Two West Virginia University librarians will travel to China in May as part of an exchange with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
Jing Qiu and Martha Yancey will spend two weeks observing operations at the university’s library and discussing their work at WVU.
“Visiting and working in an academic library in China will be a tremendous learning experience for our librarians,” said Interim Dean of Libraries Myra N. Lowe. “We are excited about the insights and ideas Jing and Martha will bring home.”
This trip is the second phase of a partnership that began last fall when two librarians from the Shanghai university, Yu Huang and Deyu Gong, spent the semester learning about operations at the WVU Libraries.
It will be a homecoming for Qiu, a Shanghai native who moved to the United States in 1990. She is eager to learn how academic libraries operate in China and what they do in terms of public services.
“Even though I went to school there through college and worked at the university for five years, I never used library services that much,” Qiu said. “Back then, you basically went to the library to study and check out books. I don’t know about other services they offered.”
Her presentation will focus on teaching. Teaching information literacy is a responsibility for most academic librarians in the U.S., but the concept is a new one for libraries in China. Qiu plans to focus on why librarians teach.
“Teaching is a big part of what we do as librarians,” Qiu said. “My hope is they see the value of information literacy and will want to incorporate it in their libraries.”
Yancey wants to concentrate her time with the access services and reference departments, exchanging ideas, comparing practices, and learning how they work with their library users. In her presentation, she plans to focus on a customer service training program the WVU Libraries instituted.
“I am interested in finding out their philosophy of customer service and comparing it to the Libraries’ initiative on service that we began last fall,” Yancey said.
Among other tasks, her plans also include visiting the Shanghai Library to gather information about Chinese stories and fables for children so that she can augment the children’s collection at the Evansdale Library with more multicultural titles.
“I hope to learn new ways of doing my work and to learn more about the Chinese culture,” Yancey said.
Qiu and Yancey will also spend some time off campus. With a degree in ancient history and religions, Yancey is eager to explore places such as the Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and the Jade Buddha Temple.
Qiu and Yancey leave for China in mid-May.
CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, WVU Libraries
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