It was certainly a pleasure to attend this workshop, organized by the National Central Library in Taipei. To return to a city that had taught me so much in my formative Chinese language learning years, to meet representatives of the library and bookselling fraternities in Taiwan and to meet with colleagues from around the world was an invaluable experience.
The workshop was scheduled for eight days (including a two day outing to Sun Moon Lake), however I was only able to physically attend four of the six working days, spending the remaining two days looking down on the 總統府 and National Central Library from the dizzying heights of a 10th floor room in the 臺大 hospital. Suffice it to say that I survived it.
Some of the highlights of the workshop program included:
An introduction to Sinological studies in Mongolia
Han-Nom resources from Vietnam and the construction of a digital library
Visits to the 中央研究院歷史語言研究所’s 傅斯年 library, the National Taiwan University library, the National Taiwan Library (including a fascinating visit to their preservation department) and other institutes were highlights, as was a visit to the Lexis Bookshop, a dinner with a variety of Taiwan-based publishers [Shin Wen Feng Print Co., Linking Publishing Co. and others] and a visit to the Gu Gong.
Various publishing houses set up stalls at the venue or handed out introductory material, including TudorTech System Co. [古今圖書集成資料庫；臺灣研究資料庫；种文學書資料庫 etc.], tbmc.com.tw [正統道藏；本草綱目；永樂北藏；臺灣日日新報 etc.] and Airiti Inc. [Taiwan Electronic Periodical Services etc.]. Many offered consortium pricing or discounts, so if anyone is interested please get in touch.
It was great to learn from and exchange experiences with other committed Chinese librarians from as far afield as Canada, the US, Singapore, London, Paris and Hong Kong.. It was also interesting to follow their leads as to where to taste the best Taiwanese beef noodles or find the best stocked bookshops or markets. Sadly I could not recognize any of my old favourite haunts from the early 1970s.
The representative of the Library Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan) mentioned that they organize regular training sessions on book preservation and restoration (often with a cross-straits composition) and that overseas librarians are welcome to join them for the sessions.
Thankfully, the National Central Library is considering making this a regular occurrence and I would highly recommend to all that they accept the invitation should it be offered in the future.