The 39th Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies has been established at a university in the Czech Republic, with more set to be opened in Europe, the National Central Library (NCL) said yesterday.
NCL Director-General Tseng Shu-hsien (曾淑賢) and Masaryk University rector Martin Bares on Monday last week signed an agreement to set up the Taiwan center as part of the university’s Asia Studies Centre, the library said in a news release.
Since 2012, the library has been setting up such centers in other countries to share its resources with university partners and to promote Taiwanese academic resources on Taiwan and China studies.
There are 22 Taiwan Resource Centers in Europe, including the new one; five in the US; 11 across Asia (including Russia); and one in Australia, the library’s Web site showed.
Last year, four centers were set up in universities in Lithuania, France, Switzerland and Estonia.
The library is in talks to establish more centers in Europe this year, NCL international cooperation coordinator Leo Lin (林能山) said yesterday.
Typically, the library makes a list of recommended books on Chinese or Taiwanese studies for a partner university to choose; universities can also propose a list of pertinent publications that they need, he said.
The library would donate the required books within its budget, Lin said, adding that centers with a longer history would need fewer books each year.
The library respects the “academic freedom” of its collaborators, rather than jamming publications into their hands, Lin said.
Its partners can also send their publications on Chinese or Taiwanese studies to the library for preservation, he added.
The library regularly holds academic events and promotes mutual visits of librarians, but that would depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops, he said.
Representative to the Czech Republic Ke Liang-ruey (柯良叡) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Czech Republic science and technology division head Yen Hong-wei (顏宏偉) were also involved in the negotiation for the new center at Masaryk University.
Most foreigners learn Chinese using simplified characters, but the Taiwan centers would allow them to access publications that use traditional characters and other cultural assets of Taiwan, Yen said.
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