President's Annual Report

By Sha Li Zhang, July 8, 2009

My activities as CALA President since January 2009 have continued focusing on the following key strategic areas outlined in the CALA Strategic Plan.

1.      Strive for organizational excellence

2009 election

Led by Sally C. Tseng, CALA Honorary Executive Director and the Election Ad Hoc Committee Chair, and the committee members Bin Zhang and Vincci Kwong as CALA experts, CALA conducted a smooth election in spring 2009, despite the system upgrade during the election time.  The Committee went through numerous trials and changes before finalizing the online voting platform to ensure complete voting records.  With numerous reminders, 236 CALA members or 57 percent cast their votes this year, the highest participatory rate in CALA history.

Improving organizational efficiency

Since January 2009, CALA Board of Directors held four special online meetings in February, April, May, and June 2009 respectively, with the following decisions:

  • Approved the amended CALA Conference Travel Grant Guidelines from the CALA Conference Travel Grants Task Force.
  • Approved the recommendations from the Publications Committee that Mr. Bao Xueming  be the next Occasional Paper Series (OPS) Editor-in-Chief,  starting July 2009, for a three-year term; Dr. Lois Mai Chan, Mr. Manuel Urrizola, and Ms. Ingrid Hsich-Yee for a three-year term (2009-2012), and Ms. Xiaoli Fang and Dr. Chihfen P. Lin for a two-year term (2009-2011), as OPS Editorial Board Members.
  • Approved the recommendation from the Awards Committee that Mr. John Ma be a recipient for the 2009 CALA Distinguished Services Award.
  • Approved the recommendations from the Awards Committee that Ms. Barbara Ford and Mr. Haipeng Li as the recipients of the CALA President's Recognition Award. 

The above-listed special online meetings enabled Board members to make decisions between the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference in a timely manner.

CALA web sites

The new CALA web site at received continual improvements under the leadership of Bin Zhang and Vincci Kwong, co-chairs of the CALA Web Committee which is working on the enhancement with a newly installed server.

JCLC 2012

Haipeng Li, CALA Executive Director, led a successful fundraising event at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver in January 2009 for the second Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) to be held in 2012 in Kansas City.  Haipeng Li is co-chairing the JCLC 2012 Steering Committee.  More work will need to be done toward the conference and more CALA volunteers are needed. The Steering Committee will meet at the ALA Annual Conference to plan these activities.

Communications with CALA members

Ongoing communications with CALA members on important issues were conducted through online meetings, President's regular CALA Updates columns, CALA listserv, CALA Newsletter, conference calls, etc. to keep the membership informed.

NLC's 100th Anniversary celebration

This year is marking the 100th anniversary of the National Library of China (NLC) in Beijing, China. The Library has launched a series of celebration activities since February 2009. CALA leadership sent a congratulatory letter and a gift to NLC to congratulate the Library's leadership role as an intellectual hub in China to collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to recorded knowledge and cultural heritage to millions of citizens in China.  Several CALA members, for instance, Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee and Mr. Gary Strong, and the September 2009 Team of the Think Globally, Act Globally, led by Shuyong Jiang, are invited to participate in a celebration event to be held in early September 2009.

2008-2009 CALA Awards recipients

The CALA Awards Committee recommended Professor John Ma as the recipient of  the CALA Distinguished Services Award, and Ms. Barbara Ford and Mr. Haipeng Li as the recipients of the CALA President's Recognition Award.  Congratulations, Professor Ma, Ms. Ford, and Mr. Li. They are the deserving individuals for the awards this year.  

President's budget summary

Beginning allocation


Spending items, $$


Ending balance




Lodging for attending IMLS Grant signing ceremony at LC




Print 200 copies of CALA membership brochure for 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting




Print copies for CALA Board  Meeting II agenda




CALA 2009 election postages (domestic and overseas mailing)




A CALA gift (a crystal faceted octagon) to  NLC 100th Anniversary celebration







2.      Become a leader in global reach initiatives

CALA Seminar Series in 2008-2009

With three successful CALA seminars held in Kunming (July 2008), Wuhan (October 2008), and Taiwan (November 2008), CALA has planned two more seminars in Taiwan (August 2009) and in Shanghai (November 2009), in responding to positive feedbacks and continual requests from the host institutions in China and Taiwan.  Since 2006, these seminars have provided CALA members with excellent professional development opportunities to exchange with, share best practices, and learn from their library colleagues in China and Taiwan.  Additionally, CALA leadership has signed agreements with Yunnan and Shanxi hosting institutions to conduct the seminars in the coming years.

