparation, and outreach behind online library instruction lessons for students at New York University global academic centers in Sydney, Florence, and Madrid. Their efforts included the review of course syllabi, faculty collaboration and support, and the creation of online modules for students to use before a synchronous webinar.
Despite the care and thought behind Solis and Perkins’ project, the turnout of eligible students to their synchronous webinar was low. They identified several factors that may have led to low attendance, including an overly narrow group of targeted students, inconvenient scheduling due to time differences, and a lack of integration into class schedules (also due to time-difference challenges).
Tury, S., Robinson, L., & Bawden, D. (2015). The information seeking behaviour of distance learners: A case study of the University of London International Programmes. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(3), 312–321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.03.008
Tury, Robinson, and Bawden describe a study of distance learners in the University of London International Programmes. Surveys were sent to 1,000 students (65% response rate), including both undergraduate and graduate students, in multiple countries reflecting a geographical spread that included the major markets of the programs. The surveys included questions about demographics, information-seeking activities, and the University of London’s Online Library and its resources, including students’ self-evaluation of their use of the Online Library and its resources.
Tury et al. found that most distance students were more concerned with ease of access than with the relevance, reliability, and accuracy of sources, although graduate students were more likely to place a higher value on relevance, reliability, and accuracy than undergraduate students. They also discovered that non-use of the University of London’s Online Library was “not caused by ignorance of the resource’s existence” (317). The survey found that although the Online Library met some of the needs of all respondents, it met all the needs of less than half. Wilson’s conceptual model of information behavior is proposed as the basis for a conceptual model of the information behavior for distance learners.