Newsletter Number 2 (October 1996)
by Terry Webb
A lot has happened since last year's newsletter. Here are some highlights.
Library Director Terry Webb just returned this September from a three-week trip to China to present a paper on libraries, the Internet, and the World Wide Web (WWW) at an international conference in Beijing, and to discuss cooperation with three Chinese academic institutions. He met first with administrators and librarians at Peking University (PKU) to select further cooperative projects. This year, the KCC Library will create a "mirror site" of the PKU library's WWW site on the KCC server. This will make the PKU resource much more accessible to interested Internet users worldwide.
They also discussed the planned trip to China by KCC's automation librarian Bin Zhang later this year. Although Bin has only been with the KCC Library for a year (see below), his trip has been in the planning for quite some time. The University of Hawaii at Manoa agreed last year to pay his travel expenses, but because of UH's continuing budget crisis, that funding may not materialize. To assure the success of the trip, therefore, Board Chair Kendall Wong generously contributed $1,000 to the Char Room Fund to help defray the costs of Bin's trip, if the UH funding falls through.
While at PKU, Terry also met with the faculty of the Chinese Literature Department, three of whom visited the KCC Library last year. Professor An Pingqiu, Director of the Ancient Books Research Council in the department, donated over 130 volumes of Chinese classics to the KCC China Collection. The books should arrive within the next few weeks.
Terry also visited Northeastern University (NEU) in Shenyang and the Yunnan Institute of the Nationalities (YIN) in Kunming to begin cooperation discussions. NEU is a large and prestigious university with significant achievements in industrial research, and has developed numerous partnerships with local and international businesses. We can learn a lot from them. YIN is well-known for its ethnological work in Yunnan Province, which, like Hawaii, is composed of numerous ethnic groups. So the possibilities of cooperation with YIN are also rich.
The administrators and librarians of both institutions are very eager to begin library cooperation. The NEU President and Vice-President visited our Library in May at the invitation of K.T. Yao, the new Char Room Librarian (see below). They were quite impressed with our efforts to build a China Collection and with our Internet/WWW activities. As a result, they invited Terry to "take the night train" from Beijing to Shenyang and visit NEU when he was in China.
Our first contact with YIN was established by Consul General Feng Shusen after his visit to the KCC Library last year as the guest of the Char Board. The YIN administrators and librarians likewise were very enthusiastic about library cooperation, and also had many questions about library automation in general.
Without exception, all of the meetings went very well. Terry and Mrs. Webb were treated to sumptuous dinners and given the grand treatment. Every discussion about cooperation was sincere and productive. As a result of the meetings, the KCC Library is exploring the feasibility of hosting an Internet/WWW training workshop of 1-2 weeks at KCC next summer for selected persons from each of our three cooperating institutions in China. They have offered to pay their own expenses, with the stipulation that we find them affordable lodging.
Terry also stopped in Shanghai and Hong Kong to meet with individuals who are collaborating with him on some joint writing projects. The KCC Library is not presently seeking cooperation with institutions in Shanghai or Hong Kong, but Terry says his work with his collaborators is being carried out on the Internet, and that he encourages members of the KCC Library staff to engage in international cooperation by this means.
Terry stopped briefly in Seoul to accept three cartons of books in Korean donated by Baewha College. Baewha was the first Korean institution to establish cooperation with KCC, and has donated many books to KCC's growing Korea Collection. We also received another donation of books for the Korea Collection from Inha University in Inchon when a delegation of Inha students and administrators visited KCC earlier this year.
The books awarded to the KCC Library by the prestigious Japan Foundation grant, which we reported in our last newsletter, arrived this past year, and are currently being processed for addition to the Japan Collection.
After lengthy negotiations, a clause for library cooperation was included in the recently signed agreement to renew cooperation between Kansai University and UH. Terry Webb met with Kansai administrators when they were at KCC during the summer to sign the renewal agreement. Several possible library cooperation projects were discussed. The Kansai administrators were very enthusiastic, and correspondence with them is ongoing.
