Health Sciences Library Director Joins Delegation to China
Nandita Mani, PhD, Associate University Librarian & Director at the Health Sciences Library, was invited to the new Fudan University Medical Library in China to help explore innovations in health sciences librarianship.
What was the purpose of your trip?
Global outreach and collaboration is of great interest and importance to the Health Sciences Library, as well as the university at large, so when I got the chance to travel to Fudan University in China to help explore innovations in health sciences librarianship, I immediately seized the opportunity.
The new Fudan University Medical Library opened in fall 2017 and library administrators invited a delegation of health sciences librarians from premier U.S. health sciences libraries to attend. I was part of this delegation, along with four peers from other U.S. libraries. I also presented at the inaugural Chinese-American Medical Library forum in Shanghai.
How does this trip support the Libraries’ mission?
This trip was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the programs, services and partnerships of UNC’s Health Sciences Library. All health sciences libraries today face common issues such as managing and responding to the increasing cost of journals, shift in librarian roles and skill sets due to the rapidly changing health care environment, and determining best approaches libraries can pursue to raise awareness and demonstrate impact in our institutional environments. Librarians are natural collaborators, so sharing stories, best practices, and lessons learned will help with future collaborations. Being a part of this U.S. delegation was an honor and privilege.
What was one of your favorite moments during your visit in China?
I think one of my favorite and most anticipated moments was meeting our library colleagues at Fudan and seeing their passion and excitement as they guided us through their new and beautiful space. It was clear that a great deal of thought had gone into how spaces would be utilized and how to integrate technology to meet the needs of library users.
Please share an aspect of Chinese culture that you enjoyed learning about.
I found the culinary experience enjoyable, of course. Also, our hosts wanted us to have an opportunity to explore Shanghai. I loved visiting the Yu Gardens and the China Art Museum. The art museum has the largest digital scroll that runs along their top-most museum floor; it was a mesmerizing and unforgettable combination of art and technology.
What was the best thing about returning home to Chapel Hill?
I’d have to say it was getting an opportunity to go through all the pictures that I had taken during my trip. Each image brought back memories of my time with my colleagues, and re-iterated the importance of having venues such as this; to learn about other cultures, approaches, and aspirations. I also missed my family tremendously so it was nice to see them again!
To see more photos from Dr. Mani’s visit to the Fudan University Medical Library, check out the library’s Flickr album.