Brock instruction librarian goes international with new book

Karen Bordonaro

Once an international student herself, Karen Bordonaro works with international students every day in her job as a teaching and learning and liaison librarian at Brock University. Now she is sharing her insights into working with this population and examining the growing phenomenon of internationalization in higher education in a new book: Internationalization and the North American University Library (Scarecrow Press).

Coming at a time when university mandates look beyond borders in an effort to become more international, this book investigates the role of the North American university library in internationalization. The book also explores how librarians and international users personally experience the phenomenon of internationalization in higher education in the United States and Canada.

Bordonaro avoids defining the term, saying “This book is an attempt to answer that question.  I didn’t offer a personal definition, but instead I collected what these various groups thought.  Librarians working with international students defined internationalization as the broadening of knowledge; international students defined internationalization as themselves being part of a greater whole; and international scholars defined internationalization as the building of international research connections.”

The cross-border research project included an online survey of academic librarians in Canada and the U.S., followed up with personal interviews of librarians, international students and scholars at two institutions. Both librarians and international users emphasize the importance of university library roles such as providing resources, spaces, assistance, and service.  Employing the lens of internationalization in which to consider these roles further expands them to include fostering intercultural awareness, promoting global citizenship, disseminating information worldwide, developing international research connections, and practicing inclusivity.