- UK-China Library Forum meets in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, 27-28 March 2019
- Leaders of ten UK public libraries, with the British Library, meet their counterparts from ten Chinese libraries to share knowledge, experience and best practice
- Latest stage of the three-year HM Treasury-funded British Library in China: Connecting Through Culture and Learning programme
(26 March 2019) Public library leaders from China and the UK are to meet at the Sichuan Provincial Library and share knowledge in a two-day forum in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, at the end of March: the first such gathering of its kind.
Representatives from the Living Knowledge Network of UK public libraries and colleagues from ten members of the Library Society of China will meet to share their experiences and expertise in serving a wide range of audiences, and of harnessing new technology, creativity and innovation to improve their services to the public.
The Forum will provide a range of opportunities for participants to learn from one another, including presentations, workshops and networking. It will close with an evening public talk on how Shakespeare-themed events and exhibitions can be used by libraries to engage new audiences, drawing particularly on the experience of the British Library and Library of Birmingham’s collaborative 2016 Our Shakespeare exhibition, as well as British Council’s Shakespeare Lives campaign in China.
Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at the British Library, said: “Libraries in China and the UK have a huge amount to learn from one another. Although our respective library networks have evolved in very different and distinctive ways, we share many core objectives in terms of connecting our users with knowledge in all its forms and using technology to increase the accessibility of our collections and services. We look forward to building our relationships with colleagues and institutions in China, and coming away with fresh perspectives on where libraries and librarianship should be heading next.”
WEI Dawei, the Deputy Director of National Library of China, said: ”Libraries play an important role in spreading knowledge. Exchange and cooperation between libraries from China and the UK can contribute to the further development of libraries in both countries. Such exchange and cooperation is of great significance to the mutual understanding of our history, cultures and values, and to sharing the achievements of our civilizations. With the advancement of modern information technology, librarianship also embraces new challenges and opportunities. I am very much looking forward to the exchange of ideas between library leaders from China and the UK in terms of ideas and practices in advancing innovation in libraries. I believe we will gain lots of fresh ideas and inspirations.”
Cecille El Beleidi, Consul-General of British Consulate-General, Chongqing, said: “I commend the excellent initiative by the British Library to add structure, definition and direction to the many conversations and collaboration already happening between libraries in the UK and China by way of today’s forum. The culture exchange between the UK and China is hopefully to become richer and more diverse through libraries.”
Chinese participants in the 2019 UK-China Library Forum include Shanghai Library, Zhejiang Library, Sichuan Library, Capital Library of China (Beijing), Guangzhou Library, Wuhan Library, Chengdu Library, Changchun Library, Shenzhen Children’s Library, Dongguan Library. UK participants include library heads of service from Liverpool, Kirklees, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Wakefield, Devon, Manchester, Sheffield and Suffolk, along with several staff and curators from the British Library.
The Forum is the latest stage of an ambitious three-year cultural exchange programme, The British Library in China: connecting through culture and learning, which has seen exhibitions at the National Library of China in Beijing, at Mu Xin Art Museum in Wuzhen, and at Shanghai Library. Most recently, the programme staged events relating to Oscar Wilde, exciting British Library projects and the digital humanities at a number of venues in Hong Kong.
The initiative is funded by HM Treasury and also includes a programme of knowledge exchange between staff at the British Library and its counterparts in China. It has also developed the Library’s first Chinese website Discovering Literature, introducing more than 200 digitised literary treasures from the Library’s literary collections, as well as in-depth interpretative articles, short films and interactive elements: www.britishlibrary.cn. The Library has also grown its audience across China on its new social media platforms WeChat and Weibo.
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