Pandas and Presentations

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Traveling has its ups and downs, its lucky moments and bad breaks. Things don’t always go as planned, but then something else works out even better than before. That’s both the fun and the stress of traveling.

 

Our last day of the Horner Exchange (and our penultimate day in Fuzhou) was a perfect case in point.

 

We were supposed to visit the Fujian Medical Library, but they were frantically in the midst of an accreditation review and weren’t able to host us. But it turned out to be fine because that meant that we had time to visit the campus of the Fujian Traditional Chinese Medical University. Coming from a Chinese Medical school myself, this was very appealing to me – and as an added bonus, a friend and former colleague of Jian’s works there so she would host us herself.

 

Richard wasn’t feeling well that morning so unfortunately he missed the visit and stayed back at the hotel to recuperate before the afternoon presentations. But Jian and I excitedly headed back out to Fuzhou’s “University Village” to visit a completely different kind of library than the ones we have been visiting.

 

The campus of the Fujian TCM University is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. As one might expect, the grounds are designed with feng shui, health, and balance in mind. In practice, this means a beautiful, natural setting with flowing paths and open spaces that all work together to create a harmonious and relaxing atmosphere. The library director met with us and said that TCM students have to work and study extremely hard to learn the discipline – harder than other medical students since they also have to learn philosophy, ancient Chinese, calligraphy, AND western medical practices on top of learning the esoteric workings of Chinese medicine. Because it’s such a stressful discipline, the university tries their best to make a pleasant, stress-free atmosphere for their students.

 

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the view from the library lobby- Confucius looks out over the lake and mountains

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panda pillows ! We were gifted these adorable pillows with the school’s mascot, Luo Luo who reminds me a lot of OCOM’s mascot, Moco!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend much time in the library which was disappointing especially since I was hoping to do some collection development research. Funny that after 3 weeks and 20 libraries, I was disappointed that we skipped the library! We did stop in briefly, however, and got to see their collection of famous doctors’ prescription sheets which were written in beautiful calligraphy. The library director told us that even now they encourage their students to write out prescriptions in brush calligraphy because it encourages them to be more thoughtful, clear, and precise. How’s that for a marked difference between Chinese and western medicine?!

 

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a preserved calligraphic prescription

What they really wanted to show us wasn’t the library, but their brand new museum of traditional Chinese medicine which was indeed very professional and impressive.

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They treated us to a lavish lunch in their impressive university “canteen.” And since this is a school of traditional Chinese medicine, of course, every dish had a curative property. Suddenly, my OCOM lunch options seem so inadequate…

 

We had spent too long enjoying the good people and placid campus of Fujian TCM University and had to hurry back across town to Fujian Provincial Library for our 2:30 presentations. But thanks to our driver’s skill and a little traffic luck, we scooted into the building about 10 minutes before our start time. No sweat! Okay, there was a little sweat, but it all worked out fine. Richard was feeling better after his morning rest and gave his presentation about reading promotion in Oregon and I presented on library data services in the age of big data. And Jian, so tireless and capable, presented on both topics since she translated for us!

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On that note, as we wrap up this trip, I want to give a special thank you to Jian who has been the superhero of this trip. We would not have had nearly as productive an exchange without such a skillful translator. Her language skills in both Mandarin and English excellent – Richard and I already knew how well-spoken she is in English, but she is also regularly complimented for her perfect Mandarin. One person said she sounded like a Chinese TV newscaster and she sheepishly admitted that she’d been her college TV station’s news anchor! But even more than that, having someone who’s so knowledgeable about so many aspects of librarianship has been invaluable. I would ask a half-baked question about, say, inter-library loan, and she was able to formulate my jumble of words into something meaningful that prompted a useful exchange of ideas.  On top of all that, she also has lots of professional connections here in China that added so much value to our trip – including this day’s university visit. Thank you, Jian! We really could not have done it without you!

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In Which We Return to Fujian Provincial Library – Again!

Yesterday, we spent more time at Fujian Provincial Library today visiting two more departments. The morning was spent with the Technology and Cultural Sharing Department and in the afternoon we visiting the Reading and Lending Departments.

 

You may be curious about the title of the department, “Technology and Cultural Sharing.” Well, it’s two different departments together in one, but once you learn about it, it does make sense why they’re together.

 

The technology part is pretty much what you would expect from a library’s technology department – they deal with the library’s network infrastructure, databases, computer labs, etc.

