I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT is one of several new initiatives by ALA President 2018-2019 Loida Garcia-Febo to expand ALA’s global presence. By highlighting and recognizing talented international members from different regions around the world, ALA is truly a global association with a strong mission in supporting library workers and advocates. Each month, I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT will feature a new international member who will share how ALA has supported their work and how they see the profession today. This month, we feature Le Yang, an academic librarian from the People’s Republic of China.
Can you tell us about yourself and your library?
Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU) is a Sino-American jointly-operating university that was founded in 2012, with a current undergraduate enrollment of over 2,000 students. WKU inherits liberal arts education from the U.S., emphasizing small-group education embedded with interactive instruction and encouraging students to develop critical and independent thinking. The WKU Library plays a significant role in support of teaching, learning, and researching at WKU. Currently the Library has developed access to hundreds of electronic database, digital repository, and provided embedded information literacy instructions in classes.
I am working as the Head of Digital Library & Collection Development at Wenzhou-Kean University since September 2017. I am the Immediate Past President of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). I am also members of several library associations and have been providing services to CALA, IFLA, ALA, JCLC, and ACRL. My research interests include digital librarianship, digital asset metadata, Internet discovery of digital resources, data management, and web analytics. I have published research results with various scholarly journals and presented at national and international conferences; I also served as editorial board member, guest editor, and reviewer for several journals in the field of library and information science. Before joining WKU, I was a tenured library science faculty at Texas Tech University Libraries.
Why is it important to be an international librarian today?
It is important because global librarianship initiatives and collaborations have been witnessed in many universities and academic libraries in the U.S., as well as in other countries. A lot of American universities have established their oversea campus and/or offices for decades, and studying-abroad is one of the key curriculum for American students during their undergraduate education. As an library and information professional who received education and employment in the U.S., I can see that technology-driven and globalization-driven are the two primary trends developing so rapidly in the profession of librarianship. One of the phenomena I noticed is that Sino-American and Sino-Foreign collaborative university and research institutions have been rapidly established and progressed in the recent years, including New York University in Shanghai, Duke-Kunshan University, Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Shenzhen MSU-BIT University, etc. These universities aim to inherit and sustain the original education models so that college students in China can have different choices for higher education. These universities will also prepare the younger global citizens for the future. As such, academic libraries on all types of overseas campus all over the world are always trying hard to recruit librarians with international scope and multicultural backgrounds, also with ALA accredited degrees from the U.S.
Tell us three words that describe you?
Sincerity. Enthusiasm. Optimism.
How has ALA helped you in your career?
I have been with ALA and ACRL for many years and serving on several committees, where I have learned a lot and developed my skills from my ALA colleagues across the country. Through the collaboration between CALA and ALA, CALA leadership team and myself are able to contribute to the collaboration between ALA and the Library Society of China (LSC). Important results include the MOU signing in 2017 between the two associations, the mutual visits of delegation groups, and a series of joint meetings and events. Through these international initiatives with ALA, I have gained significant experience in international collaboration and developed leadership knowledge and skills, which critically contribute to my professional career at an international university. I believe that on the stage of ALA and through this important peer network provided by ALA, I can continue to progress on international librarianship, reach and help more global citizens, and contribute to librarianship development in the global society.
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