SPEC Kit 309: Library Support for Study Abroad · 13
Reference and instruction services are largely de-
livered by library staff at the home library via e-mail,
chat/instant messaging, or phone. Eleven respondents
report they are delivering resource guides and tutori-
als online using such tools as Libguides, Camtasia,
Captivate, and Searchpath. Eight communicate with
students, whether studying abroad or not, by means
of blogs, wikis, and Facebook.
All but two of the home libraries deliver electronic
materials directly to study abroad students and fac-
ulty half of the 28 respondents will also deliver hard
copy directly to students and faculty. A few send
materials to the onsite library instead.
Challenges of Library Support for Study Abroad
Twenty-four respondents described one or more chal-
lenges the library faces in providing support for study
abroad programs. Several categories emerged, as rep-
resented by the comments below.
ILL/DD: “Costs and security of delivering hard
copy library materials. Institutional/policy constraints
to providing document delivery to students.”
Acquisitions: “Materials ordered by the home in-
stitution are shipped directly to the study abroad lo-
cation. It can be difficult to verify receipt of materials
for which we are invoiced.”
Awareness: “We suspect that many Study Abroad
students are unaware that they are eligible to con-
tinue receiving full library services while they are
Time zones: “Time differential in providing refer-
ence services such as IM/Chat which is not provided
at the home institution on a 24/7 basis.”
Cooperation: “Engaging faculty in a serious co-
operative effort geared towards the selection and
provision of library resources.”
Internet access: “While we assert that study abroad
participants have the same access to e-library collec-
tions and services that our local users enjoy (as long
as they authenticate via a proxy server), the reality
may be that hardware, software, and network/band-
width issues abroad may severely limit that access, or
make it impracticable.”
Number of programs: “It’s difficult to keep up
with the ever-increasing number and variety of study
abroad opportunities on this campus, therefore dif-
ficult to know how well we’re meeting needs.”
Changes Over Time
The survey asked whether the number of study
abroad programs—and the number that receive li-
brary support—had increased, decreased, or stayed
about the same in the previous five years. The major-
ity (20 of 28 or 71%) report that both the number of
programs and the number that receive library sup-
port increased. Seven report that those numbers have
stayed about the same. Only one reports they have
decreased. Eighteen respondents anticipate that the
number of study abroad programs will increase in
the coming five years and most will increase library
support. Eight libraries expect that the number of
programs and library support will stay about the
same in the near future.
A comment from one survey respondent summarizes
the current level of library support for study abroad
students and faculty at ARL member institutions,
“We do not have any particular initiatives aimed at
study abroad participants. We have a large number
of distance students (remote users) to begin with and
we provide the same level of support for study abroad
students as we do for distance students. At this point
we are not sure that the students heading off to study
abroad programs know that the services we have for
distance users apply to them. Anecdotally, we do
get feedback every semester from students who go
abroad and tell us that their access to our library’s
databases and full-text journals was a lifesaver.”
According to the Institute of International
Education’s most recent data, over 223,000 US stu-
dents annually study abroad for academic credit.
While this is a small percent of the total student
population, IIE’s annual survey of student mobil-
ity shows steady growth since 1985 and there are
widespread calls to double, triple or even quadruple
the number of participants in the coming decade.
Previous Page Next Page