Global Connection: Information science abroad

College of Information faculty Debby Jennings and Barbara Schultz-Jones, seated from front left, and UNT library science and information science students helped build a library from the ground up for the new Carlsbad International School in the Czech Republic. (Photo by Daniel Gildersleeve)For more than a decade, students in the College of Information have traveled abroad to gain hands-on experience in helping libraries around the world.

This summer, Barbara Schultz-Jones, associate professor of library and information sciences, and Debby Jennings, an adjunct faculty member in the college, took 19 library science and information science students -- from UNT's campus and UNT distance education programs -- to the International School of Stuttgart, Germany, and to the new Carlsbad International School in the Czech Republic. Schultz-Jones has led previous trips to Thailand, Albania, Ukraine, Peru and Russia.

Betty Turpin ('12 M.S.), who earned her master's degree in library science through UNT's online program, was a past participant on several trips. This year, she served as a host for the group at the International School of Stuttgart, where she works as the lower school librarian. With Turpin's help, the group cataloged 2,400 items, created 1,500 records for uncataloged items and created a website and a new database.

"We made very serious recommendations about how a 21st-century library operates," Schultz-Jones says.

In Carlsbad, UNT students set up the library for the International School, which opened in August. Schultz-Jones' and Jennings' students have been involved with the library project from its start, helping with its design and furnishing, processing 500 books and other items and setting up software for a library management system.

"You rarely have the chance to build a library from the ground up, so Carlsbad gave us a very unique perspective of our field," says Karen Rippel ('14 M.S.), a trip participant who graduated in August. "It also was wonderful to learn from the other students, who were working in different types of libraries and who brought different perspectives."

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