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School Library Program

Study Abroad

Thailand 2003

In June 2003, two faculty members (Dr. Carol Simpson and Dr. Elizabeth Figa), one doctoral student (Barbara Schultz-Jones), and nine masters degree students in the School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS) embarked on the first SLIS living-learning-working study abroad adventure in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, located at the far north side of Thailand.

The team worked for two weeks at the Chiang Rai Montessori School, an English-speaking institution that qualifies students for admission to international schools. The SLIS students took two intensive field experience courses as part of this Study Abroad program – School Library Operation and Policy Development and Advanced Storytelling. The primary goals were to perform a complete retrospective library conversion project and to present a multicultural storytelling concert for the community. The group also developed a policy and procedures manual for the school in order that the staff could continue the work once the team departed.

Dr. Simpson points out that “by learning English, many of the children in the area will have a better opportunity to move into trades more lucrative than farming or working in a factory.” (SLIS Call Number, 2003, p. 7)