The Athens-Clarke County Library on Thursday hosted a tour for a group of delegates from the Shanghai Administration Institute on Thursday, Oct. 31. The 19 delegates are visiting Athens as part of a partnership with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The delegates spent two hours at the library, getting a top-to-bottom tour of the building while learning about library services in Athens and Georgia from Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell, Athens-Clarke County Library Assistant Director for Public Services Trudi Green, and Georgia State Librarian Julie Walker.
A visit to the local public library wasn’t originally on the delegation’s itinerary, but the group requested a tour be added after a member explored the library’s website, according to Fei Zhang, public service assistant with the Institute’s International Center.
“We are honored that the delegation chose to spend time with us this morning to learn about our library,” Bell said. “We enjoyed the opportunity to share information about the programs and services our patrons have access to.”
“What a great pleasure to spend time with the delegation from Shanghai as they enjoyed learning about the innovation and community-centered services offered by the Athens-Clarke County Library. It was gratifying to see how engaged and impressed the visitors were with all the library has to offer,” Walker said.
The delegation visited every department of the library. Highlights of the tour included a visit to the Digital Media Center, where the group spoke to a patron working on a design project; a tour of the Heritage Room vault, where archival collections are stored; and an overview of the library’s automated book return sorting machine.
The group represents the Shanghai Administration Institute (SAI) in Shanghai, China. SAI is responsible for training and educating government officials from Shanghai, as well as giving policy analysis and suggestions to Shanghai Municipal Government. Many of the delegates are SAI faculty members, and others are administrators.
The Carl Vinson Institute of Government established its partnership with SAI in 1998, offering annual trainings to SAI faculty members on different topics. This year’s theme is “Construction of Global City: The Social Management Perspective.”