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How to promote multicultural resources at your academic library.

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What does it mean to be an academic librarian in 2016? Today’s academic library shapes the future of learning by working with students, faculty, and staff to advance the mission of their institution. From collaborating with different departments to responding to unique student needs, academic libraries work hard to ensure their resources are as diverse as the campus they serve.  

The challenge: promoting multicultural resources on your campus and connecting the right communities to the right offerings. Across the country, campus libraries are coming up with great ideas for spreading the word and fostering multicultural engagement. Get ready to be inspired - we’ve gathered up a few great ways to promote multicultural resources on your campus.

Students getting to know one another.

Host a Language Day.

The inspiration behind this idea comes to us from Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus, who hosted their first Language Day in October 2015. The mission behind hosting a Language Day is simple: promote language diversity on campus and connect students to the library’s range of language-learning resources.

A Language Day is a great opportunity to engage student groups who could be looking for a language-learning resource like Mango, find books in their native language, or connect with language support. For example, draw international students to your event through an activity like FIU’s “Language Reunion,” which brings together students who speak the same language.

Invite campus culture clubs and multicultural organizations like the Latino Student Association to your event. All day long, you’ll be connecting students to one another and promoting an attitude of cultural inclusion and curiosity on campus - all while getting the word out about the awesome multicultural resources available through your library.

Sarah Hammill, a research librarian at FIU’s main campus, shared her vision for Language Day saying that, “Overall, language day will promote the benefits of learning a second, third, fourth or fifth language. Hopefully this creates a collegiality among students, staff, faculty and alumni who wish to share their culture and language.”

Don’t forget to take advantage of Mango Market to promote awareness during events like Language Day. Mango Market is our online marketing hub, allowing you to print, download, and customize promotional materials like table tents, flyers, and even mail-order swag. It’s an easy way to spread the word and connect students to a new resource.


Students at graduation.

Collaborate across departments.

Your library’s multicultural resources have the potential to elevate and enhance courses and curriculum across a range of departments. For example, the Donald B. Watt Library & Information Commons at the School for International Training partnered with their Study Abroad department to offer relevant language-learning resources to students preparing to travel abroad.

Students enrolled in a course traveling to Panama are required to engage in a minimum of 20 hours of Latin American Spanish study with Mango before departing. Students take our course assessment before starting, ensuring they’re placed at the appropriate skill level and learn what’s most useful for them. Likewise, students in a course traveling to Brazil to study Public Health, Race, and Human Rights were required to log 25 hours of Brazilian Portuguese study with Mango.

SIT seamlessly integrated Mango into their course offerings - a great example of the potential collaboration between academic departments and the campus library. Beyond connecting with study abroad programs, you could also work with language institutes serving English Language Learners, Foreign Language departments, business and public policy schools (don’t forget - we offer specialty courses like Legal Spanish and Russian Slang!), and even the English department, targeting courses teaching classical studies.


Computer monitor and keyboard.

Get online.

In today’s digital world, many students will first encounter your library online. Before stepping foot into the physical library, most students will seek out campus resources online. When they log on to the library homepage, what will they see first? How easy is it to search for and find multicultural offerings online? You may offer a free language-learning resource like Mango,  but how many clicks will it take for a student to find the login?

Optimize your website by putting the multicultural offerings you want to promote front and center. Create a quick links sidebar on your home page linking directly to key resources that might otherwise go undiscovered. Like many institutions, the University of Michigan’s research guides are a great way to compile resources for students by interest and topic. Click through to their international studies guide for multimedia resources curated by experts from the University library.

We also love how Agnes Scott College strategically promotes multicultural resources where they are most relevant. Students visiting the Center for Global Studies page will learn that the campus library offers additional language-learning resources to meet student demand for courses not offered by the college, and links them directly to landing pages for each resource.

Be sure to promote your partnerships with other departments online, too. If you’re working with the Language Resource Center to provide students with free access to language courses, cross-promote that information on both sites. Take NYU Law’s website - students exploring global opportunities can click through to the Language Instruction page, where campus resources like Mango are clearly explained and students are directed on how to get started. Need eye-catching web banners and screensavers to help get the digital word out? Mango Market has you covered.

Looking to boost language learning on your campus? With courses in more than 70 languages, Mango serves nearly 100% of student demand. With fully-integrated mobile apps, your students can keep learning in their dorms, in the classroom, and halfway around the globe. It’s just one more way innovative academic librarians are redefining the academic library and the value it holds for campuses and students. Interested in reading our insights on the evolution of the academic library? Read all about it.

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Jillian Rodriguez

Jillian is a writer and editor out of Detroit, Michigan. She loves connecting people through new ideas, interesting stories, and good conversation. In her free time, Jillian loves to read, write, and listen to podcasts - in Spanish and in English!

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