Print Resources for Out-of-Country Students

As a quite Caucasian female, who wears glasses and loves to read, in many ways I fit the stereotype of a typical MLIS student, yet I also represent diversity, in that I am online MLIS student who is studying away from my home country (Canada) at an institution that is neither in the country I am currently living in (Hungary), nor my home country.  Although, I have only been in the MILS program at SJSUs iSchool for one semester I know of at least two other students who are in the program studying from a country outside of North America. Several of my colleagues who I interviewed for my previous blog posts were also studying for their master’s degree outside of the U.S.

As online students studying outside of our intuitions’ country we are a special population which needs to be considered when academic librarians are planning their services for online graduate students. While out-of-country students are provided equal access to the online resources, assuming that we are not in a country such as China that limits access the certain internet sites, we do have barriers to equal access to print resources. For myself, living in a non-English speaking country, where I don’t speak the language or understand the public library system it is difficult for me to access print books or even know if they are available. I would expect other students in the same position would have similar struggles, particularly if they are residing outside of a major city.

I emailed our library liaison, Ann Agee (personal communication, November 4, 2014), to ask about interlibrary loan services for students outside of the U.S. at the SJSU King Library and she told me that the interlibrary loan department will mail photocopied materials outside the country, but she made no mention of books, although, the interlibrary loan department will mail books within the U.S. (San Jose State University. King Library, n.d.).  Agee did point me in the direction of the “International Resources Research” page which lists national libraries throughout the world. This is a source that might be of use to some students studying out-of-country.

This brings me to my final thoughts. How can academic libraries reasonably serve out-of-country students, particularly those of us who are studying outside of our home culture and may not have the language resources to use local services? This is a difficult question, because even if libraries were to mail books, which need to be returned, to out-of-country students there is no guarantee that the books would arrive in a timely manner or would arrive at all. One solution I have thought of is perhaps the libraries could set up international networks with English speaking institutions such as the Central European University (CEU) here in Budapest.

What solutions can you think of for academic libraries providing print materials to online graduate students studying out-of-country?

References

San Jose State University. King Library. (n.d.). Online student guide [libguide]. Retrieved from http://libguides.sjsu.edu/content.php?pid=73151&sid=3652763

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4 Responses to Print Resources for Out-of-Country Students

  1. Interesting points to ponder, Andrea! I never considered how international students could utilize interlibrary loans in U.S. schools. The ALA offers guidelines for interlibrary loans for students outside of the U.S. and Canada: http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet08#intl

    I applaud the ALA’s effort, but these guidelines haven’t been reviewed for revision since 2007—the most recent of the revisions!

    Maybe this issue is another reason to push for digitizing all print sources.

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  2. Jenny Clark says:

    Wow! You really have a lot of obstacles to overcome, kudos for persevering! I was pretty thrilled when I found out about the ILL service through SJSU, what a great service. Online schools could start to think about how to reach their students attending school outside the country, perhaps scanning more documents? Although, then copyright and fair use come into play! An interesting topic to explore!

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  3. Andrea says:

    Lauren,

    I would agree that more print resources should be digitalized! That would help with combating an acess problem, yet there are many digital books that are not part of libraries’ collections. These book still might not be accessible to people with limited budget or do not want to buy every book. There have been books I’ve wanted to look at suggested by our professors which are available via Kindle, but not accessible throught the King Library. We need digital and accessible at reasonable costs.

    Andrea

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  4. Andrea says:

    Jenny,

    I have used Illiad for getting journal articles. It is a great service! I am so glad that we have it. I am not sure if they will scan book chapters, but that would be a useful service. I know they can’t scan a whole book, but I remember in Canada when I was doing my undergrad it was within far use to photocopy one chapter.

    Andrea

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