UC Berkeley librarian, a ‘home away from home’ for Chinese scholars, wins national award

Jianye He at the library
 Jianye He, librarian for Chinese collections, talks to guests about an exhibit at the C. V. Starr East Asian Library. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

For Chinese scholars, she’s a “home away from home,” providing not only research help, but also emotional support.

Along with her deep knowledge and her knack for tracking down obscure materials, Jianye He is known for her warmth, deftly fielding reference questions and dispensing information to visiting scholars on everything from living in the United States to traveling during the pandemic.

Now, to recognize her excellence in supporting teaching and learning, the American Library Association is honoring He, librarian for Chinese collections at UC Berkeley’s C. V. Starr East Asian Library, with the I Love My Librarian Award.

“We are in constant awe at her knowledge of scholarly trends, her accessibility and resourcefulness in locating materials difficult to find not only in the U.S., but even in China,” writes Paulina Hartono, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Berkeley and one of the people who nominated He for the award. “Her vigorous research agenda and her boundless energy have not only left their mark on our internationally renowned research collection — she has also helped make us better scholars and a more closely knit community.”

“She is the perfect face of Berkeley to the world, thinking for people as well as with them, devoting herself with incredible generosity and quick-wittedness to their work,” says Michael Nylan, a Berkeley history professor, in supporting He’s nomination.

He is one of 10 librarians receiving the award. She was picked from 1,865 nominations from around the country.

Learn more about the award and the winners, and find out how to attend the Jan. 23 award ceremony.