Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee – Recipient of the 2016 CALA Outstanding Library Leadership Award in Memory of Dr. Margaret Chang Fung

Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee – Recipient of the 2016 CALA Outstanding Library Leadership Award in Memory of Dr. Margaret Chang Fung –

His Successful Stories Are Our Exemplary Role Models.

Dear CALA Members and Friends,

We are very excited to announce that Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, a longtime world-renowned library and information leader, is the recipient of the 2016 CALA Outstanding Library Leadership Award in Memory of Dr. Margaret Chang Fung.  Congratulations to Dr. Lee on receiving this high honor.  The award, $1000 and a plaque of achievement donated by the Fung’s family and friends in honor of Dr. Fung’s distinguished library career as a dedicated library director, educator, innovator, scholar, government official, and above all, an exemplary leader.  Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee’s excellent professional career has reflected these merits and values.  As several prestigious higher education and national library directors, as well as pioneers in library automation, cooperation, and digitization, both Dr. Fung and Dr. Lee made it their lives’ work to develop world-class library collections and services, and to enhance Chinese-Asian-American library cooperation, exchange and internship programs.  We are very proud of them. 

The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) will honor Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee and other awardees at the CALA Awards Banquet during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 26, 2016.

Dr. Lee received his B.Ed. from the National Taiwan Normal University in 1954; M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1959; M.L.S. from the Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh in 1961; Ph.D. (Education and Library Science) from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965; and Honorary Doctor of Letters from the Ohio University in 2012.

With a successful career that spans half a century of leadership in prestigious academic libraries and national library, Dr. Lee has a proven ability to work collegially with faculty, staff, administrators, legislators, students and communities to advance the institutions he had served.  He is a results-oriented administrator of excellent caliber with remarkable track records of superlative achievements, innovative management and distinguished contributions, including as:


Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress, 2/2003-3/2008;

Project Evaluator, IMLS funded China-U.S. Library Collaboration Project, 10/2008-9/2012; Dean of University Libraries, Ohio University, 8/1978-8/1999;

Dean of Libraries Emeritus, Ohio University, 9/1999-present;

Associate Director of Libraries and Professor of Library Administration, Colorado State University, 7/1975-7/1978;

Director of Library and Information Center, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, (invited by the U.S. Agency for International Development), 8/1968-6/1975;

Chief Librarian and Associate Professor, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 7/1966-7/1968;

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Department of Library and Information Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 9/2001-10/2001;

OCLC Consultant and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, 2000-2003; and other national and international leadership and consultation positions. 

Dr. Lee is indeed one of the most influential leaders who are highly respected by colleagues around the world.  Dr. Lee is also a genius in fundraising, because he has raised large federal grants and external funds for his libraries.  Besides, he is often a sought after advisor, consultant and speaker by prestigious institutions and governmental agencies. The numerous significant projects that he initiated brought him national and international visibility.

For example, in leading the Ohio University Libraries’ fundraising and grant-seeking efforts, he raised from less than $20,000 in 1978 when he assumed the Dean of Libraries position at the University, to more than $8,000,000 when he retired in 1999.  Through successful fundraising, Dr. Lee established the Shao You Bao Overseas Chinese Documentation and Research Center at Ohio University Libraries and the Asian Division Friends Society of the Library of Congress for the purpose of promoting greater awareness and usage of the valuable Asian collections and outreach programs.  He expanded especially the science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections.  He understands how education, world-class collections and advanced services can make a difference in students, teaching faculty, legislators, researchers and general users. 

In addition, Dr. Lee is one of the founding fathers of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) and its life member.  He has been very active in international librarianship and has been a sought after consultant in many Asian countries.  He is also the founders of a dozen of international library conferences, symposia and cooperative projects, such as the notable series of China-US Conferences on Libraries, Lecture Series, and many more.


At the academic libraries and the Library of Congress that Dr. Lee had served, he bestowed perks to his staff and librarians while giving them opportunities and training to hone their leadership and professional skills while forging cooperation and friendships with other libraries. He established the exemplary International Library Internship and Visiting Scholars Programs at Ohio University.  Programs included practical training on advanced technology, subject specialties, leadership, networking, accessing to resources and even helping new librarians learn more about his/her own potential and how to work harmoniously with colleagues inside and outside of libraries.  These areas are what Dr. Lee wanted to emphasize and made sure librarians could sharpen their skills to serve their own library when they return to his/her home country.  After these programs, many international librarians had become directors or at high positions in libraries, or high officials in governmental offices.  Dr. Lee has made the biggest difference in many people’s lives. 


