Proven Strategies for Language Learning

Technology | April 19, 2017

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Is your library implementing a language learning program? EBSCO and Rosetta Stone hosted an informative panel discussion, during which academic and public libraries shared their stories and suggestions.

Internationalization, language learning and ESL are prominent themes for many libraries. On April 12, EBSCO and Rosetta Stone hosted a panel of academic and public librarians who have implemented language learning programming in their libraries. The panel discussion was moderated by Leyna Damico, Global Channel Partner Manager for Rosetta Stone. We’ve provided highlights from their insights and suggestions.

Johnson County Library

Hope Harms is a Web Content Developer for Johnson County Library (Kansas City metro area) and draws from her previous experience in circulation and reference. “We’ve got 13 locations currently. We serve just under 600,000 residents overall and we have a growing Latino population…We have a pretty highly educated community. We noticed a lot of audio CDs for language learning that had high circulation… We wanted to broaden and deepen the language learning we bring to the community.” Johnson County embarked on an evaluation process and selected Rosetta Stone® Library Solution. Thoughtful and visual marketing and promotion emphasized the 24/7 availability of Rosetta Stone, and incorporated strategically-timed communication, social media with strong visuals, staff outreach, a product briefing sheet for staff, web graphics and training sessions.

Tip: Identify your database advisory team and evaluation criteria.

George Mason University

Michelle Polchow is the Electronic Resources Librarian at George Mason University, responsible for overseeing the full acquisition lifecycle for electronic resources, including licensing, marketing and discovery. George Mason is situated in a very international community in the Washington DC metro area. Many students are first generation college graduates, and the university is expanding its international student body. Michelle focused on the value of planning ahead and of generating buy-in from constituents around the campus. George Mason’s roll-out plan began in May and culminated with the live product launch by the start of school at the end of August, followed by an individualized training program. With the goal of positively introducing the library’s new Rosetta Stone initiative, Michelle shared information about the project with a core group of librarians from technical services, the language learning librarian, front desk, the web team, the digital services team, the marketing team and public relations team. “It really grew. Those people took it and shared the message with people I wouldn’t have connections with.”

Tip: Harness the power of connection by building a team of supporters across campus.

Library Team

  • Technical Services
  • Language Librarian
  • Information Services
  • Digital Services/web
  • PR Department
  • Online Learning

Synergy Across Campus

  • Language Department
  • University Life
  • International Student Life
  • Study Abroad
  • Human Resources
  • Staff Senate
  • Career Services

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Robert Burgess is the Digital Resources Librarian at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas. “We have a lot of international students…We also have many students who are studying to become missionaries and want to go in the field and need a way to learn languages. To get into the PhD program, you have to be proficient in German, French and Latin. It’s important for our PhD students to learn these theological languages.” SWBTS implemented Rosetta Stone which, among other improvements, expanded authentication access via proxy authentication. “Now we have the ability to learn more languages, including Latin, and we are able to put a link on our database page for proxy authentication. Instead of having to use their own login and a password they had to create, they can just connect with their Blackboard account.”

Tip: Proxy authentication and a link from the library’s web page has made access easier for students.

Huntington Public Library

Laura McKinley has been working at the Huntington Public Library in New York full time since 2009 at the Station Branch that serves a large immigrant population. Laura teaches citizenship classes and organize ESOL classes for the Branch. “This is really a tale of two different needs, for us at the Huntington Library. At the main, patrons primarily want access to tools to help them learn a new language for travel and enrichment, while at the Station Branch, patrons want access to ESOL programs and tools to help them learn English.” How did Huntington go about implementing a program for patron groups whose needs were so different? They started beginner and intermediate English classes, and later Spanish classes. While a lot of interest was expressed by the community, the library faced obstacles. Space was limited for in-person training classes, and attendance varied. “For us, Rosetta Stone was an answer to all of those obstacles we faced.” Huntington Public Library complemented in-person training, which is very costly and reaches a limited number of people, with Rosetta Stone, which expanded access dramatically.

Tip: Make sure you understand the needs of the target group and getting the message out to the community.

To learn more about language learning, you can download the presentation or listen to the webinar.

View the Recording

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