Area Studies Librarians Travel Abroad to Collect Materials, Connect with Partners

On April 12, 2018, four members of Woodruff Library’s International Area Studies team shared the details of their recent overseas book fair trips. Using their subject expertise and proficiency in foreign languages, they sought events where they could obtain materials useful for research and teaching at Emory, and further partnerships built with other professionals at institutions worldwide.

Philip MacLeod, Bibliographer for Latin American Studies, Luso-Hispanic Studies, African Studies, and Comparative Literature, gave a dynamic account of the hectic environment at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, held November 2017. Aside from the displays of books from various Mexican and overseas presses, the fair features cultural performances, panel discussions, and prizes awarded for outstanding literary works. MacLeod traverses the crowds—numbering 820,000 attendees last year—to seek titles requested by faculty and students. He cited the advantages of being able to see the books in person, learn about titles not listed in catalogs, and avoid vendor markup on books by paying Mexican prices.

South Asian Studies and Religion Librarian Ellen Ambrosone summarized her trip to India for the New Delhi World Book Fair held this past January. She conducted significant research to learn about the experiences of other librarians who have traveled to the region, and she acquired titles in English, Hindi, and Malayalam based on faculty input. Ambrosone also visited the offices of some of the vendors that Emory works with, whose operations extend beyond sales to publishing, cataloging, and nonprofit initiatives. In addition to attending the fair, she also spent a day at the Library of Congress in New Delhi to learn about their work processes, and she continued her collection efforts while on vacation in the southwestern state of Kerala.

Exhibit at the New Delhi World Book Fair

Lawrence Hamblin, Japanese and Korean Studies Librarian, follows trends in East Asian libraries in North America through his communications with numerous stateside colleagues, but wanted to know which issues affect libraries in Japan. During his visit to the Library Fair & Forum last November in Yokohama, he found that the impetus behind many of the panels was recent government reports on the strategic importance of digital libraries and changes to Japan’s copyright law that would affect educational institutions. Panelists urged librarians in Japan to familiarize themselves with copyright issues and rethink the role libraries can play in community development by making local information more easily accessible. After the fair, Hamblin traveled to Tokyo to visit Jinbocho, a district with dozens of stores specializing in rare books.

Exhibit on special libraries in Japan at the Library Fair and Forum, Yokohama

Chinese Studies Librarian Guo-hua Wang reported on her two-week trip to China in three parts. She selected books at the Beijing International Book Fair, and attended the 2017 International Conference on Integrated Development of Digital Publishing and Digital Libraries. The conference was a great opportunity for her to learn about new developments in Chinese digital publishing and to hear from other international librarians about their experiences using popular Chinese databases to which Emory subscribes. The third part of her trip was her participation in in-depth conversations with Chinese publishers. She discussed the needs of Emory scholars, publishing trends in China, and government-funded projects. Two specific projects she shared are the publication of the Forbidden City’s art and archives and the creation of an online database of Chinese gazetteers. She recommended the gazetteer project to faculty and students, which can be accessed for free at

Wang at a booth organized by Anhui Province at the Beijing International Book Fair

The presentation was part of Woodruff’s twice-monthly InfoForum series, at which library staff can present their individual or team projects to a broader audience.


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