 

The Cultural Sharing part, however, is something unlike any American library I have been in has. Due to an initiative from the national government, FPL (and other libraries around the country) was tasked with documenting the disappearing cultural heritage of the area through video, audio, and photography. They have tackled this task with great enthusiasm. They have a storeroom full to the brim with state-of-the-art, broadcast quality equipment and a staff of 12 dedicated to the production of video and multimedia products. They have several databases that contain searchable materials and the collection is ever growing. What’s all the more impressive is that the team is staffed by self-taught librarians who learned all this new technology on the job.

 

 

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makes me nostalgic for my editing days!

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yes, that is a drone!

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a cabinet full of professional cameras

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a still from a video about Fujian culture

For example, look at these two databases of Fujian cultural artifacts. All of the media were generated by the librarians in the technology department.

Kechiah Culture

Soushan Stone

 

We were deeply impressed with the work they’ve done and found ourselves wishing that our libraries were also able to do this kind of work.

 

In the afternoon we met with the librarians of the Lending and Reading Services – the patron-facing side of the library. We had a very animated discussion about current changes in circulation and reading programs. They are very excited about their impending remodel which will update the library old-fashioned subject-based reading rooms to more open and engaging spaces. I loved how enthusiastic and garrulous the members of the team were — we had a lot of fun just chatting about how our libraries do things differently. Throughout this trip, I have often reflected on how our similarities greatly outweigh our difference.

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Here’s a shot from the FPL website showing the big crowds the Reading Dept gets at their lecture series.

 

Finally, as a follow-up to Richard’s post from a couple days ago about smoking in China, I wanted to share the new poster for China’s new anti-smoking campaign:

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Meanwhile… I’ve been getting mixed messages in my hotel room:

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Spotlight on Academic Libraries

We’re back in Fuzhou now, but I wanted to make sure to post about our last three days. We were being hosted by Mr. Li Fan of Huaqiao University who some library friends back home may remember as one of the four librarians to visit us in the spring. He has been wonderfully gracious and has spent the last three days showing us around the libraries and sights of both Quanzhou and Xiamen.

 

The focus has been on academic libraries and this region seems to have an abundance of higher education institutes. One can really sense the cultural importance of education in China by looking at how many resources are put into these institutions.

 

We started out by visiting Mr. Li’s home library, Huaqiao University’s campus in Quanzhou where he is the deputy director. We met with members of the network infrastructure group and the database administrator. We dove right into the nitty-gritty asking a lot of questions about their institutional repository system and how they deal with tracking access restrictions on digital materials. Seems we have a lot of the same problems – for example, when a dissertation includes information about technology that has a pending patent application, the library has to suppress access to the document until the process is complete. But It takes a lot of work and attention to make sure such things happen correctly and accurately.

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After lunch on the Huaqiao campus, we loaded our bags (which grow more voluminous with every stop as we are generously gifted many wonderful books and presents) into the van and headed off to Xiamen to visit Huaqiuao’s newest campus which only just opened in 2006. This campus focuses primarily on science and technology while the campus in Quanzhou focuses on the humanities. We met with the director and several members of his staff and had a very interesting exchange where, once again, we immediately shifted into full library nerd mode. We asked a ton of questions about how they deal with research data generated on-campus and also talked about the challenges and opportunities of building a million-volume library from scratch.

 

Like a lot of the library’s we’ve visited they have an extensive special collections room and a museum of artifacts from the university’s collection. These include archeological items from around the area, artwork, and dozens of calligraphy scrolls in many different styles. At the end of the tour, they invited us to try our hand at traditional Chinese calligraphy. We watched as they mixed the ink from a charcoal stick and then we were in turn watched by the people that gathered which included the museum manager’s adorable daughter. Jian’s calligraphy was the best, of course, but Richard did exceptionally well considering that it was his first stab at writing any Chinese at all!

 

The next day we visited Jimei University which, like Huaqiao, had a very new building which opened in 2009. Everywhere we go, I have been consistently amazed at how generous people are with their time, and maybe especially so at Jimei. The library director sat with us for nearly two hours along with several members of her staff we had a very candid and fascinating exchange about the state of libraries in the US and China. We shared our similar concerns and talked about ways in which we’ve solved various problems we’re struggling with. We talked about how their cataloging department has been shrinking even though there continue to be new resources in need of metadata expertise and Richard shared his experience with departmental reorganization at OSU.

