Today was the first full day of our exchange. All six of the Oregon librarians went to a meeting of all the department heads of the Fujian Provincial Library, including the director of the library who gave us a detailed account of the history of the library, the expansion of the programs, and their plans for the future. They have a very goal-oriented, future-focused plan to make their library the exemplar of customer service in China. Looks like they’re well on their way!
Afterwards, we had a tour of the library and talked about their upcoming plans for expansion. They intend to add space for their ever-growing collection and increase resources for public services. They took us to their rare book conservation center where we watched the pain-staking process of repairing ancient books in bad disrepair. The amount of time and love they give to each page of every book would warm any bibliophile’s heart!
Here’s a video of the process of repairing torn pages here:
I was especially interested in their video production department which is tasked with going throughout the province to document culture and history. The movies they make are stunning! They say that they are television-broadcast quality, but I think they are even better than that. The videos should be online on the their website soon — and they plan to do English translations, too. Can’t wait to watch them online!
And of course, the highlight of the Fujian Provincial Library (well, for us, anyway) is the Oregon Room! This is where all the books donated to the FPL from Oregon libraries are housed and circulate.
This afternoon we visited the historic 3 Lanes 7 Alleys section of Fuzhou which has beautiful preserved homes and shops that are hundreds of years old.
Then we went to the Children’s Library — it was delightful! The children’s art exhibit was a big hit, especially the crafty robots made of recycled materials. It’s a large and impressive facility and we could see that the children of Fuzhou love it well.
We were treated to a tea ceremony in Zhengyi College, once the home of the Fujian Provincial Library. It’s a lovely historic building full of charm — and we learned a lot about tea, too!
Our big welcome banquet was just down the street from Zhengyi College — and what a welcome! We were met with course after course of amazing Fujian local delicacies. What a memorable meal and what a memorable start to our exchange.
this was just round 1!