IFT Life Main Headline

IFTM Library forging new links across the region and around the world

IFTM Library Head, Ms. Carmen Lei Ka Man

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Key to the development of the IFTM Library in recent years has been forging links with other academic libraries in Macao and the sharing of resources. The initiative has given students and academic staff access to a far greater array of research papers, academic journals and books than what is available at the Library branches on the IFTM Mong-Há Campus and the IFTM Taipa Campus.

As IFTM reinforces its position as a leading institution of higher education in the field of tourism and hospitality in the Asia-Pacific region, the IFTM Library has also been busy expanding its links with counterparts elsewhere in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and abroad.

The IFTM Library has been a member of the Macau Academic Library Alliance (MALA) since 2014. The alliance represents the libraries in 9 institutions of higher education in Macao and promotes cooperation among its members, including the sharing of core resources and the development of platforms for effective communication. MALA offers its members a cost-benefit approach to acquisitions, ways to develop and share resources, and promotes inter-library book loans.

“Through resource-sharing, we don’t all have to acquire the same books. Each library can focus on the areas that lie within its strengths,” says Ms. Carmen Lei Ka Man, the Head of the IFTM Library. “Academic resources in the fields of tourism, culinary, hospitality and heritage are our main focuses.”

The MALA Academic Library Alliance E-resources Centre gives access to electronic databases of scientific journals and other resources commonly used by academic staff and students at member institutions. MALA members have set up an inter-library loan service, which allows students and academic staff served by one library to borrow books from any of the other libraries. Access to the service has been made easier for academic year 2020/2021.

“Starting from this September, the process for the inter-library loan service has been simplified. Students can directly file a request for a book available at other member libraries through MALA Hub, a joint virtual platform, and they can then obtain the book from the lending library once the request is approved,” Ms. Lei says. “It’s much simpler for students and staff, as they don’t have to go through the library of their higher education institution for each inter-library loan request.”

The previous arrangement saw students and academic staff ask at their institution’s library to loan material from another library. If the request was granted, they had to collect an inter-library loan card from their institution to facilitate the loan.

“We will work on further improving this service in the future, so that students can borrow and return books from other member libraries at their home library,” Ms. Lei says. “But a lot of factors still have to be thoroughly discussed, including the book transfer process between libraries, and logistic costs.”

Joint training

Now that IFTM offers postgraduate programmes to complement its undergraduate offering, Ms. Lei believes demand from students at the Institute for the MALA inter-library loan service will rise.

“This service has, so far, been more popular among our faculty members than students because most of our students are undergraduates and our home-library resources can satisfy most of their needs,” she says. “In the future, as IFTM has more and more postgraduate students, this inter-library loan service, with its simplified procedures, will likely be more sought-after by students.”

MALA members have been working to improve the way they make exchanges and communicate, and have made arrangements for joint training sessions for their staff. That includes the Macau Academic Library Alliance Professional Lecture Series, at which academics renowned in their field share their wisdom with library staff and other people.

“The IFTM Library and other member libraries have also held various online training sessions on different topics for our students and academic staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, in support of their needs for online learning,” Ms. Lei says.

In addition, the IFTM Library has been a non-permanent member of the council of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Library Alliance since the inception of the alliance in 2017. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Library Alliance has 21 members in Guangdong, 9 in Hong Kong and 7 in Macao. Its purpose is to increase academic exchanges and cooperation.

Ms. Lei says the IFTM Library has taken part in several events held by the alliance, allowing its staff to learn from the experience of the staff of other libraries in the area.

“Looking ahead, we can search for more opportunities for cooperation with other libraries in the region through the contacts we have developed via the alliance, for example, for exchange of publications and joint personnel training,” Ms. Lei says.

International connections

The IFTM Library is the only library in Macao, Hong Kong and Chinese Taiwan to be part of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Depository Library Programme, and is the only academic library in all of Greater China in the programme. The purpose of the programme is to expand public access to reports and other publications produced by the UNWTO.

The IFTM Library is also an institutional member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), which has more than 1,500 members in the field of library and information services.

“Being an institutional member, the IFTM Library can stay tuned with the latest trends around the world in library services,” Ms. Lei says.

Since last year she has had a seat on the Standing Committee of the IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section, which further involves her in the activities of the federation and keeps her abreast of the latest knowledge and best practices.

“I have opportunities to work with talented professionals in the field, across the globe, to come up with different events and programmes,” Ms. Lei says. “This has helped develop my professional network and broaden my knowledge, making me stay inspired and motivated.”

What Ms. Lei learns by sitting on the committee can be applied in Macao, too. “I can also share these experiences and insights with my colleagues and other counterparts,” she says.

President’s Corner

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A new academic year has just started at IFTM. It however differs in many ways from previous ones. We are all navigating our way through uncertain times. COVID-19 has changed substantially the way we live, and is affecting the way teaching and study is conducted at higher education institutions. Read More

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