From collaborative library support to lifelong learning

Shiona Mackenzie

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On 8 March, regular communication and mutual visits brought concrete results when the Librarians of City University of Hong Kong and Renmin University of China (RUC) formally signed a Memorandum of Co-operation, agreeing to provide library support to students and academics at both institutions. The agreement grants students and academics reciprocal rights to borrow books, make use of resources and facilities housed in the libraries, and library education services to support academic and exchange activities. With professional advice from the respective Librarians, differences in automated system interfaces and information retrieval methods will no longer be obstacles. "This enriches students' lifelong learning skills and empowers them to fit comfortably into the mainland information environment should they need to work there in the future" said Professor Hsianghoo Steve Ching, Librarian of CityU's Run Run Shaw Library. 

This win-win arrangement follows the Memorandum of Understanding between CityU and the RUC signed in September 2004 by the institutions' Presidents, Professor H K Chang and Professor Ji Baocheng, respectively -- an important landmark in the University’s “strength to strength collaboration” initiative with institutions on the mainland.

“Guaranteed access to information resources and facilities whenever and wherever needed is of paramount importance to our students and researchers who venture outside Hong Kong for various academic activities such as study tours, student exchanges and international conferences,”  Professor Ching said. "We believe in lifelong learning and have confidence that academic exchange programmes  bundled with good library support lay a very good foundation for our students' future academic endeavours." As well as negotiating with vendors to ensure remote access to more library-subscribed electronic resources, Professor Ching is actively looking into opportunities to partner with the libraries of  collaborating institutions to provide the necessary support to students and academics. His first attempt to establish a mutual supportive relationtionship with the RUC Library has turned out to be a highly successful one.

“Partnership opportunities always exist,” Professor Ching said, “and the University’s closer ties with the mainland can only help our students and staff to excel. While academic departments develop their collaboration routes, it’s our responsibility to provide the necessary support. Our next partnering library could be in Guangzhou, in Shanghai or elsewhere. All our academics need to do is let us know where they want us and we will make every effort to be there. Our goal is not just to facilitate access to information, but to ensure that we are paving the way for our students' lifelong learning."

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