Announcing the recipient of the 2016 CALA Jing Liao Award for the Best Research

Dear CALA Members,


The pursuit of excellence in research and service was what defined the career of Jing Liao (1954-2011), a long-time CALA member and a devoted and accomplished librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The establishment of this memorial fund honors the memory of Jing Liao by encouraging CALA members to strive for excellence of research.


The CALA Jing Liao Award for the Best Research Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Jennifer Zhao as the 2016 recipient of the Jing Liao Award. Her co-authored publication cited below is selected as the winner: 


Zhao, J. C. & Mawhinney, T. (2015). Comparison of native Chinese-speaking and native English speaking engineering students' information literacy challenges. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(6), 712-724, DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2015.09.010 


Ms. Zhao will be awarded $500 from the Jing Liao Memorial Fund, and an additional $500 Supplemental Travel Fund at the 2016 CALA Annual Awards Banquet to be held on Sunday, June 26, 2016 in conjunction with the ALA Conference in Orlando, Florida. 


Ms. Zhao received her Master of Library and Information Studies at Dalhousie University in Canada, 2007. She is a Liaison Librarian at Schulich Library of Science and Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. She has joined the CALA since 2013.


The purpose of this co-authored study was to compare information literacy challenges encountered by native Chinese-speaking and native English-speaking undergraduate students from a communication in engineering course at McGill University. A total of 17 students participated in the 3-session in-depth interview study pertaining information searching, evaluating, reading, writing, and citing. Qualitative data was collected. The study found that the major challenges to native Chinese-speaking students were more pronounced in area of reading, writing, and citing. An alternative Peer Support Program for International Students is suggested in addition to traditional services offered by a library.


International students have varied background knowledge and skills of information literacy. With growing enrollment of Chinese students, it is important to identify barriers they have in information seeking and using. The research study is a valuable addition to the literature. The findings gathered from this study can be used to inform and guide library services for undeserved International students.


The article exhibits high quality in research with its extensive literature review, solid research methodology, in-depth analysis, and an excellent presentation.  The article is well structured, the logical arrangement is clear, and the language is free flowing.


Please join us in congratulating Ms. Zhao and wishing her continued success in pursuit of excellence in research.


Yingqi Tang, Chair, on behalf of the CALA Jing Liao Award for the Best Research Committee, 2015-2016