When I first contacted Sun Hee Choi last year about giving a presentation to the International students about the library, she replied with great enthusiasm and welcomed the library’s reaching out to her. Since then we have kept in touch, and this February she again invited the library to be part of the orientation that her office provides for International students at the beginning of the semester.
Two sessions were offered to the International students to accommodate students’ busy schedules as much possible. After students gradually trickled in for the orientation, Sun Hee started out by providing them with important information about student and travel visas, and the different forms for getting a Social Security Number and a State ID. She also explained how they can apply for jobs at our college, internships, and other work experience. More importantly, Sun Hee emphasized over and over again that she and her colleagues are available to help the students anytime they have a question or a problem in regard to their visa and other relevant issues.
When it was my turn to speak about the library, I couldn’t just start straight with the library services and resources. Those friendly yet determined faces of the students inspired me to share with them some of my experiences years ago when I came to the United States as an international student. I remembered about my culture shock, the language misunderstandings, and above all homesickness and the feeling of being lonely without friends and family. I told them that although I was not alone and was in fact surrounded by many first and second cousins, I still felt lonely and so I escaped to the library. The library became my sanctuary. It was a place where I studied, but it was also a place for me where I could find peace and think about my next steps in life.
And the library here could also become a sanctuary for our students. The many libraries at Touro, some smaller and some larger, in addition to the many resources they offer, are all spaces that students can use to study and work on their assignments. All of the libraries have wifi and a few campuses even loan out iPads to students. The library provides academic and scholarly articles, over 350,000 ebooks and streaming video by reputable channels such as PBS, The American Experience, BBC and more. These are resources that can’t be found via Google and that is one of the advantages of the libraries over Google.
We also have short and sweet video tutorials on almost anything in regard to using the library and its resources. Among them are important tutorials on Academic Integrity and how to avoid plagiarism. The library has put together guides for researching different subjects, including a page specifically for international students!
Just like the Office for International Students is always available to help you with visa issues and navigating student life, Touro Libraries are here to help you with research assignments and using library resources. There are many ways to contact us, including instant messaging, email, phone, in-person, or even via twitter! Just look for the Ask-A-Librarian icon on the library website. We hope to speak to you soon.