"Jim Cheng is a librarian of outstanding experience and accomplishment who brings to Starr a breadth of vision and a depth of expertise that will build on the distinguished tenure of Amy Heinrich," said Jim Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia. Heinrich retired as Director of the Starr Library in December 2008, after more than 18 years of service.
Cheng has a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, an M.A. in Comparative Literature and an M.L.S. in Library & Information Science from University of Washington, Seattle. He joined the International Relations and Pacific Studies Library/East Asia Collection at University of California, San Diego as Director in 2002. Prior to that Cheng has held librarian positions at the University of Iowa, New York University, and the University of Washington. In 2008 Cheng was named a "Mover and Shaker" by Library Journal for his innovative work in building the UCSD Libraries' Asian film collection, film festival and symposium series. He received a 2009/2010 Fulbright Scholar Research Award to conduct research to complete his book, An Annotated Bibliography for Taiwan Film Studies.
"It is with great excitement that I accept the position as Director of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library and I am honored to be able to work with my new colleagues at Columbia," said Cheng.
As Director of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Cheng will oversee 22 staff and one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with over 840,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, and over 6,500 periodical titles. The collection, established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history. The C. V. Starr East Asian Library owns many rare and unique materials non-circulating materials, including valuable art folios and special collections.
Since 1902, the University has also demonstrated leadership in the field of East Asian studies, with the creation of one of the first departments in the country, and, in the postwar period, of the first core curriculum in East Asian studies, thanks to the work of professors such as Wm. Theodore de Bary and Donald Keene. Today there are more than 70 Columbia faculty members working in this area, and more than 20 percent of all undergraduates at Columbia and Barnard enroll in at least one course about East Asia. Students and scholars from all over the New York metropolitan area and the world have come to rely on the C. V. Starr East Asian Library for their research, and in the last decade circulation of books at the Library has increased by 135 percent. The Library’s website is located at: http://library.columbia.edu/indiv/eastasian.html