The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) has launched a new initiative on collaborating with libraries in China this year. This endeavor is modeled on a pilot project of the CALA Midwest Chapter in the summer of 2006, collaborating with the Yunnan Provincial Library Commission on Higher Education, and Yunnan University Library, to conduct seminars on issues related to world librarianship.
The seminar proved to be very successful. From July 17th-21st, the CALA Midwest Chapter delegation, consisting of Shuyong Jiang, Xudong Jin (group leader), Haipeng Li, Haiwang Yuan, and Lisa Zhao, conducted a 5-day seminar on topics of librarianship at Yunnan University. The seminar, entitled "CALA Twenty-first Century Librarian Seminar Series (中美图书馆实务培训研讨会)," was co-sponsored by the Yunnan Provincial Library Commission, the CALA Midwest Chapter and Yunnan University. The focus of the seminar was to provide a practical way to examine librarianship in the United States. More than 100 librarians from China participated in the event. Topics covered include library management, reference and instruction, cataloging and digital libraries, library consortium and outsourcing, challenges and opportunities, and many others.
Feedback from participants was very positive. In fact the seminar turned out to be so successful that the Yunnan Provincial Library Commission on Higher Education requested that CALA repeat it next year. After some discussions, the Yunnan Provincial Library Commission and CALA signed an agreement to conduct a similar seminar for a three year period: year one (2006) with Yunnan University (already completed); year two (2007) with Yunnan Normal University; and year three (2008) with the Kunming Polytechnic University. Future collaboration will be explored further after the initial three-year period. For more information on this seminar, please go to http://tigger.uic.edu/depts/lib/projects/resources/calamw/2006_07/yunnan/yunnan1.htm
Two other universities in China also contacted Haipeng Li, CALA President, and expressed serious interest in collaborating on similar projects. These were Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin Province, and Shanxi Agricultural University near Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. On behalf of CALA, President Haipeng Li signed an initial agreement with the Northeast Normal University and made a verbal agreement with the Shanxi Agricultural University for collaboration next year. Also while there, Xudong Jin, CALA International Relations Committee Co-Chair and immediate past president of the CALA Midwest Chapter, was authorized by President Haipeng Li to sign an initial agreement with the Yunnan Provincial Library Committee to conduct a similar seminar for public libraries in Yunnan Province next year.
This is a very exciting time for CALA and all of us as Chinese American librarians. We are in the best position to carry out projects as such and will be forever the most suitable ambassadors in building relationships between libraries in the U.S. and China.