This year we are periodically shining a spotlight on the librarians and information specialists of NCC who are often behind the scenes working to support students, faculty, and staff. Whether you’re in the classroom to learn or teach or are conducting research near or far, these hardworking individuals make Japanese Studies possible.
This week we introduce Hiroko Hashitani, the Interlibrary Loan Supervisor and Lending Coordinator of the Marriott Library at University of Utah. Hashitani obtained her Master’s degree in Library Science in 2020 and though she is not yet focused specifically on Japanese collections, her work in making resources accessible at her university is essential. She recently began to serve as a liaison to University of Utah’s Asian Studies programs and Utah Asia Campus in Incheon, South Korea under the guidance of lead librarians. She also serves on the Graduate Student Services committee at her library and is working to become a full-fledged librarian.
In addition to her work at the library, Hashitani is very involved in Asian Studies-related outreach in her area. At the request of the subject expert/liaison librarian in Juvenile and Foreign Languages Literature, she has contributed to collection development efforts related to Japanese literature for K-12 readers, compiling lists of fiction and non-fiction books in collaboration with the library’s acquisitions team. She is now doing the same for young adult materials, investigating what works have been recently singled out for awards or been highly recommended by publishers, bookstores, and libraries in Japan. The purchased books will help support the faculty of interdisciplinary Asian Studies programs.
Hashitani also volunteers at events of the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, where she has a chance to meet Japanese and Japanese American members of the local community, including individuals who were once forcibly relocated to the Topaz internment camp in Delta, Utah during World War II. These and other encounters have made her more and more interested in learning more about the Japanese American history and experience in Utah, particularly in collaboration with the Topaz Museum. As a librarian, Hashitani has the opportunity to help identify and interpret Japanese materials donated to the library related to this history.
Hashitani hopes to continue facilitating knowledge sharing and resource development through library services and public outreach in her area. As a part of NCC, Hashitani has served on our Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Services team from March 2019 to December 2021, also using her skills to help broader communities of Japan scholars across North America.