Dr. Lee’s highly acclaimed contributions and achievements during his long and distinguished career have been well-documented over countless citations in various library literatures. It is also worth noting that Dr. Lee is not only respected by his peers due to his exemplary career, but also  admired by so many for his collegial leadership, genuine kindness, modest manner, friendly smiles, and integrity of the highest moral standard. He is definitely an outstanding librarian!


awards, honors and recognitions


We are very proud to report that among the many important awards, honors and recognitions he received, Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee is the first Chinese American library administrator, to be awarded the 2015 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal for Life-Time Achievements – the highest prestigious award presented by the American Library Association (ALA) in ALA’s 163 years’ history since its establishment in 1853.   


Upon his retirement from Ohio University in 1999, Ohio University named a new library building as the Hwa-Wei Lee Library Annex, and the first floor in the Main Library is the Hwa-Wei Lee Center for International Collections. He is the first Chinese American library dean to receive these high honors.  He was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree in June 2012 by Ohio University.  Dr. Lee was the 1983 Outstanding Administrator of Ohio University, the 1987 Ohio Librarian of the Year, the 1991 ALA John Ames Humphrey Award winner for contributions to International Librarianship, and he was inducted into the 1999 Ohio Hall of Fame of Librarians.


Other prestigious honors and awards included: Recipient of distinguished service awards from the American Library Association (ALA), Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), Chinese Academic and Professional Association in Mid-America, Library Association of China (Taiwan), OCLC, OhioLINK, Ohionet, Ohio University Foundation, U.S. Information Services, and Honorary Life Member of the China Society of Library and Information Science.  Dr. Lee was listed in Who’s Who in the World. When he retired from the Library of Congress in 2008, he received special recognitions from both the Congress and the Library for his many accomplishments. He was honorably mentioned for contributions made at the Library of Congress as recorded in the official Congressional Record, April 10, 2008. 


For Dr. Lee’s significant contributions to library development in China and his active role in the promotion of library cooperation between China and the U.S. he was honored by a special Symposium on Library Thoughts and Contributions of Hwa-Wei Lee, as organized by the Sun Yat-sen University and other Chinese libraries.  That Symposium was held at Shenzhen Library in Shenzhen, China on Nov. 17, 2011.




Throughout his amazing career, Dr. Lee has an outstanding publication record, including over 130 journal articles and more than10 monographs. Two masterpieces of monographs have been published recently which have inspired and enlightened our peers around the world.  They are:   To honor Dr. Lee’s 80th birthday and in recognition of the impact of his scholarship, the Sun Yat-sen University Press published in 2011 李華偉文集 = The Collected Works of Hwa-Wei Lee. The handsomely bound two-volume set has been a bestseller for the Press.  And, in 2011, a Chinese biography of Dr. Lee's life and career was published in China entitled, 书籍殿堂 的智者:杰出美籍华裔图书馆学家李华伟 = The Sage in the Cathedral of Books: The Distinguished Chinese American Library Professional Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee by Yang Yang.  An English edition of this biography, translated by Dr. Ying Zhang, was published by the Ohio University Press in May 2016.


complimentary remarks by elites


We would like to highlight a few complimentary remarks by elites from the United States on Dr. Lee’s professional excellence: 


Congressman Michael M. Honda submitted a statement to praise Dr. Lee.  It appeared in the April 10, 2008 issue of the Congressional Record:


Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the many contributions and achievements of Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee. After an esteemed 5 years as the chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress—a bookend to his dedicated 50 years in the library profession, Dr. Lee is retiring. … During his short tenure at the Library of Congress, Dr. Lee focused his energy on completely rejuvenating and reorganizing the Asian Division. He introduced innovative programs designed to improve and expand the division’s resources, collections, services, and outreach. As chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, it has been my privilege to have collaborated with Dr. Lee and his dedicated staff at the Asian Division. Our shared pursuit to tell the complete Asian American and Pacific Islander, AAPI, story and dispel the cloak of invisibility and mischaracterization upon the community has given life to a new AAPI Collection at the Library of Congress. This is another milestone of Dr. Lee’s storied career….. Honoring Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee – (Extensions of Remarks – April 10, 2008). Speech of Hon. Michael M. Honda of California in the House of Representatives, Thursday, April 10, 2008. Pp. E577-578. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query


Dr. James H. Billington, former Librarian of the Congress, at a retirement luncheon for the Library of Congress (LC) Asian Division Chief Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee on February 15, 2008, cited Dr. Lee’s vision, professionalism and international outreach.  Dr. Billington also praised Dr. Lee for his outstanding services for the Asian Division at the farewell party given to Dr. Lee at the end of March, 2008.  Part of the full text of his speech is as follows:


Thank you for your dedicated service to the Library of Congress and the breadth of institutional and international experience that you brought with you five years ago. … Your international librarianship and professionalism have been exceptional since your arrival at the Library of Congress on February 10, 2003. During your tenure, you worked tirelessly to build our collections and to ensure that our reference service and outreach activities served the nation in the best of possible ways. The reorganization of the division; the establishment of collaborative digitization projects with major national libraries and research institutions in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan; your establishment and support of the Asian Division Friends Society and the Florence Tan Moeson Fund, as well as your recent establishment of the Asian Pacific American Collection Fund, will carry on your good work long after you leave these halls.


