Special thanks to the APBSLG (SG) group for sponsoring the award for 2019.
If you wish to be commended for your achievements like Cheng Ean, look out for our call in November 2020!
Lee Cheng Ean has been in the library profession for 38 years. Her strong passion for the profession drove her to play a key and active role to reposition libraries, particularly academic libraries, and librarians in advancing scholarship and supporting research and education in her various capacities as the University Librarian of NUS (since 2014), President of LAS (2013-2015), Chair of Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance Secretariat (2019-2021), Chair of the Singapore Alliance of University Libraries (2019), a member of the OA Dialogue Taskforce (National Research Foundation (2019-2020), member of library advisory boards of several publishers, and a prominent and inspiring presenter at many national and international library conferences.
To support NUS’s vision in transforming lives through education and impactful research, she advocates a strong partnership between librarians, faculty, and researchers. With a strong belief that librarians have to reform their roles in order to remain relevant to teaching, learning, and research activities of the community they serve, she set-up a Technology-Enhanced-Learning (TEL) Imaginarium in NUS Libraries, in collaboration with the university administrators, making it the first library in Singapore with such space and facility. This opened up wide opportunities for her librarians to learn new skillsets and competencies including developing apps as they collaborated with faculty and researchers. By conducting the workshops and creating exciting thematic games to promote the use of such devices, the librarians’ expanded the scope of teaching digital literacy while at the same time making the library a hotbed for creative learning.
One of her notable achievements include the NUS Libraries’ digitisation programme of rare and special materials that have research and heritage value for Singapore studies which were no longer copyrighted. The digitised collections, brought together in one stop called Digital Gems, were launched last year for open access to the global community.
As a strong champion of collaboration among libraries, in 2019, she led the formation of the Singapore Alliance of University Libraries (SAUL) among six autonomous university libraries in Singapore for deeper collaboration by complementing rather than competing with each other. She is currently the Chair of SAULeres, the E-resources sub-committee committed to collective negotiations with publishers for favourable agreements on access and use of E-resources among the universities.
Internationally, Cheng Ean has actively participated in the annual and strategic meetings organised by the Libraries of ASEAN University Network (AUNILO) and providing advice and sharing knowledge on the initiatives of NUS Libraries.
As a passionate and a strong believer in staff training and development, in 2014, she collaborated with the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at NTU to introduce the LAS Executive Library Management Programme (ELMP) that provided certified basic training on library management for executives without library qualifications to work in libraries. In the same year, with donations from the Singapore National Committee, her team launched the LAS WLIC Grant aimed at providing LAS members with financial support and opportunities to learn and network by attending IFLA World Library and Information Congress or Satellite Meetings. In 2015, Cheng Ean initiated and organised the first ACRL immersion programme for academic librarians in Singapore. The programme on information literacy benefited many librarians from NUS, Yale-NUS, NTU, and SMU.
As a champion of service excellence and process improvement, Cheng Ean led many initiatives to improve work processes in NUS Libraries. She introduced process improvement using Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and Service Design concepts to NUS Libraries and the 10 LSS teams won accolades in the University, at the International Convention on QC Circles, and the ASQ World Conference and Quality Improvement. In addition, as the chair of the NUS Library Service Excellence Committee, she led NUS Libraries to win the Outstanding Award for Service Excellence in the NUS Service Class (NUSSC) in 2010, making the team the first to attain such Award at the University.
To many of us, she is a people developer, mentor, coach, and a true inspiration. In appreciation of her outstanding contributions to her organisation and to the profession at both a national and international level, LAS takes great pride to present the 2019 LAS – APBSLG (SG) Professional Service Award to Cheng Ean.