 

 

In the afternoon we visited the newest campus of Xiamen University. We had just visited two brand new, very large university, but this one was the newest and largest of them all! They opened in 2014 in response to overcrowding in the central campus that we visited last week. Well, if elbow room was what they needed, then that’s what they got. The library sprawls over 9 floors, each of which seemed to be nearly the length of a football field.

 

The library director and her assistant toured us around the library and noted that because of the location of the campus far outside of the city they need to provide a lot of services and entertainments to their students so that they don’t feel isolated. They first showed us their English center where they host English-speaking events for students to practice their language skills. Attached to the English center was a very nice movie theater that probably seats about 60 or so students and is used for both classes and entertainment. They even treated us to a few minutes of a 3D screening of “Avatar”! We were impressed enough with that, but at the end of the tour they showed us their *second* movie theater which is larger than any movie theater currently in Oregon! It must seat 500 at least and has state of the art sound and stadium seating where they show current first run films. Wow!

 

On top of all of that, the library also has a 10th floor that only the library director has a key card for. Lucky for us, she wanted to show it to us and we got a commanding view of the surrounding area including a distant view of the sea. Like the library, the rest of the campus is massive, too. The student housing alone looked like enough to house a small city. They use solar energy for all their hot water heating (including for the world-class Olympic-size swimming pool in their rec center) and we could see all the solar panels on the buildings across campus.

 

Yesterday was a bit of a rest day – from libraries, anyway. Mr. Li took us to an area of town that featured a crocodile zoo which had more reptiles than I have ever seen in my life. Then we visited the home of famed philanthropist Tan Kah Kee founder of, among other things, Jimei University.  The home had a lovely garden and a small historical museum.

 

 

By our special request, Mr. Li shepherded us into downtown Xiamen city so we could see the Overseas Chinese Museum which we’d read about in Lonely Planet. After an hour on 2 crowded buses, and a bit of a walk, we finally got to the museum – and it was closed! Whoops!

 

But it wasn’t too much of a problem because we also wanted to visit the nearby Nanputuo Buddhist Temple only a half mile away. One can hike all the way to the top of Mount Putuo behind the temple — we only made it about half way up, but even so the view was pretty spectacular.

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When you think of visiting a Buddhist temple, you may think of calm serenity, but on this pleasantly warm Saturday afternoon the temple grounds were mobbed with families and couples enjoying the weather and the pretty surroundings. There were plenty of people worshipping at the various temples up and down the hill, but people were just as likely to be breaking out a picnic basket as they were an incense stick.

 

There was a treat in store at the end of our visit: the temple complex features a very popular vegetarian restaurant known for its creative, delicious dishes. It was a delicious and it was nice not to have to fret about which dishes were vegetarian and which weren’t. It was all edible to all of us!

 

We are so grateful to Mr. Li for spending so much time with us and introducing us to so many of the interesting libraries and cultural sites the area has to offer.

 

We’re back to Fuzhou today and we get to settle in for a full week before we leave. We hope to pack this week full of in-depth library visits – we get three full days at the Fujian Provincial Library where we will visit 2 departments a day.

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind

The Horner Exchange was designed to be an exchange of ideas between libraries and librarians who live in two different worlds but share a common purpose. In preparing for this trip, I had thought that the primary topic of exchange would be libraries: their structure, processes, patrons, and processes. My narrow idea of “exchange” has been broadened immensely by these last few days we have spent in the amazing city of Quanzhou. I have learned so much about parts of history I never knew, about religion, politics, philosophy – and food! But more importantly, we have gotten to know our hosts who have really opened my eyes to new perspectives. Before arriving, I had many questions about what I might learn and see here; well, the answer has been blowin’ in the wind.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was an especially eye-opening, memorable day. We started off with a trip to Mt Qingyuan, a lush green park not far from the center of town. The park is criss-crossed with forested walking trails, but the main attraction is a huge 1,000 year old statue of Lao-Tzu (老子). It is said that if you can rub his ears you can live to be 160 years old! Or if you’re less ambitious, you can rub his nose for 100 years. Climbing, of course, is not allowed anymore, but Quanzhou Library Director, Mr. Xu, told us that when he was a boy growing up in Quanzhou, he and his classmates would climb up each other’s shoulders to get to the top of the statue and rub his ears. This wasn’t the first tale of childhood antics we’ve heard from Mr. Xu – let’s hope that his daredevil days are behind him so he can enjoy all of the 160 years he has coming to him!

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Since climbing is not allowed, Mr. Xu suggested that we take pictures that look like we’re rubbing Lao-Tzu’s ears — we all did it so I think we’re covered for a very long life!