On behalf of your colleagues at the Library of Congress, thank you for your generosity, your past and future support of the Asian Division, and your service to the Library, the U.S. Congress, and to the United States.


Dr. Deanna Marcum, then Associate Librarian of the Library of Congress, wrote a personal and warm letter as follows:

It is an honor to write this tribute on the occasion of your retirement. You should feel enormously gratified in knowing that you have made a huge difference in this institution, and you have touched the lives of a great number of LC staff, librarians around the world, and international scholars. The phrase “a life well lived” refers specifically to you! …..


You know better than anyone else how badly you were needed when the Library recruited you to head the Asian Division. Collections were unavailable to the public, bibliographic records were not in the online catalog, staff relations and morale were in disrepair. You had already enjoyed a highly successful career at Ohio University as the University Librarian and, as a consultant; you set OCLC on a path to become highly influential in China. You could have insisted - with complete justification – on enjoying retirement with your family. Instead, your sense of obligation and service led you to accept the job here, and the scholarly and library communities owe you a great deal.


There is almost no comparison of today’s Asian Division to the one you inherited. The reorganization has removed the language-based independent units. The staff works harmoniously and productively. The collections are well organized and can be served to the public. You have exponentially raised the public profile of the Asian Division with your seminars and the formation of a Friends group. We have partnerships with countless libraries in all parts of Asia.


At your stage of life, it would have been perfectly understandable if you had been more leisurely. But not Hwa-Wei! You have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to form partnerships, acquire collections, and create goodwill for the Library of Congress. You have not relied solely on federal dollars, either. You have been a supremely talented fund-raiser and a relationships-builder.


Finally, you have shown that you are not simply looking to others to sustain the Asian Division. When you announced your retirement, you made a substantial financial contribution to your latest campaign – the development of an Asian Pacific American collection. You have set a high standard for those who follow.


Your retirement is bittersweet for me. You certainly deserve some peaceful, more relaxed time with your family and friends, but I shall miss you very much. Your intellect, your passion, and your wisdom have given me great confidence in the capacities and capabilities of the Asian Division.


You have made a huge difference in this institution, and you have touched the lives of a great number of LC staff, librarians around the world, and international scholars,” adding a “life well lived” aptly described him. “You have set a high standard for those who follow …You leave very big shoes to fill….


LC Director of Scholarly Programs Carolyn Brown said to Dr. Lee:


Your tenure as chief has been a triumph and demonstration of what is possible with a leader of vision and experience, one who long ago discarded the encumbrances of ego and who has led with deep appreciation for the gifts of others, with great humility, and with a rare wisdom.


Dr. James (Jim) G. Neal, ALA 2017-2018 President and University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University, stated without reservation: 


Over thirty years, I have observed the extraordinary leadership Dr. Lee has demonstrated in advancing innovative approaches to library management, and in particular, national and international direction for cataloging and classification policy and practice. … I can state without reservation that Dr. Lee has made sustained professional contributions in areas of critical importance to the community that have powerfully influenced and improved library services and development.  He provides calm and reasoned direction.  He brings people together to work out solutions. He uses the pulpits of his leadership positions and his work around the world to enable thoughtful change.  The Award recognizes professional excellence and sustain accomplishments.  These characteristics define the career of Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee.


Dean Scott Seaman of Ohio University Libraries commended on Dr. Lee:


Under his leadership, the endowments of the Ohio University libraries grew to over $8 million. Other grants reached more than $2.5 million. He was a founding member and advisor to OhioLINK, which pooled materials of the nation’s major academic libraries. On his “first” retirement in 1999, Ohio University named the first floor of its main library the Hwa-Wei Lee Center for International Collections. It also named a new library annex after him.


Upon his retirement in 1999, Hwa-Wei left behind his legacy, as Ohio University Libraries had now earned its place among an elite group of research libraries in the United States and in Canada as a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The Libraries was ranked among the top 100 academic research libraries in North America.


A major outreach program initiated by Hwa-Wei at Ohio University Libraries was the establishment, in 1979, of the renowned International Librarians Internship Program, an exchange program that served librarians from the Asian and Pacific Region. Through this program, over 175 middle and upper-level managers of libraries and information services from various developing countries were trained at Ohio University Libraries. That internship program provided opportunities for international librarians to learn about America, as well as Ohio University librarians and students to learn about those countries, which opened a door between America and the international community to promote communication among its different cultures.