Participating in the Think Globally, Act Globally grant project

CALA members have enthusiastically responded to the calls and participated in the Think Globally, Act Globally grant project funded by IMLS in U.S. and the Ministry of Culture in China. In 2009, fifteen CALA members were selected to participate in the three continuing education programs in China.  The first team successfully completed their assignments in Beijing and Nanjing in May 2009. During the trip, Dr, Hwa-Wei Lee as the Project Evaluator, the team members (Lisa Zhao, Sha Li Zhang as Team Leader, Mengxiong Liu, Robert Fernekes, and Wenwen Zhang), and Susan Schnuer as Co-PI, met with the librarians at the National Library of China, Nanjing Normal University Library, and Nanjing Library, gave the lectures on the topics of public library services, administration, legal issues, and assessment, exchanged ideas, shared the best practices, and visited libraries.  It was an excellent learning opportunity for the team members.  In July 2009, three CALA chapters (Northeast, Southern California, and Southeast) and two public libraries in Kentucky and Missouri will host a delegation of ten library directors from the provincial libraries in China. The CALA members on these sites will contribute their time, provide hospitality, and work out logistics to make the visits of the delegation a pleasant experience.

Genuine support to the libraries affected by earthquakes

As of June 2009, CALA raised $20,400, the largest fundraising efforts in CALA history, to support the library staff and libraries affected by the massive earthquakes in May 2009 in Sichuan Province and the surrounding regions in China. Led by Sally C. Tseng, CALA Honorary Executive Director, the CALA Taskforce on Rebuilding Libraries in 512 Earthquake Areas in China has closely worked with the Library Society of China (LSC) who has agreed to assist  CALA in distributing the CALA funds to the library staff and libraries affected by the earthquakes. In January 2009, LSC officials went to Sichuan Province and distributed the first CALA check of $10,000 in person to 32 library staff who were injured and lost personal properties in the earthquakes, including $2,000 to the family of a killed library staff and $3,000 to cover medical expenses for Ms. Li Chun, Library Director of Beichuan County which was totally destroyed by the earthquakes.  Ms. Li was buried under rubbers of the damaged library for 75 hours before being rescued.  In July 2009, the second CALA check of $10,400 will be presented to LSC who will assist in distributing the funds to the affected libraries to purchase library materials.

2009 CALA Annual Program on International Outreach

Chaired by Xudong Jin, CALA President-Elect, the CALA 2009 Annual Program, International Outreach and Leadership: The CALA 21st Century Librarian Seminar Series Program, focuses on the CALA's global outreach program since 2006.  The program will review the development and influence of this seminar series on the library profession.

2009 ALA Emerging Leaders Project on CALA Seminar Series Assessment

Two CALA members, Shu-Hua Liu and Jian Anna Xiong, were selected to as the 2009 ALA Emerging Leaders.  They are joined by Hilary Davis,  another ALA Emerging Leader, worked on a project, CALA Twenty First Century Librarian Seminar Series Assessment and Analysis 2006-2008 (美国华人图书馆员协会二十一世纪系列研讨会分析报告2006-2008) at The three emerging leaders did an excellent job on this project which reviewed data from the seminar series, identified strengths and areas needing improvements, and provided useful assessment on the project. The project can be used as a benchmark to guide the future seminar series.

3.      Enhance services to CALA membership

CALA membership increased

Recruiting new CALA members and keeping them in the association has been a challenge task.  This year, the Membership Committee, chaired by Songqian Lu and Elaine Dong, worked very hard on membership recruitment and retention.  The two co-chairs walked the walk and took actions with the committee members. They used a variety of methods to reach out and make connections with the new members and inactive members. As it is listed on the committee's report, between July 2008 and June 2009, 82 new members joined CALA, with 142 renewal members and 11 new life members. As of this writing, the total number of active CALA members is 431, representing twenty percent increase in comparison with the previous year. It is the largest membership growth in CALA history. The two co-chairs and the committee members are to be commended for their hard work and tireless efforts in achieving this excellent outcome, despite the tough economic climate facing the nation.

