Guest Post by Andy Spencer

This post is part of a series. See the other two articles here:

Since 2011, a UW–Madison team of faculty and staff has been serving in an advisory role in the development of Nazarbayev University (NU) in the Republic of Kazakhstan.  The relationship between UW–Madison and NU— currently completing Phase 3 of “collaboration and partnership development”— has focused on the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at NU. This advisory relationship includes the development of the NU Library, with staff from UW–Madison’s General Library System (GLS) and faculty in the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) playing significant roles.

Located in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city, Nazarbayev University opened its pre-college (“Foundation Year”) program in Fall 2010 and its undergraduate schools in Fall 2011. Since the language of instruction is English, NU’s library collection is predominantly in English, which makes it unique in Kazakhstan. The library does, however, collect material in the Kazakh and Russian languages and, to a lesser extent, will be collecting materials in other languages. In addition to its print collection, the library subscribes to a wide range of standard electronic resources.

Over the last two years, several UW–Madison librarians have visited NU. One UW–Madison SLIS librarian traveled to Astana in April 2011 and made a follow-up visit in February 2012. One GLS librarian went to Kazakhstan in February 2012 and two more GLS librarians visited in April 2013. During these trips, the UW–Madison librarians consulted with their NU Library colleagues and provided advice on such topics as cataloging and acquisitions workflows, recommendations for English language print materials and e-resources, collection development and collection management, library management, reference and user services, facilities and infrastructure development, digital projects and staff development and training.

In June 2012, two NU library staff members came to Madison for a week and visited the GLS and SLIS. NU’s library director and another staff member visited UW–Madison for a week in May 2013. During these visits, the NU librarians consulted with the staff of several campus libraries, including Memorial Library, Ebling Health Sciences Library, College Library, Wendt Library and the Wisconsin Tech-Search, Steenbock Library, the Chemistry Library, and the Business Library. The NU librarians also met with SLIS faculty. Two more NU library staff members visited UW–Madison in July 2013 for three weeks of professional development.

Planning is currently underway for a possible Phase 4 agreement between Nazarbayev University and UW-Madison which would also continue the cooperative relationship between the libraries of the two institutions.

Stay tuned: tomorrow we’ll be posting even more photographs from this collaborative trip!