During his 21-year tenure as dean, the Ohio University Libraries more than doubled its collections from fewer than 750,000 to over two million, which included many unique and internationally-acclaimed materials and primary resources such as collections in World War II history, American dance and the history of science, as well as many international collections.  In 1993, Dr. Lee was the architect of the Dr. Shao You-Bao Overseas Chinese Documentation and Research Center.


Dr. Lee also actively promoted international exchange and cooperation for Overseas Chinese Studies through the organizing of conferences … instrumental in the establishment of the World Confederation of Institutes & Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies (WCILCOS )  … the Center for International Collections, the Southeast Asia Collection and the depository collections from Malaysia, Botswana, Swaziland and Guatemala; as well as, the Chubu University Commemorative Japanese Collection. These international collections at Ohio University are sought by scholars from around the globe….


Dr. Shali Zhang, Professor and Dean of Libraries, University of Montana, praised Dr. Lee highly:


Dr. Lee teaches us the successful library leadership skills and management necessary for the 21st century. He encourages and trains librarians to adapt modern management, new technologies, global libraries, and digitization in the 21st century.  He further emphases the critical impact of quality on information discovery and access.  Dr. Lee is the world leader who is innovative and dedicated to providing the highest levels of library services.  He demonstrates to us how to embrace the future by incorporating new technologies for libraries so as to provide information resources, effective library services to users locally, nationally and globally. 


Dr. Lee’s success is a combination of talents, expertise, experience, hard work, vision, courage, and foresight in the application of new technologies in library operation and services.  Dr. Lee is our leaders’ leader for his superlative achievements in leadership, management, services, national and global library cooperation, training, application of new technologies and fundraising!  He is an internationally acclaimed distinguished library icon whose long life achievements and contributions have earned him countless awards, honors and recognitions both in the United States and abroad. His success stories are our exemplary role models. Dr. Lee demonstrates to us an exemplary role model for the world’s visionary leaders in library leadership, management, training, and application of new technologies for library operation and services…..


Judy S. Lu, former Library of Congress Asian Division Collection Services Head, commended,


Dr. Lee’s steadfast strong leadership has completely changed the image the division presents to senior management, our colleagues in the Library of Congress and to the scholarly community outside of the Library.


Dr. Lee accomplished so much during his tenure in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress that upon his retirement, there were overwhelming sentiments of admiration, respect and gratitude shown to him. Over 700 people crowded the biggest room in the Madison Building to pay their tributes to him for his extraordinary achievements and contributions to the Library. Dr. James Billington praised his exceptional international librarianship and lightheartedly joked, “If I could, I would break a brick from the Library building and give it to you”. He was referring to the honor given to Dr. Lee in 1999 by Ohio University naming the new “Hwa-Wei Lee Library Annex” after him, and dedicating an entire floor in the Main Library as the “Hwa-Wei Lee Center for International Collections…..


Spotlight on a CALA Member:  Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee



Esther Lee, 2012-2013 CALA President, praised the Spotlight on Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee  http://www.cala-web.org/files/spotlight/DrLee.pdf, which was prepared by Dr. Shali Zhang and Sai Deng,


was outstanding:  very informative, interesting, and fantastic in the use of photos.  Dr. Lee far exceeds the criteria and richly deserves this honor.


We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Mr. John Fung and his family for establishing this noteworthy Fung’s Endowment Fund and the Award in memory of our beloved leader, Dr. Margaret Chang Fung. 


Dr. Lee’s amazing achievements are combinations of talents, expertise, experience, hard work, vision, courage, and foresight in the applications of new ideas, new technologies in library operations and services. His significant contributions to the library profession, community, education, research, publications, and his effective collaborations with national and international library executives for cooperative library initiatives have become a legacy in the profession.  We are indeed very happy to share with you Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee’s successful stories as our role models.


By Sally C. Tseng for the


2015/16 CALA Outstanding Library Leadership Award in Memory of

Dr. Margaret Chang Fung Committee:


Teresa Yen-Chiu Chang-Wang, Special Consultant, wangchi66@yahoo.com.tw

Esther Lee, elee@queenslibrary.org

Wei Peng, pengweilac@gmail.com

Mei-Mei Wu, meiwu@cc.ntnu.edu.tw

Liana Zhou, zhoul@indiana.edu

Freda Fung, Ex Officio, freda.fung@zera.com.cn, freda.fung@hotmail.com

Sally C. Tseng, Chair, sctseng888@yahoo.com