Information Update - Spring 1994
Cultural Diversity At Library
Cultural diversity and bibliographic instruction (BI) were united in the form of a 2 1/2 hour workshop led by Jane Wang, Library faculty, on Oct. 15, 1993. Fifteen Chinese-speaking graduate students from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan participated in a lecture/demonstration of library print and non-print resources, procedures and policies.
In addition to hearing the lecture and seeing the materials demonstrated, the students interacted with the online public catalog and the CD-ROM network in the hands-on environment found in the Library's Bibliographic Instruction Lab. It is sometimes assumed that graduate students already know how to effectively use a library. For many students this is simply not true; the library may be a totally new experience for them. Usually Bl sessions are taught in English, but at this session Ms. Wang conducted the entire program in Mandarin Chinese, customizing the class to the students' language needs. This gave them an opportunity to ask pertinent questions and receive the answers in their native language. According to Ms. Wang, "many international students are embarrassed to ask questions because of the language barrier, but BI conducted in their own language allows them freedom to dialog and ask questions." A lack of research techniques and understanding of library policies and procedures puts international students at a disadvantage. It is this difficulty," says Ms. Wang, that we are trying to eliminate."