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San Francisco Public Library Renews Internship MOUs with National Taiwan University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and Tamkang University

Education Division Director Sophie Chou, Michael Lambert, the City Librarian of San Francisco, and Wang Yamu from the Education Division, holding the three sets of signed MOUs

San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has its main library in downtown San Francisco, and before the pandemic, its 27 branches served a total of 6.6 million people each year. It was named the 2018 Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year. In 2016, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco connected the library with the departments of Library and Information Science of three universities in Taiwan: National Taiwan University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and Tamkang University. This led to each university signing a five-year MOU under which an intern could do SFPL for an internship during the summertime. The pandemic prevented anyone going there in 2020 and 2021 but seven students from the three universities have participated in the internship program since 2017 and loved it.

Coco, an intern in 2019, wrote on her blog: “SFPL librarians have never met us before but they were extremely sincere and friendly and shared their experience with us, much like long-time friends or even family members. During the program, their words and expressions showed their love and enthusiasm for their work, which made people like me look forward to being like them in the future: devoting their life to the things they love. The experience makes me feel very grateful and moved. We can feel their enthusiasm for helping others and the joy of passing on knowledge!”

The library and each of the universities were happy to renew the original MOUs and a ceremony was held on March 8, 2022 for the signing of the new MOUs by Michael Lambert, the City Librarian, and by Sophie Chou, the Director of the Education Division, TECO in San Francisco, on behalf of the universities in Taiwan. 

Hsieh Yi-Shan, an intern from National Taiwan University, shared details of her experience saying, “What I learned most is a way of thinking. A way to face various cultures, people of different ethnic groups, economic status, education levels, genders. … SFPL does its best to accommodate all of them, trying to help, providing social education, and reducing the information gaps. This way of thinking is something that has never been seen in Taiwan because its community is relatively simple.” “I am very grateful to the Ministry of Education, my university, the San Francisco Public library, and everyone who has given us help that lets Taiwanese students like me have the opportunity to see higher and farther. I wish the future program all the best!”