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Profiles of academic library services for international students

Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

PROFILES OF ACADEMIC LIBRARY
SERVICES FOR INTERNATIONAL
STUDENTS

By Amanda B. Click

ISBN 978-157440- 509-5

©2018 Primary Research Group Inc.


Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Table of Contents

About the Author ........................................................................................ v
Introduction ............................................................................................... vi
References ................................................................................................. x
Pennsylvania State University: Creative Collaboration ................................ 1
Introduction ............................................................................................... 2
PSU Libraries .............................................................................................. 2
PSU International Student Population ............................................................ 3
PSU Libraries Support for International Students ............................................. 4
PSU Librarian’s Reflections ........................................................................... 9
Conclusion................................................................................................ 10
References ............................................................................................... 11
George Washington University: New Support Models................................ 12
Introduction ............................................................................................. 13
GW Libraries ............................................................................................. 13
GW International Student Population ........................................................... 14
GW Libraries’ Support for International Students ........................................... 15
GW Librarian’s Reflections .......................................................................... 17
Conclusion................................................................................................ 19
References ............................................................................................... 19
San José State University: Energetic Teamwork ....................................... 20
Introduction ............................................................................................. 21
The SJSU Library ....................................................................................... 22
The SJSU International Student Population ................................................... 23
King Library Support for International Students ............................................ 23
SJSU Librarians’ Reflections ........................................................................ 26
Conclusion................................................................................................ 27
References ............................................................................................... 28
Parkland College: Targeted Collections .................................................... 29
Introduction ............................................................................................. 30
The Parkland College Library ...................................................................... 30
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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Parkland International Student Population .................................................... 31
Parkland Library Support for International Students ...................................... 32
Parkland Librarian’s Reflections ................................................................... 33
Conclusion................................................................................................ 35
References ............................................................................................... 36
Virginia International University: Scaffolded Instruction .......................... 37
Introduction ............................................................................................. 38
The VIU Library ......................................................................................... 39
VIU International Student Population ........................................................... 39
VIU Library Support for International Students ............................................. 40
VIU Librarians’ Reflections .......................................................................... 44
Conclusion................................................................................................ 45
References ............................................................................................... 46
University of Colorado Boulder: Innovative Programming ........................ 47
Introduction ............................................................................................. 48
CU Boulder Libraries .................................................................................. 49
CU Boulder International Student Population ................................................ 50
CU Boulder Libraries Support for International Students ................................. 50
CU Boulder Librarians’ Reflections ............................................................... 55
Conclusion................................................................................................ 56
References ............................................................................................... 57

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

About the Author
Amanda B. Click is the Business Librarian at American University in Washington,
DC. She earned her PhD from the School of Information & Library Science at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her MLIS from the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro, and her BS from the Georgia Institute of Technology. From
2008 to 2011, Amanda was an instruction and reference librarian and the
coordinator of instruction at the American University in Cairo. Her research interests
include the globalization of higher education, academic integrity, information
literacy, and library services for diverse populations. Amanda has published her
work in College & Research Libraries, Reference Services Review, Libri, and the
International Information & Library Review. She co-edited Library and Information
Science in the Middle East and North Africa, a volume in IFLA’s “Global Studies in
Libraries and Information” series.

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Introduction
According to the Institute of International Education’s 2017 Open Doors
Report, during the academic year 2015-2016, the international student population
in the United States surpassed one million for the first time - although the numbers
are beginning to flatten after years of growth. The most common countries of origin
for international students studying in the United States are China, India, South
Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Engineering, business and management, and
math and computer science are by far the most popular fields of study. Not
everyone views this as a positive effect of globalization. A Wall Street Journal article
refers to Chinese students who are “clamoring for American credentials” but “are ill
prepared for an American college education” (Belkin & Jordan, 2016).
But the benefits of international students on U.S. campuses are clear to
many. A National Bureau of Economic working paper demonstrated that public
universities depended on international students paying out-of-state tuition rates to
partially offset the reduction in state funding (Bound, Braga, Khanna & Turner,
2016). A recent New York Times article observed that the current decline in
international student enrollment has contributed to financial difficulties for
universities that depended on the $39 billion in revenue provided by this population
(Saul, 2018).
Not all the benefits are financial, of course. International students in the
American classroom support global perspectives and diverse learning environments
(Trice, 2003), as well as help prepare students to work in intercultural
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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

environments (Pandit, 2013). A survey conducted at universities in Canada and
Denmark showed that faculty and staff believe that international students benefit
universities in many ways, including “intercultural diversity and awareness, strong
work ethic and study habits, intellectual curiosity and a more interesting social
environment” (Vinther & Slethaug, 2015, p. 92). A study of three university cohorts
indicated that domestic students who interacted with international students
reported higher levels of development in areas such as learning a new language,
relating to other people, acquiring new skills, and developing original ideas and
solutions (Luo & Jamieson-Drake, 2013).
Many academic librarians make concerted efforts to support special
populations on their campuses, such as international students. These students may
struggle with unfamiliar academic expectations related to communication, research
and writing. This report profiles six academic libraries and the work that they do to
support international students. The following universities and colleges are included:


Pennsylvania State University



The George Washington University



San José State University



Parkland College



Virginia International University



University of Colorado Boulder

They were selected for their interesting work with international students, as
well as their geographical and institutional diversity. Pennsylvania State University
(PSU) is made up of 24 campuses and hosts close to 10,000 international students.
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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

The PSU librarians collaborate with both on-campus and community partners to
develop creative outreach opportunities. The George Washington University (GWU),
a private university in the heart of Washington, DC, embeds librarians in the
English for Academic Purposes program and has designed specialized workshops for
international graduate students. The library at San José State University (SJSU) in
Silicon Valley, serves as both the main library for the university and the San José
Public Library system. The librarians here developed a creative and popular series
of events for International Week – on a tight budget. Parkland College, a
community college in Champaign, IL, serves many international student language
learners. One focus of the collection development work here is ESL materials such
as TOEFL test preparation resources. Virginia International University (VIU) serves
almost exclusively international students. The VIU librarians have designed
scaffolded instruction for ESL students, based on the ACRL Framework for
Information Literacy for Higher Education. Librarians at the University of Colorado
Boulder have applied for and received grants to support outreach for international
students. They developed both online learning objects and thoughtful programming
for this population.
Each of the profiles, which are based on interviews with librarians, describes
the institution, library, and international student population. Specific examples of
outreach, instruction, and other types of support are covered. The librarians from
each institution shared specific recommendations as well. They cover topics ranging
from marketing to effective communication to collection management. These
profiles offer creative ideas and practical advice for providing services, and research

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

and social support. Despite flattening enrollment numbers in the U.S., there are still
more than one million students who can benefit from the assistance that librarians
can provide.

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

References
Belkin, D., & Jordan, M. (2016, March 18). Wave of Chinese hits U.S. schools,
sparking discord. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
http://www.wsj.com/articles/heavy-recruitment-of-chinese-students-sowsdiscord-on-u-s-campuses-1458224413
Brown, J., Braga, B., Khanna, G., & Turner, S. (2016). A passage to America:
University funding and international students. National Bureau of Economic
Research (NBER) Working Paper No. 22981.
Institute of International Education. (2017). Open Doors report on international
education exchange. Retrieved from https://www.iie.org/Research-andInsights/Open-Doors/Open-Doors-2017-Media-Information
Luo, J., & Jamieson-Drake, D. (2013). Examining the educational benefits of
interacting with international students. Journal of International Students,
3(2), 85-101.
Pandit, K. (2013). International students and diversity: Challenges and
opportunities for campus internationalization. In H. C. Alberts & H. D. Hazen
(Eds.), International students and scholars in the United States: Coming
from abroad (pp. 131-141). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Trice, A. G. (2003). Faculty perceptions of graduate international students: The
benefits and challenges. Journal of Studies in International Education, 7(4),
379-403. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315303257120
Vinther, J., & Slethaug, G. (2015). The impact of international students on the
university work environment: A comparative study of a Canadian and a
Danish university. Language and Intercultural Communication, 15(1), 92108. https://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2014.985308

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Pennsylvania State University:
Creative Collaboration

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Introduction
Pennsylvania State University (PSU), commonly known as Penn State, is a
large research-intensive university made up of 24 campuses across the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The largest campus is located in University Park.
The total enrollment at both the physical campuses and the online Penn State World
Campus is close to 100,000 students: 83,436 undergraduate students and 14,058
graduate students. 46,848 of these students are enrolled at University Park, 30,965
at the other campuses, and 12,242 in the World Campus. PSU has a medical school
at the Hershey campus, and two law schools at University Park and Carlisle.
Mark Mattson, the Global Partnerships and Outreach Librarian for Penn State
University Libraries, was interviewed for this profile. Mattson has worked in the
Libraries in various roles since 2009 and took his current position in September of
2016. He has notes that he has “been naturally drawn to global issues and
international perspectives since I started learning my first foreign language and had
that first magical glimpse into a different worldview.” Mattson has a language and
linguistics background and has worked in intensive English programs and taught
outside of the United States. He believes that global citizenship skills, including the
ability to approach an issue from multiple viewpoints, are crucial for today’s
university student.

