CLERMONT —The Lake County Library Services Division recently welcomed visiting Chinese librarian representatives to Cooper Memorial Library as part of the U.S. Host Program for Librarians from China.
The program, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, is organized jointly by the Asian Library and the Mortenson Center for International Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). The goal of the program is to give Chinese delegates the opportunity to observe first-hand the day-to-day operations of select public libraries in the U.S., and to share stories and experiences about libraries in China.
The visiting librarians, Mr. Xinlu Xu, Director of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Library and Mr. Defeng Wen, Secretary General of the Heilongjiang Library visited with representatives from Lake-Sumter Community College (LSCC) and Cooper Memorial Library on Wednesday, June 22. During the two-hour visit, Denise English, Director of LSCC’s Library Services, and Boyd Bruce, Assistant Director for Public Services at Cooper Memorial Library, talked with the visitors through an interpreter, Min Tong, Reference/Instructional Librarian for the University of Central Florida Libraries, about the varying roles that libraries play in both the U.S. and China, and how they differ.
“It was amazing how the library system in China is very culturally oriented,” said Boyd. “They offer many cultural-based events that showcase the diversity in their region. Some of the programs that they host, such as grade-school plays and high-school Web development competitions would be great to start implementing here in Lake County.”
Boyd went on to state that the libraries in China act as a conduit between local governments and the people. They are relied upon heavily by the community as the main clearing house for important data, such as vital statistics. Unlike in the U.S. where libraries have a vast network of resources for their data collection, such resources are not available to libraries in China. Librarian staff there must analyze and compile raw data so that it can be used by patrons.
“Overall it was a fantastic experience,” Boyd said. “We were thrilled to be a part of it.”
Cooper Memorial Library, located on the LSCC’s South Lake Campus at 2525 Oakley Seaver Drive in Clermont, is a collaborative public and academic library between Lake County, LSCC and the University of Central Florida. The two-story, 50,000 square-foot facility opened in August 2009. In 2010, the number of items checked out at the library reached 413,279, and the visitor count totaled 314,545.
The operating hours for the library are Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information about Cooper Memorial Library, call (352) 536-2275 or log on to www.mylakelibrary.org.