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Lao-Tzu and a student of his who you may have heard of, Confuscius

When you arrive in Quanzhou you cannot miss the giant statue of General Zheng Chenggong, the 17th century military figure who is revered in both Taiwan and Fujian as a great hero of China. He amassed an army on the mainland to expel Dutch colonists from Taiwan and in 1662 the Dutch army surrendered to General Zheng. Oh, and where did General Zheng live? Quanzhou, of course! Not only does this enormous statue have a great story to tell, but the view from the hill is as commanding as the general himself. There is a 365 degree view of the city and a distant glimpse of the harbor – and maybe on a clear day (if you squint), you can make out Taiwan!

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In the afternoon we visited the Maritime Museum which not only housed boats and information about Quanzhou’s bustling port city past, but also a great deal of information about all the different religions represented in Quanzhou because of its cosmopolitan history. Quanzhou is known as the Museum of World Religions with good reason. The city has hosted and harbored people from all over the world with a great variety of faiths, including some now no longer practiced widely (or at all). For example, a religion called Manicheism originated in Persia and was thought to be extinct, but it was discovered that long after the religion disappeared in Persia, a community still existed in Quanzhou.  As a lover of history, I am so intrigued by this; and as a lover of diversity and community, I love how Quanzhou’s story is a story of interaction and harmony between very different cultures.

on the left, a 14th century tombstone showing elements from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism. On the right, an icon from a Manichean temple.

 

The Confuscius (孔子) Temple complex consists of several buildings surrounding a peaceful courtyard. We were treated to a traditional Fujian tea ceremony with a lovely, subtle tea that grows only in Quanzhou. The temple itself was impressive, so highly decorated and ornate with a large, imposing statue of the master teacher himself in the center. His teachings inform every part of Chinese life. We were told that the stones in the courtyard – over 3,000 – represent the number of students he had in his lifetime who then went out and taught his ideas. And that was 2,500 years ago!

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Perhaps the highlight of the visit to the temple was accidental – there happened to be a folk dance performance in the square in front of the temple right when we arrived. The dancers were dressed in traditional costumes and did some very energetic dances (in the tropical heat, I might add!). The dances included a traditional Fujian dance called the Chest Slapping Dance in which a group of shirtless men dance and kick energetically while, you guessed it, slapping their chests. We loved it! In fact, it’s hard to overstate just how delighted we were. The three of us were by far the most enthusiastic audience members in the small group that had gathered to watch!

Link to video of the dancers.

They had also arranged for us to see a traditional Fujian-style puppet show with marionettes. The puppeteer was amazingly skilled getting tiny gestures out of the multistringed puppet. But I think my favorite part was watching the enraptured children gathered around the stage who couldn’t get enough of the puppet’s antics.

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As wonderful as all of these cultural and historical stops have been, the most memorable part of the exchange for me has been the conversations we have had over these days. In particular, Mr. Chen and Mr. Xu have been incredibly generous not only with their time but with their thoughts. At lunch yesterday we had a long wide-ranging conversation with Mr. Chen after we’d finished eating. It was so fun just to chat in a relaxed atmosphere and get to know each other better without the hustle and bustle of touring and library visits.

 

We had dinner last night at the restaurant next door to the Quanzhou Library – Mr. Xu told us they think of the restaurant as the library’s cafeteria because it’s so close. But the food is way better than any cafeteria I’ve ever been to! But much more than the food, what made the evening special was the long conversation we had after the meal. We talked a lot about politics in China and the US. One would think this would be a dangerous subject to be avoided, but even though we had points of disagreement, it was so fascinating to hear a radically different perspective than what I’m used to. It’s forced me to confront my own biases and assumptions and think about things from an international perspective. And isn’t that what this exchange is really about?

 

But even as we have our differences, we also have plenty of common ground. Mr. Chen noted that Bob Dylan has just been awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature and then led us in a group sing-along of “Blowin’ In The Wind.”

 

I hope that’s something we’ll all remember for all our 160 years.

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A sign at the Islamic Museum — and I think it makes a great motto for the Horner Exchange!

 

 

 

 

 

Forty-Eight Fun-Filled Hours

In the year leading up to this visit to Fujian, I heard many times from past participants that our days would be packed with events, that we would learn so much and see so many things that everyday would be a fantastical whirlwind of libraries and new cultural experiences. Well, that has certainly proven to be the case! The last two days in particular we have been on the go from morning to night.