PSU Libraries
PSU Libraries are both philosophically and in function one single library
geographically dispersed. The librarians at each Penn State campus work very
closely with their campus colleagues but are employees of the PSU Libraries
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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

centrally and report to the Libraries administration. All of the materials in the PSU
Libraries (with the exception of special collections) are available to students at any
campus. The PSU Libraries hold over 8 million volumes, over 500,000 other
materials (maps, audio/visual materials, etc.) and receives over 7 million visits
each year. The PSU Libraries have almost 600 FTE staff including professional staff
and faculty, support staff, and student assistants.
In addition to traditional library resources and services the PSU Libraries are
developing innovative new services in areas including GIS services, data
management, research data services, digital scholarship, entrepreneurship,
intuitional repository, open access publishing, and many more.

PSU International Student Population
Between academic years 2010-2011 and 2014-2015, the overall number of
international students at PSU increased by 83%, and there was a 199% increase in
the number of international undergraduates. In 1999, 1% of the student body was
international, but this increased to 11% by 2016. In the fall of 2017, there were
9,805 international students from 135 countries enrolled across all PSU campuses.
See Table 1 below for more detail.
Table 1. PSU international student enrollment numbers, fall 2017
All PSU Campuses

University Park

Undergraduates

6,891

4,758

Graduates

2,871

2,513

TOTAL

9,762

7,271

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

The majority of PSU international students are from China, then India, South
Korea, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. There are also sizeable groups from Malaysia,
Canada, Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Different engineering majors,
such as petroleum and electrical, are the most popular with international students.
Business, liberal arts, and the sciences, in particular earth and mineral sciences, are
also popular.
There is also a small Intensive English Communication Program (IECP), which
enrolls about 100 students. These students do not necessarily matriculate into PSU
and are considered affiliates of the university. The majority of the IECP students are
from Saudi Arabia.

PSU Libraries Support for International Students
There are several librarians across the PSU campuses who are tasked with
supporting international students. Mattson serves the whole PSU system. His
position is funded as a cooperation between PSU Libraries, the Office of Global
Programs, and the Office of the Provost and his responsibilities include developing
workshops on international information and library resources, building relationships
with international student clubs, supporting international and area studies
colleagues, identifying opportunities for global partnerships, and more. Other
campuses, including Harrisburg and Abington, have librarians who serve as
international student liaisons. At the University Park campus, one of the librarians
in Library Learning Services is the designated English as a Second Language
(ESL)/international student instruction liaison and another holds an MA in Teaching
English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Instruction & Training
In 2016, PSU hosted an international student/ESL library instruction summit,
bringing together IECP instructors and those that teach ESL writing classes in the
Applied Linguistics Department, the English for Professional Purposes Intercultural
Center (EPPIC), a local non-profit called Global Connections, as well as ESL
instructors and librarians from many campuses. The goal of this summit was to
discuss library instruction services, collect feedback about international and ESL
student needs, and identify common themes in the expectations of all these
stakeholders.
During spring, summer, and fall semesters of 2017, the librarians at
University Park taught 46 information literacy instruction sections for ESL 015
Composition for American Academic Communication. This course is designed to
help non-native speakers of English develop their academic reading and writing
skills. Nearly every section of this course includes library instruction, a result of the
close relationship between the ESL instructors and librarians.
The University Park library hosted a Chinese Pronunciation Workshop, taught
by a lecturer in Chinese in the Asian Studies Department, and broadcast to the
libraries on all PSU campuses. The goal was to help attendees feel more
comfortable pronouncing names when interacting with Chinese international
students. More than 30 library faculty and staff participated, and feedback was so
positive that future workshops about Arabic and Korean pronunciation are in the
works.

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Outreach
At University Park, the library is represented at the new international student
orientation, hosting a pop- up library at the resource fair. The pop-up library
includes a 3D printer and variety of books and DVDs that can be checked out, as
well as magnets and other items to hand out. During orientation, students are split
into groups with a peer leader. This leader is responsible for showing the group
different resources around campus, and a visit to the library is an option. Librarians
give tours to the groups that come, and there were 191 attendees in fall of 2017.
Other campuses participate in international student orientation as well, giving brief
library overviews or simply distributing fliers.
PSU Libraries endeavors to make international students feel welcome and
supported in a variety of ways, including working with student groups to host
events. For example, collaborating with the Iranian Student Association to host a
film screening series of Iranian documentaries (http://docunight.com/). The extent
of the support provided by the Libraries varies with each project, but may include
providing space for the event, promotion and marketing activities (graphic design,
press releases, etc.), organization and connection with other possible partners,
coordination of speaker logistics, online broadcasting and archiving, and financial
support. The News and Microforms Library at University Park maintains a display of
newspaper front pages from all over the world, updated daily, at one of the
entrances to the Pattee Library. Some campuses ask international students to bring
in their favorite recipes from home, and the host a luncheon featuring this food.
The library develops a related display. PSU Erie hangs flags from all the

