Document Type

Community Connection

Publication Date



Universities across the U.S. are seeing incredible growth in the enrollments of international/ESL (English as a Second Language) students. But often, these students arrive with limited library/Information Literacy skills, and reaching out to them is a challenge—they may feel self-conscience with speaking English or may be overwhelmed by the library’s unfamiliarity, and therefore avoid taking advantage of library assistance or training. Because of this, the library at one California State University has launched several exciting, new outreach efforts to international students.

A first effort is “going to them, rather than waiting for them to come,” by directly visiting student cultural clubs (e.g., Taiwan Students Association, Thai Club, etc.) These visits are not conventional instruction sessions, but lively multimedia presentations (popcorn included!) of photos and characteristics of their home university libraries (obtained by this presenter), with comparisons & contrasts to Cal State’s library.

A second effort is thinking beyond the borders—actually networking with overseas university libraries where many of the international/ESL students are arriving from. Through cross-cultural librarian-to-librarian exchanges and information-sharing, instruction for international students is being better customized.

A third effort is special online library guides—specifically designed for students of each foreign country. Located on each are customized links related to their home country, as well as resources the library has on their country. All these efforts, and much more, will be explained in this presentation, with live links and handouts provided. This will be of interest to all librarians with international/ESL student populations.