The Birth of the Committee on East Asian Libraries

It is appropriate to mention at this point the creation of the Committee on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) and the vital role it played in the development of East Asian libraries in North America. Before 1967 there was no national organization of East Asian libraries. All developmental activities were carried out under the name of committees. The above-mentioned CALRFE came close to being a quasi-national organization, but in spite of its many accomplishments, CALRFE operated without a charter setting forth its functions, membership requirements, or voting procedures. It was run almost single-handedly by a chairperson, appointed by the Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), who was also responsible for putting out a newsletter. The arrangement was not satisfactory, especially when the number of East Asian libraries was increasing rapidly. So, in 1963 CALRFE was reorganized with an Executive Group of seven members, also appointed by the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), in addition to the chairperson.[1] At the CALRFE annual meeting in 1967 East Asian libraries approved a set of Procedures proposed by the new Executive Group setting forth CALRFE's objectives, functions, and operating procedures, and it was at this time the name Committee on American Library Resources on the Far East (CALRFE) was changed to Committee on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS)[2] The Procedures became the basic operating document for CEAL. It was amended several times later, most significantly in 1980 by the requirement that all officers of CEAL, including the chair, members of the Executive Group as well as the chairs of the subcommittees be elected rather than appointed by AAS. It was a change welcomed by all East Asian libraries, and it has served the Easy Asian library community well over the years. In 1995 the name Committee on Ease Asian Libraries was changed to Council on East Asian Libraries (still known as CEAL) and it remained under the Association for Asian Studies.[3]

  • [1] Tsuen-Hsuin Tsien T-H “Report of CALRFE Programs and Activities for 1966–1967,” Library Resources on East Asia: Reports and Working Papers for the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Committee on American Library Resources on the Far East…p. 28
  • [2] Edwin G. Beal, Jr., “The Committee on East Asian Libraries: A Brief History,” Committee on East Asian Libraries Newsletter, no. 41 (Sept. 1973), p. 48. For the full text of the Procedures, see Committee on East Asian Libraries Newsletter, no 40 (June 1973), pp. 35–37, reprinted in no. 49 (Mar. 1976), pp. 53–54
  • [3] A report on the discussion of the revised Procedures before its adoption at the CEAL Plenary Session, held in Washington, D.C. is available in the Committee on East Asian Libraries Bulletin, no. 82 (June 1980), p. 3. The full text of the Procedures, as amended in 1984, is reproduced in Committee on East Asian Libraries Bulletin, no. 74 (June 1984), pp. 81–83
 
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