Teaching Resource Highlight: Multilingual Glossary for Today’s Library Users

Posted by Raymond Pun on 7/19/18 12:04 PM

First Year Experience

resource highlightIf you’re thinking of ways to expand library resources to different populations and communities on campus, but aren’t sure where to start, the ACRL Instruction Section has a new offering that can help. Their Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee recently updated and released the Multilingual Glossary for Today’s Library Users.

What is it and how does it help?

The Multilingual Glossary for Today’s Library Users includes a Language Table of commonly-used library terms in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese. It also provides Definitions for the terms.

From to the committee: “Sometimes showing ESL speakers [a] library term in their native tongue is enough to help them understand its meaning and significance, and the Language Table will help to do this. At other times, the ESL speaker needs to read the meaning of the term to understand its application; in this case, the Definitions will be helpful. Cross-references within the Definitions will take users from one term to another.”

How can it improve your FYE instruction and campus collaboration?

This is a great tool to start integrating into your toolkit if you teach information literacy workshops to special programs supporting ESL speakers and international students. Many schools have a department called American/English Language Institutes to offer intensive English instruction for international students preparing to study at a university in the United States. If you are aware of such program on your campus, speak with them to inquire if they would like to collaborate in supporting those students accessing library resources as well.

Use the glossary to engage with diverse populations while promoting awareness of different languages that exist in library jargon. Include the glossary as part of your ESL/International Student Toolkit, and share it when supporting international students in:

  • First year writing programs
  • Orientations
  • Outreach services


You can make it even better!

If you wish to expand on this glossary, partner with international students who speak languages not yet included to add them into your own list. This kind of resource can help other international students understand and learn that the library can help with academic transitions for all.

Lastly, if you would like to read more about teaching to diverse population groups in academic library context, be sure to explore the Library Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography. It’s a comprehensive bibliography that contains “print and electronic resources key to development of effective methods and materials for providing library instruction and teaching information literacy competencies to diverse student groups.” These are great resources that the Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee have been working on. Kudos to them!


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