July 27, 2006
The month of July is nearly over, and with it the final stop of my Asia trip:
Taiwan. I am now concluding all my research, so you can expect to see me back
at CSUF in August. It will be terrific to see you all again.
A few comments about the library conditions in Taiwan. Taiwan follows many of
the same characteristics as my report on Japan and Korea last month. As one of
the more technologically advanced countries in Asia, I saw — not surprisingly — ample
databases, online catalogs, computers, Wi-Fi access and other features throughout
libraries. Many even have the same “look and feel” as top U.S. academic
libraries (such as National Taiwan University — a very extensive collection).
Reference and instruction services varied more than I expected. A factor for
this may be the variety of backgrounds among librarians. Some gain traditional
training domestically, while others bring back new ideas with degrees from American
universities. For example, the library director at the Taipei Public Library — with
a Ph.D in LIS from the United States — has organized fantastic services
and outreach programs; everything from database instruction workshops to video
plus lecture screenings. In fact, there was more emphasis on user education there
than at several of the academic libraries I visited. A factor toward this would
be the still-lingering tradition among faculty/administrations that libraries
are merely “repositories of materials” rather than active centers
Probably due to the decades of friendship between Taiwan and the United States,
I saw many examples of U.S. library features in Taiwan. American students studying
abroad there would not feel too much “library culture shock” as in
other Asian countries.
I look forward to seeing you all again next month.
Until then, from Asia,
In the lobby of one of Taipei’s university
libraries. The statue in the rear is of Chiang Kai-shek.
This banner in an academic library is promoting
its new “e-learning commons.” I
thought this was interesting in light of our own information commons plans
This banner in the Taipei Public Library was a delight
to see — promoting
the message that search engines are not the end-all for information, and to utilize
librarians instead. Hooray!
Read more about John's Travels...
Japan and Korea