SPEC Kit 309: Library Support for Study Abroad · 15
Survey Questions and Responses
The SPEC survey on Library Support for Study Abroad was designed by Ann Lindell, Head, Architecture
&Fine Arts Library, University of Florida. These results are based on data submitted by 53 of the 123 ARL
member libraries (43%) by the deadline of June 27, 2008. The survey’s introductory text and questions are
reproduced below, followed by the response data and selected comments from the respondents.
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. As society becomes more globally focused, and
industry requires workers who are prepared to work in a multinational environment, these programs are becoming more critical to
America’s competitiveness.
According to the Institute of International Education’s most recent data, over 223,000 US students annually study abroad for
academic credit. While this is a small percent of the total student population, IIE’s annual survey of student mobility shows
steady growth since 1985 and there are widespread calls to double, triple or even quadruple the number of participants in the
coming decade. Congress is pushing forward with the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act that establishes the
recommendations put forth by the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program. This legislation creates
a national program that will establish study abroad as the norm, not the exception, for undergraduate students. It would use
leveraged grants to increase the number of American students who study abroad to one million annually within a decade. The bill
has passed the House of Representatives and awaits approval from the Senate, where it has strong bipartisan support.
Study abroad programs are often now integral to degree programs across the academic disciplines, incorporating increasingly
rigorous research components. Providing research materials and library services targeted to participants in these programs is a
particular challenge. This survey is 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 explores which library services and resources are provided to
participants, how library support is staffed and administered, whether collections are physical or online, how services are delivered,
etc. It strives to identify the challenges inherent in serving these constituencies, and to highlight innovative solutions to these
For the purpose of this survey, “study abroad program” is broadly defined as a short-term, formal, credit-bearing educational
program taking place outside of the country of the home institution.
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