SPEC Kit 309: Library Support for Study Abroad · 11
Executive Summary
Research universities have long supported study
abroad programs of varying nature, including short-
term study tours and service learning experiences, as
well as semester- and year-long academic programs.
For this survey, “study abroad program” was broadly
defined as a short-term, formal, credit-bearing edu-
cational program taking place outside of the country
of the home institution. As society becomes more
globally focused, and industry requires workers who
are prepared to work in a multinational environ-
ment, these programs are becoming more critical to
America’s competitiveness.
Providing research materials and library servic-
es targeted to participants in these programs is a
particular challenge. This survey was designed to
explore how ARL member libraries are responding
to the needs of faculty and student participants in
various types of study abroad programs. It explored
which library services and resources are provided
to participants, how library support is staffed and
administered, whether collections are physical or
online, and how services are delivered.
The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL mem-
ber libraries in May 2008. Fifty-three libraries com-
pleted the survey by the deadline of June 27 for a 43%
response rate. Forty-four of the respondents (83%)
reported that their university sponsors study abroad
programs. The number of programs per institution
ranges from as few as two to as many as 1200, with an
average of 141 and a median of 50. At 26 institutions,
study abroad programs receive library support, at
12 they do not. Four respondents did not supply this
data, though one explained, “The programs don’t re-
ceive library support but the individual students are
supported.” The 12 respondents from libraries that
do not support study abroad programs submitted the
survey at this point.
Description of Study Abroad Program
The remaining 32 respondents were asked to select
one representative program and describe its location,
subjects offered, duration, and number of students
and faculty. Some described the overall program.
Not surprisingly, programs are located around the
world and cover a full range of disciplines. They vary
in length from a few weeks to a semester to a year or
more. The number of students ranges from a handful
to over a thousand. The number of faculty is propor-
tional to the number of students and subjects offered,
with as few as one and as many as 68 faculty spread
across a number of locations.
Half of the programs are at a campus that is ad-
ministered by a partner host institution. Only three
are at a campus that is administered by the home
institution. Others are in rented spaces, field stations
or, in the case of the Semester at Sea, on a ship.
Library Support Provided to Study Abroad
All of the responding libraries report that students
and faculty have remote access to online resources
through the home institution in North America.
Twenty-three (74%) report that employees at the home
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