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

international students’ home countries in their library atrium. Other campuses put
up a map display for students to mark their homes with a pin.
The libraries at University Park hosted an event called the Many Faces of
Intercultural Dialog Showcase in the spring of the 2016/2017 academic year and
the fall of the 2017/2018 academic year. Students in the IECP and ESL writing
courses were paired with native English-speaking conversation partners with whom
to practice speaking over the course of a semester. For the Showcase, the sets of
partners put together posters about the experience – what they expected, the
assumptions they made, what they learned from their partners. The event was
quite popular with more than 100 attendees and provided students the opportunity
to give a presentation in English. Because it was open to the public, the Showcase
also introduced the State College community to the many cultures at PSU.

Partnerships
The librarians at University Park regularly partner with Global Connections
(http://www.gc-cc.org/), a local non-profit that is affiliated with PSU. Global
Connections offers English classes, conversation groups, cultural competency
workshops, book groups, and hosts events like an international children’s festival
and poetry night. For example, PSU Libraries sets up a booth at the children’s
festival with coloring pages inspired by materials in the special collections and
information about international children’s literature and books from the education
library. In addition, PSU Libraries allocates some funding for Global Connections.
Other on-campus partners include student groups like the Chinese
Undergraduate Student Organization and Iranian Student Association, IECP, the
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Applied Linguistics Department, the Public Relations and Marketing Department,
and the Office of Global Engagement. In 2016, the University Park library hosted a
workshop on working with international student populations. Librarians spoke about
providing instruction to ESL students, and their own experiences as international
students. The Office of Global Programs co-hosted this event. A close relationship
with the Public Relations and Marketing Department is crucial for promotion both inand outside the library. This department assists with news releases in local and
campus papers, digital signage, posters, fliers, and social media announcements.
At many PSU campuses, librarians are involved in campus committees
related to internationalization and international student issues. Mattson serves on
the International Student Advisory Committee at University Park. The head librarian
at the Altoona campus is actively involved with the Internationalization Committee.
At this campus, the library organizes a “tech academy” for international students
and provides space for their orientation.

Future Plans
Plans include adding tabs to the libraries’ website to provide basic
information in Chinese and Korean, and linking to EPPIC in appropriate LibGuides. A
pilot program for providing reference services in Mandarin for a couple of hours
each week is also in development, as is a database of languages spoken by library
faculty and staff. Several PSU libraries are considering hosting international game
nights, encouraging connections between domestic and international students.
A designated space for intercultural dialog is being explored for placement in
University Park’s Pattee and Paterno Libraries. This space is intended to be a
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pleasant place for language-learning conversation partners to meet, and will include
comfortable chairs, conversation prompts, maps, etc. Mattson hopes to develop a
series of incentives for conversation partners. For example, “go with your partner to
the arboretum and find the common names of the following flowers.” Those that
fulfil all the “missions” would receive a gift card or similar prize.

PSU Librarian’s Reflections
Challenges for International Students
PSU librarians have observed that international students do not fully
understand all that the libraries have to offer – and acknowledge that this is an
issue for domestic students as well. They strive to help students understand that
the library is the place to go for all sorts of assistance and support, from
international newspapers to research help to karaoke machine borrowing. This
population does seem to appreciate the library as a safe and comfortable space for
both studying and socializing, they just do not necessarily understand the American
academic library ethos and how to fully take advantage of resources. PSU Libraries
is a large and complex system, with much to offer. Mattson points out, “In all
honesty, I work in the Libraries and I am also always finding out about services and
resources that I did not realize we had!”

Recommendations
1. Help international students understand what the library can do for them by
getting in touch early, preferably at orientation. Offer a “what the library can do
for you” presentation to each international student group, and talk about
unexpected things (e.g., financial literacy workshops, karaoke machines for
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rent). Mattson noted that students are sometimes interested in unexpected
things: “During my presentation to the Caribbean Student Association I
mentioned the availability of an institutional subscription to Ancestry.com. The
students were curious about it, and multiple times during the rest of the
presentation they interrupted to ask more questions about using this resource.”
2. Find opportunities to develop partnerships. The more the library collaborates
with people, offices, and organizations on- and off-campus who are working to
support international students and scholars, the more the university community
will think about the library in that context. Plus, librarians involved with many
partners across campus are able to identify when two groups are working on
similar projects and help them connect.
3. Talk about what you are doing – in the library, around campus, and with other
universities. Share ideas with other librarians and be active in the national and
international context. For example, you can see Mattson speaking about his
work at PSU on an ACRL Instruction Section webinar, Instruction and Outreach
for Diverse Populations: International Students (Click, Bordonaro, Mattson, &
Megwalu, 2018).