Financial support to CALA members' professional development

In June 2008, the Board approved the establishment of the CALA Conference Travel Grant to provide up to four travel grants ($500 each) to eligible CALA members to support their professional development.  Led by Dr. Mengxiong Liu, the CALA Conference Travel Grant Task Force and later became the CALA Conference Travel Grant Ad Hoc Committee completed guidelines development, application procedures, calls and reviews of applications, and selection of the travel grant recipients within one year. The committee's efficiency and effectiveness enabled CALA members to benefit from this CALA grant when the budget cuts are everywhere. The selected CALA members will receive the $500 grant each to attend the coming ALA Annual Conference.

Enhancing CALA Mentorship Program

The Mentorship Program Committee, led by the committee chair Wenwen Zhang, made much effort to match new CALA members with the experienced CALA members. During the year, 13 new CALA members were connected with the mentors. The committee's outreach efforts also helped recruit four new CALA members.  Additionally, the first time on CALA history, the committee recruited Ying Xu, Scholarship Committee Chair, as a mentor for all four CALA 2009 scholarship recipients. Ying immediately got in touch with all recipients and provided them with CALA information and benefits.  Prior to the 2009 ALA Annual Conference, all of four scholarships recipients have become CALA members. Many thanks to Ying Xu for her excellent outreach efforts in recruiting new CALA members.

4.      Provide educational opportunities

Support ALA Emerging Leaders Program

CALA selected two outstanding CALA members, Shu-hua Liu and Anna Xiong for the ALA 2009 Emerging Leaders Program with funding.  Haipeng Li and Sha Li Zhang also assisted them with a program project focusing on CALA 21st Century Librarian Seminar Series assessment  and evaluation. They have completed the project, will present a poster session at ALA, and will give a presentation at the CALA Annual Program.

JLIS Editorial Board

Min Chou, the newly appointed English Editor for Journal of Library and Information Science (JLIS), is leading the editorial board to aggressively recruit articles for a quality publication. At the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting, the CALA Board also approved the re-appointment of Dr. Mark Winston as a member of the CALA JLIS Editorial Board for a three-year term, starting from July 2009. The journal provides the CALA members the publishing opportunities.

Occasional Paper Series (OPS) Editorial Board

The CALA Board approved the appointments of Mr. Bao Xueming as the next Occasional Paper Series (OPS) Editor-in-Chief,  starting July 2009, for a three-year term; Dr. Lois Mai Chan, Mr. Manuel Urrizola, and Ms. Ingrid Hsich-Yee for a three-year term (2009-2012),  and Ms. Xiaoli Fang and Dr. Chihfen P. Lin for a two-year term (2009-2011), as OPS Editorial Board Members. OPS is open to all CALA members and library professionals who wish to get published and share their best practices.

5.      Advocate for users of Chinese heritage, Chinese culture, and Chinese language

Support City of Palo Alto Library Bond Campaign

CALA Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution to support the City of Palo Alto Library Bond Campaign. The goal of this library campaign is to bring the 50-year-old libraries in the city into the 21st   century and up to par with libraries in neighboring cities/communities. The Palo Alto Library Measure N was passed during the 2008 November election.  Nearly 70 percent of voters supported the bond measure which would fund Palo Alto library improvements to three of the city's five library branches. 

ALA Presidential Advocacy Initiative

In 2009-2010, CALA will appoint a Task Force to work with Dr. Camila Alire, ALA President in 2009-2010, on her presidential advocacy initiative which will focus on "member-driven advocacy" content and training - for librarians, library staff and supporters of all types of libraries. This complements ALA's existing advocacy efforts focusing on local, state, and federal legislative advocacy.  It will also be a great opportunity for CALA members to get involved in this initiative.

Additional remarks:

In a few days, the term of my CALA Presidency will end.  It was once-in-a-life  experience for me to serve on this wonderful organization, with unwavering support from the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, chairs of the committees and taskforces, chapter presidents, and many CALA members. I want to take this opportunity to thank for their confidence, dedication, and passion to make CALA special in library profession.  I also want to encourage all CALA members to get involved, serve on committees and taskforces, participate in CALA activities, run for CALA officers, and serve as a mentor to new members.  Working together, we can make CALA a stronger organization.