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Relationship building with students and instructors of ESL: Bridging the gap for library instruction and services

Julia A. Martin (University Libraries, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Kathleen M. Reaume (American Language Institute, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Elaine M. Reeves (University Libraries, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Ryan D. Wright (American Language Institute, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 August 2012

3116

Abstract

Purpose

ESL students often do not utilize the librarian for help or attend library orientation and instruction sessions. Academic librarians and ESL composition instructors need to bridge the gap in order to help guide international students during their academic career. This paper aims to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper will describe the benefits of relationship building between a librarian and two ESL instructors at the University of Toledo and the information literacy instruction sessions created for two ESL composition classrooms.

Findings

The paper finds that librarians and ESL instructors can bridge the gap for ESL students. Understanding the needs of the international/ESL community can help librarians approach ESL instructors or the international/ESL community in a way that allows the ESL student to feel comfortable and to seek out the librarian's assistance as new needs arise.

Practical implications

The collaboration at the University of Toledo indicates that closer relationships are needed between librarians and ESL instructors and that more than one library session is needed to help ESL students feel comfortable with librarians and libraries.

Social implications

Understanding the culture, values, beliefs, and practices that ESL students bring from their home countries and exhibit in the composition classroom can help librarians create programs that help define library services and help to bridge the gap between services provided by the librarian and the ESL composition instructor.

Originality/value

The very strong relationship built between the librarian and the ESL instructors had a very positive affect not only in the initial trial, but also in developing part of the curriculum for ESL composition students. This paper has great potential value for both librarians who are interested in embedding themselves in ESL programs and for ESL instructors.

Keywords

Citation

Martin, J.A., Reaume, K.M., Reeves, E.M. and Wright, R.D. (2012), "Relationship building with students and instructors of ESL: Bridging the gap for library instruction and services", Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 352-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907321211254634

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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