 

Here are the stats on the last 48 hours:

 

Cities visited: 3

Libraries visited: 4

Kilometers driven: about 200

Meals eaten: innumerable!

 

We started Friday morning with a quick tour of the impressively preserved historic district of Jinjiang which includes homes dating back to the Song Dynasty – making them almost 2000 years old!

 

Then we drove to seaside city of Xiamen. Xiamen is home to one of the most well-respected universities in the country and the university has a library to match. The library director and several staff members met us and talked about new developments in the library. They have a huge patron population and lots of different needs to fulfill. They have lots of innovative programs in reference and tech services, including virtual reference via WeChat, the preferred texting app in China.

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Richard presents the OSU Press book Rivers of Oregon to the Xiamen University Library Director.

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The Oregon delegation  with several staff members of Xiamen University Library (after a fantastic lunch!)

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All this excitement, PLUS, MaryKay tried her first geoduck!

After touring the library (and a fabulous lunch, of course), we took the ferry to nearby Gulangyu Island. There are no cars allowed on the island (well, technically there are four cars allowed on the island!) so pedestrians get the full run of the island’s charming cobblestone streets. Back in the 19th century when Xiamen was known by the name Amoy, many Western nations had their embassies on this island giving the neighborhood a European feel.

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There is a beautiful book store on Gulangyu housed in a 19th century office building. It’s one of the prettiest bookstores I’ve ever been in!

Even though it was closed for the day, they were kind enough to open the public library on Gulangyu for us to tour. Despite it being a fairly small community, the library was still quite large and full of many different services. We loved the art displays made by local kids and we were all wowed by the extensive exhibit about the Typhoon Meranti – that’s the typhoon that hit Xiamen just 4 weeks ago and they already had a very polished, museum-quality display about it. We couldn’t imagine producing something so impressive in such a short time span in our own home libraries.

 

After yet another fantastic dinner, we went to the opening ceremony of Gulangyu’s fourth annual international poetry festival. Much of the poetry was in Chinese, of course, which made it hard for the English speakers to understand, but it was quite a spectacle with dances, songs, music, and videos so we were still thoroughly entertained.

 

 

Dancers at the Poetry Festival and Xiamen from the Gulangyu ferry at night

Saturday morning we had the opportunity to meet with the staff of Xiamen Public Library. It is housed in a former airport hangar – and, boy, do they use every inch of that space! The place was PACKED with people of all ages, but the children’s area in particular was at capacity and beyond. The library director told us that they are working on a new standalone children’s library, but will keep the children’s area at the main library, too, with the hopes that the extra space will disperse the crowd a bit. In any case, all of us were delighted to see so much hustle and bustle at the library.

Video of the Children’s room at Xiamen Public

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The courtyard at Xiamen Public Library

We were also really excited to try out their high-tech 24 hour library kiosks. Anyone with a library card can unlock the kiosk at any time and check out a book using an RFID-based self-check out system. They have 116 of these stations all around the city, including one that’s accessible at all hours in the main library’s lobby.

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Our interest was also piqued by their PDA system for physical books. That’s right –we got all aflutter about patron-triggered purchases for print materials. Now we’re getting nerdy!

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We were all presented with these gorgeous paper-cut artworks with the logo of the library

We had a lovely lunch at the hotel and then packed into the van for a long drive inland. Our main goal is to visit the historic “tulou” or earth houses, an architectural style particular to the Fujian Province. But before we did that, we did manage to fit in one more library visit – the public library in the town of Nanjing may be small, but it is mighty. The library and its director has been nationally recognized and awarded for its outstanding programs that have greatly benefited this traditionally underserved community.

 

Whew!

 

That catches us up to tonight. We’re staying in a lovely farmhouse hotel in the countryside famous for its tulou. In the morning we’ll tour some of these homes which were built in the 14th century and still house most of the region’s families.

Presentations at the Fujian Annual Library Conference

Today was a day jam-packed full of library visits and sight-seeing. I am too wiped out to recap it all right now so instead, I will post just a few pictures and videos from the annual Fujian Library Conference Richard mentioned in the post below. Both Rosalind and MaryKay gave presentations — Rosalind spoke about the history of the Horner Exchange and its future. MaryKay gave a presentation about Oregon, the Oregon State Library, and the history of collaboration between Oregon and Fujian.

Both presentations were very well received. The Fujian librarians’ enthusiasm for the Horner Exchange is heartening and gives me confidence in its continued success.

