Think Globally Act Globally


The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports professional development programs aimed at librarians and library staff, programs that enhance Library & Information Science (LIS) education and programs that develop library leaders. In a world increasingly concerned with global issues this proposed program provides a model for enhancing awareness among information professionals of Chinese information resources and for building collaboration between China and the U.S.

The 21st Century is defined by a need to enhance access to information resources and services from around the world - resources and services to which access may be limited by language barriers and by the lack of robust professional networks of information professionals across national borders. Owing both to the rising interest across the U.S. in the study of Chinese language, society, and culture, and to the lack of broad access to its information resources and services, China presents an excellent opportunity to develop the collaborative resources and programs on which an ongoing program of support may be developed for the study of issues of global concern and the development of library professionals with a global outlook.

With its robust network of area studies libraries and subject specialists, and building on the experience of renowned Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and excellent Asian Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is uniquely well suited to lead this project. The University of Illinois will enter into a formal agreement with another skilled and highly experienced partner, the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). Finally the University of Illinois will work with the Ministry of Culture of China (MOC) as the planned primary collaborator in the project. This collaboration between the project partners and the Library Society of China will be critical to the successful implementation of the pilot project.

The project ran from September 1, 2008 until August 31, 2012.

The goals of the four-year pilot project was to enhance communication and relations between U.S. and Chinese librarians and to enrich the variety of information and services that U.S. librarians can offer their users. The target audiences included: U.S. librarians with expertise in the study of China and the Chinese Language; U.S. librarians responsible for providing service to Chinese-language communities; Chinese librarians with expertise and experience with publicly-available Chinese-language resources, collections and services; and Chinese librarians who may benefit from participation in a broad-based continuing professional education program focused on issues of library management, public services, and digital library development.

The activities of the project include professional development seminars to be delivered both in the U.S. and China; placement of Chinese librarians in institutions around the U.S. to provide an opportunity for education and cooperation; development of web-based resources for use in libraries in the US; and a workshop open to U.S. librarians to promote the web-based resources. Topics of the professional development seminars might include: library administration and leadership, management of information technology, application of standards for information technology project planning in libraries, best practices for resource discovery and sharing, and development of information products and services fostering appreciation and use of global information resources among target user communities.


This is a two-year pilot project focusing on collaboration between library professionals in the U.S. and China. If successful, the model demonstrated in the pilot project may lead to further collaboration between librarians and library professionals in the U.S. and China. Over the two years we plan to train about 30 Chinese librarians and educators in the United States. In addition, these Chinese librarians will have host visits in U.S. institutions. 30 U.S. librarians will provide training at institutions in China.