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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 83, August 2015

Special topic: CDNLAO meeting

Participating in the 23rd Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) and the 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL)

By Hiroko Ishiwatari, Director General of the Reader Services and Collections Department, National Diet Library


1. Introduction

I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the 23rd Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) and the 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL) in Bangkok, Thailand, as a proxy of Mr. Noritada Otaki, Librarian of the National Diet Library (NDL), Japan. In this article, I would like to share my experiences and thoughts about my stay in Thailand.

2. 23rd Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO)

On June 10, the 23rd CDNLAO Meeting hosted by the National Library of Thailand (NLT) was held at the Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21. In the Meeting, I met 31 delegates from 21 participating countries. Two special presentations were made on the subject of National Libraries for Sustainable Advancement by members of the National Library of Thailand (NLT).

< The participants of the 23rd CDNLAO Meeting >

Information on the activities of each library was also shared in the meeting. Of the NDLís latest activities, I mentioned the major renovation of the International Library of Childrenís Literature; plans to digitize documents on local history and geography, statistics, white papers, and other subjects; the Digitized Contents Transmission Service for Libraries in Japan; and the NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive. I also invited the delegates to write articles for upcoming issues of the CDNLAO Newsletter.

< At the venue of the 23rd CDNLAO Meeting >

Before the Meeting, the delegates visited the Thailand Creativity & Design Center (TCDC). The TCDC comprises two galleries and a library possessing 35,000 materials. Many materials from various countries filled the stacks of the library. There is a permanent exhibition entitled What is design?, where I found information from different countries including Japan.

< At the Thailand Creativity & Design Center (TCDC) >

On the night of June 10, we attended a reception, where we enjoyed performances of traditional Thai dance. There was also talk about the CDNLAO Newsletter, which the NDL edits and distributes on behalf of the CDNLAO community.

< At the reception party on June 10 >

More information on the meeting including the list of participants and Annual Reports of each country could be found below.

3. 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL)

On June 11, I attended with the other delegates the opening ceremony and general conference of the 16th CONSAL at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC). The event began with opening remarks by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, after which were three keynote sessions by Ms. Sinikka Sipilš, President of The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA); Mr. Jakkrit Srivali, Director-General of Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand; and Ms. Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General of the National Library of Australia. There were also presentations by delegates from ten ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

< At the venue of the 16th CONSAL >

On June 12, various Parallel Sessions were held at the venue. I attended the sixth session on Conservation and Preservation, and listened to presentations from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Viet Nam, which introduced the efforts made in each country to preserve cultural heritage and library materials.

On June 13, I took part in the Library and Cultural Visit Programs. I visited, with other librarians, sites such as the Wat Ratchanadaram (Temple of Brazen Buddhist Mandapa), Loha Prasat Temple, and Wat Sraket Ratchaworamahawihan (The Golden Mount Temple). Buddhist scripture is available at the Loha Prasat Temple. Wat Saket Ratchaworamahawihan is a historical landmark, built during the reign of the kings of Ayutthaya. The Golden Mount lies at the top of a stairway with 344 steps, from which you can enjoy a sweeping panorama of the city of Bangkok.

< Library and Cultural Visit >

4. Visit to the National Library of Thailand (NLT)

I visited the NLT on June 13. After watching an introductory video of the Library, I was taken on a guided tour by Ms. Nawarat Panyangam, Head of Reference Service Section. The NLT was established in 1905 by H.M. King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. The present library building was constructed in 1966, and features beautiful Thai style architecture.

At the Ancient Manuscripts Service Group on the fourth floor of Building 2, Ms. Em-orn Chawsuan gave me a lecture on exhibited materials such as palm leaves and inscriptions. Next to the reading room is a glass-sided preservation room with strictly controlled temperature and humidity. At the Rare Book Service on the third floor, I learned about preservation activities at the NLT, such as digitization and reproduction. There were quite a number of students in the Thesis and Research Service on the second floor, and the Current Periodicals and Newspapers Service on the first floor of Building 1 was full with users.

< The National Library of Thailand >

5. Conclusion

One thing I learned from participating in the CDNLAO and CONSAL is that every library copes with the surrounding environment in accordance with its own individual characteristics and capabilities. In terms of preservation and conservation, I saw for myself that there is no single method and that the approach must be adapted to the target, which could be oral traditions, palm leaves, or damaged materials. I was moved by how librarians from different backgrounds are able to stimulate each otherís professional development by sharing their knowledge and experiences to sustain the advancement of libraries.

On visiting the NLT, I could feel the commitment of the staff members to passing on to future generations these collections from more than 1,300 years ago as well as to providing patrons with a comfortable environment in which to access a wide variety of library materials. I am convinced that the NDL must continue to improve itself by learning from the efforts and experiences of other libraries throughout Asia and Oceania.

These events were a wonderful opportunity for me to meet directly with librarians from various backgrounds and to learn about their countries. On behalf of the NDL, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the staff of the NLT, who hosted such wonderful meetings and generously arranged a library tour for me, and everyone who I met during my stay at Thailand.

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