Over 100 members of the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) came to the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries as part of a pre-conference for their annual meeting on Tuesday. CEAL and the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) attended a series of workshops that primed participants for the days ahead in Denver.
The Libraries’ Special Collections, Archives, and Preservation Reading Room was open for guests to browse treasures from the Asian Studies collection on Tuesday.
Adam Lisbon manages the Japanese and Korean Collections at the University Libraries and helped bring the event to fruition. One recent acquisition he was excited to show patrons was the The Revised and Expanded Map of Greater Kyoto (増補再板/京大絵図) from the 1740s.
“What’s cool is for places like Nijo Castle, Imperial Palace, you can take Google Maps, look at this map and the layout and surrounding streets are nearly identical,” said Lisbon.
This is the first time CU Boulder Libraries has hosted the annual meeting for CEAL, an organization that has played a pivotal role in developing and advancing East Asian librarianship as a field.
Assistant Professor and Chinese and Asian Studies Librarian, Xiang Li serves on the executive board of CEAL and is a key organizer for the event and said the Asian Studies collection at University Libraries is desirable.
“We have the largest Asian Studies collection in the Rocky Mountain area,” said Li. “Many of our colleagues want to come to see our collections and visit our campus.”
Established in 1989, the Asian Studies collection now has over 200,000 volumes and materials.
Lisbon noted that CU Boulder is rich with history regarding Asian and Asian American culture, such as the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School during World War II at the University of Colorado.
Sachiko Iwabuchi is the Okinawa Studies Librarian at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Iwabuchi said she is interested in the University Libraries collection, as the materials extends to her own research.
“CU Libraries and the archives have very rare materials on the Language School,” said Iwabuchi. “I saw only a part [of the collection] in the Special Collections and Archives Open House but those primary sources are very helpful for me to trace back people who were recruited [to the Japanese Language School] and to discover what they wrote, what they saw in Japan just after the war.”
Iwabuchi said she intends to direct students at her university to the digitized materials from the CU Archives. Lisbon said the Libraries collections are important for guests to experience as the population of Asian Americans that live in Colorado is vibrant.
“There are people and their families from East Asia that have been living here for generations and they’re part of the history in Colorado,” said Lisbon. “Having materials from 17th century China and 18th century Japan is just as important as the history of Western Expansion. Colorado is only physically distant from Asia. They are interlinked and interwoven.”
Zhijia Shen is the Director of the East Asia Library at the University of Washington as well as President of CEAL. She said that the need to better understand Asia is increasing.
“As more academic programs on Asia are created on American campuses, academic libraries must provide information and library support for this growing needs,” said Shen. “CEAL contributes significantly in this area.”
The pre-conference on Tuesday also featured workshops in Cataloging CJK materials and an Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) User Group session. The opening reception took place in the Center for British and Irish Studies room. The Dean of University Libraries Robert McDonald said he hopes this event will raise awareness on the growing Asian Studies collection the Libraries has to offer.
“The Asian Studies collection at the University of Colorado has provided essential support to the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies programs at CU Boulder as well as neighboring institutions in the Rocky Mountain region,” said McDonald, noting the rare materials acquired over the years.
Lisbon said he hopes guests will learn from the CU Boulder's approaches to collection development, acquisitions, managing a budget, and incorporating technology.