Mr. Hirokazu Shiode, a researcher and faculty member of the International University of Japan (IUJ) in Niigata, came to the Char Room this summer as part of a research project he is conducting for the National Diet Library of Japan. His project deals with books about overseas Chinese, and is being directed by the IUJ Research Institute for Asian Development. He was very interested in the possibility of publishing some of the results of the project on KCC's Internet/WWW site.
We have also begun correspondence with Dr. Hiroshi Kawai, a library faculty member at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. Dr. Kawai is an expert in collection development, and we are exploring with him some possible cooperative projects that would be of mutual benefit to our institutions.
In February, Terry was invited to spend 10 days at the College of Micronesia (COM) on the island of Pohnpei. COM was preparing to move to a brand new campus, and they asked Terry to come and share his experience in re-locating library collections with COM administrators and librarians. While there, he worked out a plan to move the COM library's collections and furniture to the new site, and gave the librarians some training in how to do it.
COM has some important Pacific Islands research collections as well as pressing needs for assistance with new technologies, and Terry believes that formal cooperation between the KCC and COM libraries could be forthcoming.
Jan Zastrow, our new health education librarian, is working closely with KCC's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department to develop a prototype distance education course for EMS professionals in developing nations. This is the first part of a long-anticipated joint plan between the Library and the EMS department to provide health information to Asia and the Pacific.
Since our last newsletter last year, the Char Room has sponsored a number of important cultural activities. In these times of dwindling budgets for higher education, the Library staff firmly believe that there is much to be celebrated, and that when forces beyond our control would draw us backward, it is precisely the time to move decisively forward however we can. The activities sponsored by the Char Board are an important means to do this.
The Char Room was one of the co-sponsors of the performances in Hawaii last year of the Peking University Chinese Folk Dance Company. This 28-member dance group includes students from various academic disciplines, and has won numerous awards. They performed on Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island in what was the first such tour for a Chinese university performing arts company.
In March, the Char Room sponsored Concert 96 on the grass lawn in front of the KCC Library. The audience was well-rewarded, and the Library received some much-needed revenue. The line-up was first-rate, the sound system and staging were excellent, and the emcees were spirited and professional. It was the first large-scale concert to be held at KCC, and we learned that the fine acoustics of KCC's center mall make it an ideal site for concerts and other types of performances for students and the community. The Concert 96 performers were surprised by the excellent sound of KCC's mall and expressed desire to return for future engagements here. "It's better than the Shell," one said. "We can hear ourselves!" Concert 96 established a notable tradition of fine open-air public performances at KCC, and set a high standard for all such events to follow. Special thanks go to Board Chair Kendall Wong, Member Ernest Loo, and Member Carol Saito for the concert's success.
During the months of June through August, the Char Room came to the aid of Ballet Hawaii by sponsoring its summer session at KCC. Classes at the dance school's facility in Manoa were halted due to zoning regulations, and it was desperately seeking an alternative site. The temporary accommodations made it possible for guest faculty Shamil Yagudin, dance master of the Bolshoi Ballet, to offer instruction during the month of July.
Last year's lecture and poetry reading by Elsie Choy were very enjoyable. Ms. Choy, author of Leaves of Prayer: The Life and Poetry of He Shuangqing, a Farmwife in 18th-century China, told the story of the young poetess who wrote her poems on leaves because of her poverty, but whose poetry has come to be highly regarded expressions of her era.
The Library is now endeavoring to bring to Hawaii a very important exhibit commemorating the heroic efforts of Chiune Sugihara. In 1940, Mr. Sugihara, at that time the Japanese consul general in Lithuania, issued 1,600 transit visas that allowed Jewish families to escape the advancing Nazi army. It is estimated that he enabled as many as 6,000 persons to escape Europe and possible extermination. The historical exhibit was created by Eric Saul, a well-known historian, who will be escorting Mr. Sugihara's widow to Hawaii in February. Mrs. Sugihara, now 86 years old, has received many tributes for the humanitarian efforts of her husband and herself, and the KCC Library hopes to welcome her to our College when she comes. This project may be appropriate for co-sponsorship by the Char Room.
