Dean’s Corner: Building Connections

As the dean of UC Libraries, I serve as an ambassador for the university and the Libraries on a global scale.  My travel takes me across the United States and around the world for conferences and site visits from San Francisco, California to Zhejiang, China.  It is equally important, however, for me to foster my relationships on a local and regional level with the universities and library systems across the state.

This summer, Ohio University hosted a two-week Institute for Chinese Academic Leaders.  Scott Seaman, the university’s dean of libraries, invited me to Athens to participate in a panel about “Current Trends & Changes in U.S. Research Libraries.”  This gave me the opportunity to spend time with the OU library leadership, support their international partnerships, and to reinforce the ties between our two libraries.

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From left to right: Liu Wanguo, director and research librarian and Huang Ying, head of Research and Development at Northeast Normal University with Scott Seaman, dean of Libraries at Ohio University

Upon their arrival at Ohio University, the visitors presented dean Seaman and OU’s dean emeritus Dr. Hwai-Wei Lee with handmade scrolls decorated with Chinese calligraphy commemorating the visit.

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From left to right: Huang Ying and Liu Wanguo with Ohio University’s dean emeritus Dr. Hwai-Wei Lee

Dr. Lee is highly respected in the Chinese-American librarian community and the state of Ohio for his role in expanding Ohio University’s international relationships.

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Dr. Hwai-Wei Lee and I outside Ohio University’s Vernon R. Alden Library

On my return trip from Ohio University, I made a stop at Kent State to visit the university library and their School of Library and Information Science.

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Inside Kent State Library’s newly renovated research commons

While there, I met with Marcia Zeng, a professor in Library and Information Science at Kent State.  Professor Zeng is well known in the field of metadata and information science and technology.  She will be visiting the University of Cincinnati in the near future to give an academic talk on information.

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With Marcia Zeng outside Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science

Later that week the Institute, along with representatives and translators from OU, traveled to UC for a day-long visit of our library system.  They toured several of the university libraries, heard presentations from UC librarians and informationists, met with library faculty and staff, and explored portions of UC’s campus.  The visit was a great success.

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With director Liu Wanguo receiving handmade scroll at UC’s Langsam Library

The Institute’s visit to the University of Cincinnati was just one stop on a ten-day trip, but we worked hard to ensure their time with us was memorable.  I can only hope that more opportunities will arise for future visits and collaborations with all universities across the state, and that these opportunities may serve the dual function of strengthening our partnerships at home and abroad.

In my next post, I will talk about my experience this summer at the annual IFLA Conference in Cape Town, South Africa and visiting the University of Botswana.  Stay tuned!