Taiwanese students learn on the job at SF library

The San Francisco Public Library welcomed two university students from Taiwan on Wednesday as part of an observational learning agreement between the public library and two universities — the National Taiwan University and Fu Jen Catholic University.

Both students will spend four weeks learning about the operations of the San Francisco Public Library and to bring back ideas back to Taiwan on how the county can improve its library operations and resources.

Sandy Hsieh, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Library and Information Science from the National Taiwan University, said San Francisco offers a number of services for different people including children and the homeless and wants to learn about the many programs the library offers:

“In Taiwan, we don’t have so much of these services. I want to learn how they provide them and bring ideas back to Taiwan.”

Hsieh told SFBay she wanted to bring back ideas on improving children services in Taiwan libraries. She is working on her master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

Belle Tang, from the Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan, said she would to observe the libaray’s working environment and how often people use the library. Tang said she would also like to visit other library branches in The City.

Tang is a double major in Library and Information Science and Spanish. She began as a volunteer at a number of libraries in Taiwan starting in her senior year of high school.

City Librarian Luis Herrera said he visited both universities on his trip to Taipei, Taiwan two years ago and students asked if they could come visit through a cultural exchange program.

Herrera said the library worked with the Education Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco to help coordinate the exchange program to bring the two students to The City.

As part of the exchange program, Herrera told SFBay that the students will experience a broad range of library services including teaching them about the library’s children’s services such as its early literacy program and other library programs:

“We’re also going to expose them to how the Main Library works and doing community outreach on how we serve very unique populations whether it’s the homeless population, whether its seniors that are learning how to use computer technology.”

Both students will also visit several local library branches to see how each library is different to meet community needs, said Herrera:

“We want them to really experience the day in and day out the diversity of the public libraries.”