In cooperation with the East-West Center (EWC) and the UH Center for Chinese Studies, the KCC Library recently created a WWW online database to promote Asian Studies at U.S. colleges and universities. The Asian Studies Development Database (ASDD) is composed of hundreds of course syllabi and other instructional materials collected by the EWC over the last five years. The EWC collected these materials to serve as models for instructors who want to infuse Asian studies on their own campuses.
By converting the materials to electronic format and creating the WWW online resource for them, the KCC Library has greatly extended their accessibility. In addition, the database is attracting submissions from Asian studies faculty and experts around the world, causing the database to grow faster. KCC librarians manage the database and the equipment, and assure its maximum accessibility, and the EWC staff perform the editorial functions, such as soliciting, selecting, and editing submissions to the collection, assigning categories, etc.
Pacific Island Studies
The ASDD is so successful that the EWC and the UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies asked the KCC Library to create a similar WWW database for instructional materials for Pacific Islands studies. Proposals for funding to create the Pacific Islands Studies Database have been sent to appropriate agencies.
The Char World Wide Web Page is now complete and shares news about our mission and activities with the world through the Internet. The site contains information about the Char Room (with photographs), a brief history of Mr. and Mrs. Tin-Yuke Char, biographical information about the Board, a list of Char Room activities, and other items of interest.
Bin Zhang, the Library's new automation librarian, has been with us for only a year, but he can be credited with taking us into the 21st century. He directed the development of the several World Wide Web resources at the KCC Library, and is our "Web Master." His experience with the Internet and the Web have enormous potential for the Library and the Char Room because we expect to use these technologies heavily in our cooperation with libraries in Asia and the Pacific. And because Bin is originally from China, he will play a prominent role in these activities.
Kuang-Tien (K.T.) Yao, from Taipei, has been hired on a half-time basis as KCC's first Char Room/Asian-Pacific librarian. In a plan to maximize resources, Char Board Chair Kendall Wong offered to pay half of K.T.'s funding from the Char Room Fund if the KCC administration would provide matching funds. An agreement was reached, and K.T. is now with us at least for the next year.
The Char Room is presently open every morning, and K.T. has been actively promoting use of the Room and its materials. She has also been invaluable in processing the China Collection materials and translating documents and official correspondence from China. She also visited PKU this summer as a representative from the KCC Library, and as mentioned above, provided us with our initial contact with Northeastern University in Shenyang. In the future, K.T. will be available to assist the Board in planning its cultural activities, displays, exhibits, and international contacts.
One of Terry's major goals is to make the Char Room/Asian-Pacific librarian a full-time position with secure funding.
Jan Zastrow moved from a part-time, federally funded position at the Library in 1995-96 to a full-time position, also federally funded, as a direct result of her high-quality work and her expertise in Internet/WWW technologies. Although Jan's position is most closely involved with health librarianship, this field is of great interest to many nations in Asia and the Pacific, so she will surely play a part in various Char Room projects.
Funding Our Mission
Kapiolani Community College is the Asian-Pacific Emphasis campus among Hawaii's community colleges. This cross-curricular program incorporates Asian-Pacific study units throughout the College's curriculum. As a result, a high proportion of students and faculty in Hawaii interested is Asian-Pacific studies come to Kapiolani.
The KCC Library staff are committed to providing support for the Asian-Pacific emphasis, and believe that international cooperation and information exchange across Asia and the Pacific are vitally important for our students, the state of Hawaii, the University, and the Asian-Pacific region. Within just the last few years, therefore, the KCC Library has established an outstanding record of international cooperation and accomplishments.
The Char Room Fund, established by Mr. and Mrs. Tin-Yuke Char, and other Library funds support many of these activities. Donations and contributions to the Library to support its Asian-Pacific activities are welcome and needed. All donations and are tax deductible. If you have questions about the KCC Library, the Char Room, or any of the projects described in this issue of the Char Room Newsletter, please call Terry Webb, Library Director, at 734-9267.
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