International Services

2. Internationalize research library services and perspectives


Many U.S. research libraries, reflecting the priorities of their home universities, have geared their collections and services to English-speaking users seeking English-language materials. Diminishing library budgets, an emergent insistence on acquisitions that reflect immediate user demand, and the emergence of English as the lingua franca for scientific publications (which are also associated with marketplace distortions that have skewed library expenditures toward exorbitantly priced journal packages) all reinforce these tendencies. The mandates of globalization, by contrast, require broadly international collections, perspectives, and skills. Global universities require libraries that reflect this imperative in all of their services.


Proposed Areas for Action

  • Engage faculty and students conducting research abroad as “agents” to identify relevant digital and analog sources, and to help build networks for future collaboration.
  • Ensure that all library services and tools accommodate a full range of scripts, character sets, and languages.
  • Develop programs and services that bring international expertise and perspectives to services hitherto based in U.S./English-language sources and scholarship. For example, economic analysis or research in global public health should as a matter of course be informed by international resources and perspectives. This will also reinforce the bridge between traditional “area” librarianship and emergent global concerns.
  • Develop staff training programs that ensure generalized awareness of international and global perspectives as services are provided.
  • Assess the implications for libraries, as well as desired outcomes, of MOOCs and other online teaching.
  • Recognize the demand by increasingly “globalized” students and faculty for research materials from beyond the traditional English-language collections, and implement collecting policies to reflect that demand.

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