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Newsletter Number 1 (July 1995)

by Terry Webb
Library Director

This is the first edition of The Char Room Newsletter, a periodic publication about Char Room activities.

E Komo Mai

We're delighted to extend a warm welcome to Margery Bronster, the newest member of the Char Board of Directors. Margery is the Attorney General of Governor Cayetano's administration.

International News

The KCC library and the Char Room are becoming increasingly prominent in the University's international relations. The library is actively cooperating with our partner institutions throughout Asia.


In September 1994, Head Librarian Terry Webb spent two weeks at the library of Beijing University. The University, or "Bei Da," as it is affectionately nicknamed, is located on the former campus of the renowned Yenching University, where Tin-Yuke Char was an honors graduate in 1927. In fact, some of the old Yenching buildings are still standing, and may have been there when Tin-Yuke was pursuing his studies.

The Bei Da library staff and the University administration were very cordial and hospitable. Partly as a result of Terry's visit, the KCC library entered a cooperative agreement with the library at Bei Da. As the first activity under that agreement, the library is presently hosting the visit of Miss Suqing Liu, a librarian from Bei Da, from May 26 through October 31. She is receiving training in the online library system by cataloging English- and Chinese-language books online. She will also participate in the Asian Studies Development Program, a joint project of the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii, and help organize training modules for a summer workshop for librarians. Please feel free to drop by the college to meet Suqing.

KCC's automation librarian has been invited to spend three months working in the library at Bei Da later this year, helping them develop their automated systems. Terry secured funding from UH for our librarian's visit to Beijing despite these difficult times. This indicates the importance UH sees in the agreement between KCC and Bei Da.


The library was instrumental in laying the groundwork for a cooperative agreement between KCC and Baewha College in Seoul. Several Baewha administrators visited KCC in 1994, and returned this month to sign the formal agreement in the Char Room. They have already donated several dozen books on Korea to the KCC library, and will continue to do so.

Our cataloging librarian made the initial contact with a Baewha librarian when they were both in Japan on six-month study grants awarded by the prestigious Japan Foundation in 1992-93.

In January 1995, the community colleges also entered into an agreement with Inha University in Incheon. Chancellor Joyce Tsunoda signed the historic agreement in the Char Room, which seems to be her favorite site for signing such agreements. (Joyce is also an honorary member of the Char Board.) We expect to receive book donations from Inha, too.

A similar agreement will be signed with Soong Sil University, also this summer, and again the Char Room will be the setting.


After Beijing, Terry stopped in Tokyo to meet with officials of the Japan Foundation to express support for a grant proposal the library wanted to submit to the Foundation. The meeting was very productive, and a few weeks ago, Terry was notified that our grant request was approved. The Foundation will soon donate books to the library's Japan Collection valued at about $12,000. Terry also met with officials of the Japan Forum, which is the group that originally established KCC's Japan Collection in 1992 with a donation of 2,000 books. At this meeting, the Forum officials stated that another donation of more than 1,000 books is being prepared for shipment to KCC.

The KCC library is also exploring the possibility of establishing a formal cooperative agreement with the library of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. Chancellor Tsunoda visited KIT recently on official business and introduced the idea of the agreement. Kanazawa library is very modern and well-equipped.

The Char Room on the Internet

This summer, KCC librarians and other faculty will begin developing an Internet "site" dedicated to KCC's Asian-Pacific curricular emphasis and international education programs. The librarians will work on an Internet resource that will acquaint people all over Hawaii and around the world with the activities and mission of the Char Room, and enable "netters" to connect to the Char Room's online "home page" and then to other Internet resources that have an Asian-Pacific purpose.

Library News

Budget Woes

The library has been hit with severe budget cuts totaling 33.3% of our operating and materials budgets. We will probably need to cancel many of our magazine and journal subscriptions, and reduce service hours. We may not have much money even to buy books.

It's at times like this that our connections with external funding agencies really pay off. If not for the Chars' endowment and the donations from the Japan Forum, the Japan Foundation, and the Korean colleges and universities, our collection would not be growing at all this year.

Char Librarian

Provost John Morton is as enthused as we are with the library's Asian-Pacific activities (all of which we are carrying out under the aegis of the Char Room). Aware that the opportunities for projects far outstrip the library's ability to act, the Provost recently agreed that we need a full-time librarian to help bring some of these exciting projects to fruition. Yet these difficult budget times make it impossible to get any new positions or reallocate existing ones to the library.

But the Provost made a promise: if the library can find the external funds to hire a librarian for two years, he will find the wherewithal to convert the position to the College's general fund thereafter. That's a promise we should really work toward. It will cost about $50,000 for each of the two years, counting salary and benefits.

East-West Center Selects KCC

Because of the library's success in building its Asian collections, Terry has been asked by the East-West Center to organize and host a special three-day workshop for librarians at the Center's 1995 Asian Studies Development Summer Institute, "Infusing Asian Studies Into the Undergraduate Curriculum." The institute will explore Asian social structures in the context of rapid modernization. The workshop for librarians will present methods for developing library collection to support U.S. undergraduate Asian studies programs.

Pioneering Chinese Families

Plans are being made to begin videotaping the pioneering Chinese families in Hawaii very soon. The history of Senator Hiram Fong is high on our priority list. The staff of the Educational Media Center at the college will cooperate with us to produce a high-quality documentary. And if support for public television continues, it's also possible that we will be able to air our videotapes on an educational channel.

Other Videocasts

We are pursuing programming of a public television talk show about the 100th Battalion/442nd RCT. Mike Tokunaga has agreed to conduct face-to-face interviews with the WWII veterans and others who became post-war instruments of change in Hawaii. The purpose of the show is to educate viewers age 60 and younger about the political history of Hawaii, as told by the veterans who had an active share in shaping it. The show will consist of three or four segments, about a half hour each. We hope to begin taping this soon.

Proposal has also been made to videocast the United Chinese Society's Model Father and Mother of the Year event. If the annual dinner were videotaped, edited and formatted for public television, the larger community could appreciate the cultural traditions that keep Hawaii unique. What do you think?


The Brothers Cazimero-Ballet Hawaii fundraiser is still alive but moving ahead like a turtle with bad knees. The big hurdle is the location. Carol Saito is looking into the possibility of holding the event in Diamond Head Crater or at the new Special Events Arena. Help accepted!


We've received $1,300 in donations since the start of 1995, due to the generosity of Kendall Wong ($1,000), Jonah Pak, producer of Hawaii Art Expo ($50), and the law firm of Weinberg & Bell ($250). Of this amount, $1,000 was earmarked for Suqing Liu's visit.

Elsie Choy

In cooperation with the Hamilton Library at UH and the Hawaii Chinese History Center, the KCC library will host a visit and lecture by author Elsie Choy, from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ms. Choy's book, Leaves of Prayer: The Life and Poetry of He Shuangqing, a Farmwife in 18th-century China, has been well-received by reviewers around the world.

Published by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the book is a poignant biography of a beautiful, bright girl who taught herself to read and write. Although she spent her short life in unhappiness and unending farm labor, her poetry came to the attention of scholars. Because of her poverty, she wrote her poems on leaves. Hence the name of Ms. Choy's biography.

Ms. Choy plans to be in Honolulu during the last week of September, 1995. She will discuss Leaves of Prayer, and read from her translations of He Shuangqing's poetry. The program will be held in a suitable location at KCC and is tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 29, in the early evening.

Aloha Oe

. . . to our dear friend and colleague, Judge Harold Fong. Words are inadequate to express the tremendous loss we feel with his passing. Simply stated, no one can replace his presence. Our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Fong and family.


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