Meeting Campus Linguistic Diversity: A Multilingual Library Orientation Approach

Jennifer Congyan Zhao, Nazi Torabi, Sonia Smith


This study sought to determine whether offering multilingual orientation sessions to non-native English-speaking students at the beginning of an academic year would improve their knowledge of library services and resources. In September 2015, McGill Library offered 11 orientation sessions in five different languages—English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Persian, and Spanish. A total of 74 students attended the sessions. Noticeable attendance patterns included: (1) sessions offered earlier in the semester had high attendance and (2) the Chinese sessions received the most participants. This study also evaluated students’ learning via an assessment questionnaire at the end of each session. The assessment results suggest an increase in students’ awareness of services and resources offered by McGill Library. This article reports on the planning, implementation, and assessment of this program; discusses the challenges encountered and lessons learned in organizing and delivering these sessions; and provides recommendations on organizing similar multilingual library orientation programs to address the needs of a diverse student population on campus.



linguistic diversity; library orientation; non-native English-speaking students; international students; multilingual library services


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