 

Here’s a video of MaryKay’s Introduction to her presentation.

 

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Rosalind was as effervescent as always and won the crowd over with her charm and heartfelt sincerity.

 

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The view from above the huge exhibit they put together about the Horner Exchange.

 

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The conference felt very much like conferences at home — right down to the vendor pamphlets, library swag, and sensible shoes.

 

 

 

A Visit to the Fujian Provincial Library

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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this was just round 1!

 

 

 

Fuzhou First Impressions

 

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Jian and I have been enjoying our first couple days in Fuzhou. We’ve had a chance to recover from travel and explore the city a little before the first library visits begin tomorrow.

Yesterday, I visited the Wushan Scenic Park which is very near our hotel. It’s a beautiful, sprawling park with forested walking paths up the side of one of the three mountains that dot the landscape in the city of Fuzhou. The park reminded me of a tropical version of Mt. Tabor Park in Portland. It was really beautiful and serene.

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Today Jian and I walked out to West Lake Park. the city of Hangzhou has a more famous West Lake Park, but Fuzhou’s West Lake is also very beautiful and popular. The park was full of families enjoying the nice weather on a Sunday. Jian remarked how happy all the kids are and what a wonderful place Fuzhou must be to raise a family.

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The Fujian Museum is in the park and also has free admission so we dropped in to check it out. And I’m so glad we did! We learned about Fujian history from prehistoric times to present. The displays were very interesting and very well laid out. I especially enjoyed the section on tea farming in Fujian. Not all the signs were in translated in English (many were) but, luckily I had my own live translator with me!

Everyone from the Oregon delegation should be here by tonight and we will have our big welcome dinner in a few hours. We are looking forward to getting everyone together and celebrating our Fujian-Oregon friendship!

 

Good morning, Fuzhou!

1-img_20161015_093338Good morning from Fuzhou! This is Veronica and I am the first of the Oregon delegation to arrive here in Fuzhou. Jian should be here shortly. Richard, Rosalind, MaryKay, Amy will all come in either today or tomorrow.

The weather in Fuzhou is balmy, but pleasant. They’ve spent the last couple of months being battered by typhoons. Some of the libraries in Fujian experienced serious flooding, but apparently the Fujian Provincial Library didn’t suffer any damage this time — typhoons are such a regular occurrence here that they’ve upgraded their buildings over the years to make sure that their collection is not damaged. In any case, let’s hope the worst is over!

The official events of the exchange begin on Monday after everyone has arrived. Until then, we rest and prepare. And we’ll have a little time to explore the city of Fuzhou, too! Our hotel is right in the middle of downtown Fuzhou. There is huge skyscrapers all around and lots of construction projects. One of the librarians told me last night that Fuzhou has been growing very fast over the last few years and you can see it everywhere. I am excited to get out and get to know the city a little bit!

Fujian, here we come!

Welcome to our blog which will chronicle the adventures of the 2016 Horner Library Exchange!

This year’s delegation was selected in the fall of 2015 and now,  after nearly a year of preparation, it’s hard to believe that our trip to Fujian is only a week away. We are all very excited and eager to begin our big adventure!

This year’s Horner Exchange delegates are:

  • Richard Sapon-White, Head Catalog Librarian, Oregon State University
  • Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, Systems Librarian, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
  • Jian Wang, Electronic and Continuing Resources Librarian and Director of the Confucius Institute, Portland State University

Since this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Horner Exchange, the Horner Exchange delegates will be joined by three more visitors who will help us celebrate this milestone in style! They are:

  • MaryKay Dahlgreen, Oregon State Librarian
  • Amy Lee, Public Services Director at Fort Vancouver Regional Library
  • Rosalind Wang, retired librarian and the initial inspiration for the Horner Exchange

We are in the process of finalizing presentations and travel logistics. Before you know it, we’ll be in China! Check this blog throughout our exchange for updates and tales from the road…

And, for those of you who are new to the Horner Exchange, here’s a little background: The Horner Library Staff Exchange Program was established through a generous gift by the late Dr. Layton Horner for the purpose of sharing professional knowledge about library and information science between the United States and China. For the past 20 years, dozens of librarians have traveled between Oregon and Fujian province (Oregon’s sister province in China) as part of this program, developing professional skills as well as forging new friendships and cultural understanding. The Horner Exchange is supported by the Oregon Library Association’s International Relations Round Table and our international partners, the Fujian Provincial Library and the Fujian Library Association.