Conclusion
The PSU strategic plan includes several foundational principles that are
supported by the libraries’ work to support international students, including
Enabling Access to Education, Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World, and
Enhancing Global Engagement (PSU, n.d.). The funding of a position like Mattson’s,
the Global Partnerships and Outreach Librarian, indicates that the university is truly
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committed to these principles in the PSU Libraries as well as the rest of campus.
The work done here to support international students is creative and inspiring.

References
Click, A., Bordonaro, K., Mattson, M., & Megwalu, A. (Speakers). (2018, March 23).
Instruction and outreach for diverse populations: International students
[webcast]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/zdgpnhoGeF0
Pennsylvania State University. (n.d.) Penn State’s Strategic Plan. Retrieved
February 15, 2018 from http://strategicplan.psu.edu/

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

George Washington University:
New Support Models

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

Introduction
The George Washington University (GW) is a private research university, and
the largest institution of higher education in Washington, DC. In 2016-2017, more
than 11,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduated students were enrolled. GW
includes the following schools and colleges: Columbian College of Arts and
Sciences, Corocoran School of the Arts and Design, School of Business, Graduate
School of Education and Human Development, School of Engineering and Applied
Science, Elliott School of International Affairs, GW Law, School of Media and Public
Affairs, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Graduate School
of Political Management, College of Professional Studies, Milken Institute School of
Public Health, and Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration.
Ann K. G. Brown, Research and User Services Librarian at the GW Libraries,
was interviewed for this profile. Her research interests include the international
student experience and how intercultural competency and cultural competency can
be enhanced and implemented in academic libraries. Brown’s chapter about
collaboration between libraries and English for Academic Purposes programs will be
published in Improving library services in support of international students and
English as a second language (ESL) learners in 2018.

GW Libraries
Libraries and Academic Innovation is a recent merger of the GW Libraries and
Academic Technologies, which combines the university's key areas in support of
teaching, learning, and research into one, integrated organization. Now faculty,

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

staff, and students can find help with instructional technology, teaching and
learning, peer coaching, online learning, and access to resources all in one place.
GW Libraries a member of the Association of Research Libraries, is composed
of three libraries: Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, the main library, is located on
the Foggy Bottom Campus; the Eckles Library of the Mount Vernon Campus; and
the Virginia Science and Technology Campus Library. The Libraries were an original
member of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), a non-profit
corporation founded in 1987 to support and enhance the library and information
services of universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

GW International Student Population
GW has made a concerted effort to recruit more international students. In
2011, 8% of the student body was international. Most were graduate students. In
2017, 15% are international with a goal of 35 to 40% by 2021. Most students are
from China, India, South Korea, and the Middle East and North Africa. The
university is working to recruit more international students from Africa and Latin
America. At the graduate level, the School of Engineering and Applied Science is
very popular with international students. In fact, around 70% of the students
enrolled in this School are international. Numbers are also increasing in the
Graduate School of Education and Human Development, especially among students
interested in international education.

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Profiles of Academic Library Services for International Students

GW Libraries’ Support for International Students
Orientation
The library holds orientations for international graduate students every
August before school starts. Usually international students are already on campus,
interested in learning about available resources, and have some time on their
hands. Domestic graduate students showed interest and the orientations are now
open to them, although they are designed for second language learners. The
beginning of the session covers topics like databases, the Find It button, the
Washington Research Library Consortium and requesting materials, study spaces,
and food policies. This is followed by a tour of the library. A version of this
orientation is offered online as well.

Instruction
The university offers an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program for
both undergraduate and graduate students who have TOEFL scores high enough to
be accepted, but still need to work on their language skills in order to succeed at
GWU. The program covers the basics of academic research and writing, and US
university culture. The graduate version places a stronger emphasis on writing. The
EAP instructors also lead conversation groups, which focus on skills like interviewing
and giving presentations.
GW librarians are embedded in the EAP program. EAP 1015, an
undergraduate course, focuses on writing and rhetoric. Inspired by a 2016 Ithaka
S&R report on the globalization of higher education, support for EAP 1015 was
reorganized. The report argues that “pairing disciplinary expertise and
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