Hitting the Books: UK Libraries Involved with China exchange

by Colleen Glenn

The William T. Young Library got a jump start on the Year of China initiative when they hosted two librarians from China during the spring 2011 semester.

The librarians, Dr. Pi Jiezheng, Associate Professor and Director of Information Services and Kou Yuantao, Research Associate, Division of Digital Library Research and Development, spent four weeks in April at UK observing and sharing ideas with UK Library staff. 

Toni Greider, Director of International Programs for University of Kentucky Libraries, said that the librarian exchange grew out of Terry Birdwhistell’s (Dean of UK Libraries) desire to internationalize the library.

Jiezheng and Yuantao represented the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Information Institute in Beijing. This institute is equivalent to our U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, but, as Greider explained, the major difference is that they also have an education component and grant graduate degrees in various areas of agriculture.

“Nowadays more and more research involves experts from different professional backgrounds and different countries,” said Kou Yuantao. “That's an efficient way to best online pokies obtain bigger achievements.”

Jiezheng and Yuantao were particularly interested in learning about how we serve our academic community, Greider said. They spent a lot of time observing UK librarians’ interactions with students and faculty at the reference desk and student computing services.

“We learned a lot from UK libraries, but the most valuable thing we learned is that the library staff tries its best to provide excellent service to its users,” said Pi Jiezheng.

While in Kentucky, the Chinese librarians also visited Lexington Public Library, as well as the University of Louisville’s library.

“It was a great experience,” Greider said. “Everybody I’ve talked to on the staff has told me how much they enjoyed [the exchange].”

Greider herself has had a long relationship with China which made her well-suited to coordinate the program for the Chinese librarians. Greider’s initial specialty in library science, which was in agricultural information, took her all over the world where she established many international colleagues, including librarians from China.

Greider is very excited about A&S’s Year of China initiative and is already partnering with A&S to plan activities during the year-long program.

For example, UK Libraries will construct an exhibit for the A&S Open House on the Student Center patio, as well as create a flag display in the lobby of W.T. Young library. They are also considering generating a Chinese language research guide that would show the library’s electronic holdings in Chinese.