Tuesday, July 28, 2009

UNCG Libraries Hosted a Delegation from Tongji University Library

By Sha Li Zhang

On July 20 -21, 2009 , The UNCG Libraries hosted a delegation from the Tongji University Library in Shanghai, China. Led by Dr. Jinhua Shen, Library Director, the Tongji University library’s delegation includes Mr. Furong Zeng, Deputy Director, Mr. Zhiming Lu, Head of Circulation Department, and Ms. Hong Wei, Head of Cataloging.

During their stay at UNCG, the members of the delegation had the opportunity of touring the Jackson Library and Music Library, met with librarians and staff, gave a presentation on library services and programs from their library, and had a meeting with AAG members at the University Libraries.

The delegation came to U.S. and attended the ALA 2009 Annual Conference held in Chicago in July 2009. At the Conference, the delegation received 2009 ALA President International Innovative Award on behalf of its library. The Library was awarded for its outreach programs to serve local industries. The Library launched an innovative program - the Auto Industry Information Services Platform in 2006. The platform was strategically designed for planning, collecting, integrating, managing of automobile data, and providing services to local communities. The Library has promoted the platform to local automobile industries through the internet. In past three years, the user group of the platform has been expanded to include 200 local auto companies and more than 2,000 individuals. The Library has conducted nine training sessions and workshops for end-users. The document delivery has reached to 2,650 end-users. Through the platform, the Library provides the users from the local auto industries with the table of contents of 24 auto periodicals. The platform is now being used by major auto companies in China such as Shanghai Auto Corporation. The Library’s innovative approaches to serve local industries are also being recognized by the city officials in Shanghai and the auto industry communities for its visionary leadership, innovative approach as the driving force to help economic development and research activities in Shanghai and beyond.

The Tongji University Library has been ranked as one of the top academic libraries in China for its innovative library services and programs. At the 2008 Chinese American Librarians Association’s 21st Century Librarian Seminar Series held in Kunming City, China, Dr. Jinhua Shen gave a presentation and shared this platform with the audience at the seminar. Mr. James Rettig, ALA President in 2008-2009, was also invited to give a keynote at the seminar. Mr. Rettig was very impressed with the innovative program at the Tongji University Library. In his blog, Twilight Librarian, Mr. Rettig states that “I commend Dr. Jinhua Shen and her staff for their innovation and strategic thinking. It has identified an under-served, perhaps even un-served, community and has developed services that will contribute to the community’s success.”

In her presentation, “Better service, better library” at UNCG Libraries in the morning of July 20, Dr. Shen gave an introduction to the Tongji University Library, its service and administration. Founded in1907, Tongji University offers a wide range of programs in science, engineering, medicine, arts, law, economics, and management. The University’s civil engineering, architecture and urban planning, automotive engineering, and life science programs are among the prominent programs in the country. The Library serves 6,187 faculty and staff, and over 55,000 students. With the Mission of Service Supreme and the professional values on People Oriented and User-centered Idea, the Library applies a variety of ways to enhance students’ learning experience at the University, including hosting lectures, exhibitions, movie weeks, dance performance, and essay-writing and creative multimedia competition at the Library and campus. To support research activities and the area economic development, the Library created automobile industry information platform, biomedical and life science subject service platform, and portals of construction information. In her presentation, Dr. Shen also outlined several trends at the university libraries in China, including the openings of new libraries with new space, furniture, and equipment at many universities; increased the proportion of the electronic recourses; remarkable differences between university libraries in eastern and western regions in China, and challenges on the increasing needs on physic space, qualified staff, and financial difficulty in the rapidly changing information acquisition environment. Dr. Shen’s presentation was well received by the UNCG Libraries’ librarians and staff. After the presentation, a Q &A session was followed.

At the meeting with Administrative Advisory Group (AAG) at the UNCG Libraries in the afternoon, Rosann Bazirjian, Dean of University Libraries, welcomed the delegation. She shared with the visitors the major initiatives at the UNCG Libraries: planning additional learning space at the Jackson Library based on LibQual survey results; using Blackboard to promote electronic resources to the end-users; providing 24/5 learning place at the Jackson Library for UNCG students; building NC DOCKS to support open access movement in disseminating UNCG scholarly publications; offering laptop computer checkout option to UNCG users; increasing electronic resources to meet teaching and research needs of the UNCG community; aggressively seeking external donations and funding to support the Libraries’ mission and goals, etc. The AAG members also answered questions from the delegation at the meeting.

The delegation spent another day visiting the UNC Chapel Hill on July 21. They visited the Davis Library and Wilson Library in Chapel Hill. The delegation heard the reports on “Academic Libraries at UNC Chapel Hill” and Public Services. The delegation also visited the production site of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives where they saw how a piece of a print document or artifact becomes a digital image . Sha Li Zhang, UNCG Libraries’ Assistant Dena for Collections & Technical Services, accompanied the delegation to their visit to UNC Chapel Hill. The delegation left for China on July 23, 2009.

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