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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 83, August 2015


ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum (2015)

By MYA OO, Director of the National Library of Myanmar

On 25th May 2015, the ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum was held at the Taw Win Garden Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. This Forum was organized by the National Secretariat of ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, Myanmar with the support of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

< Participants of the ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum (2015) >

As a Chair of ASEAN Social Culture Community, the Ministry of Culture, Myanmar organised the ASEAN Library Development Forum 2014 with the theme of "Libraries for Society" at Mingala Thiri Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw from 3 to 4 February 2014. The ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum was a follow-up activity expected to provide library professionals in the ASEAN region with the opportunity to learn the experience of and draw inspiration from Japanese regional and international library professionals.

The Forum was held for two days from 25 to 26 May 2015. To the ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum, 32 overseas participants including librarians and library professionals from ASEAN Member States, officials from the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information of each ASEAN countries, key speakers from Asia and Oceania as well as 68 local librarians from various libraries attended and discussed the subjects.

At the Opening Ceremony, Union Minister for Culture H.E. U Aye Myint Kyu and Deputy Minister U Than Swe delivered Opening Speech and Welcome Remarks respectively. Union Minister mentioned that libraries were the best focal points for preserving the resources, creating the digital contents, providing and maintaining the sustainable access to, these valuable resources by collaboration with other stakeholders. He also encouraged realizing the great potential and achieving goals of library professionals to transform the nations into knowledge society by taking good advantage of emerging technology.

The theme of the Forum is "Libraries for Society toward the Digital Library Environment." In ASEAN region, developing countries are facing the challenges of creating e-resources and e-learning through online spaces. It is important for libraries to provide authentic information to people who need it in time. New technologies help libraries improve their functions and services in expanding digital environment. Library professionals need not only to upgrade their skills and expertise to deal with digital materials of the library but also to help bring digital literacy to the communities. Key challenges of library professionals include the management of digital contents that are accessible to users, digital collection's preservation, and legal platform to make digital collections and services accessible to users in the growing digital world.

The objectives of the Forum are 1) to exchange experiences, knowledge, issues and challenges on library system in the ASEAN region; 2) to seek out cooperative programmes between ASEAN and Japan for professional development, digital collections preservation and community-based library activities, collection of digital documentary heritage, which includes online and Internet publications, websites, textual documents, images and audio-visual recording, must be preserved for use in the future; and 3) to raise opportunities for ASEAN countriesí common wish of working together to enhance regional cooperation in global information environment including community-based library activities.

In this regard, the Forum focused on three main topics: a) Library services towards digital environment; b) Preservation of library materials; and c) Digital literacy for library professionals.
During the Forum, librarians from ASEAN Member States presented the current situation of their libraries in the digital age. Some ASEAN countries have advanced in technology to transform the digital library environment and others have been partially transforming to digital libraries. We have learned knowledge and experiences from 9 speakers from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Myanmar.

There were 4 speakers: Dr. Daniel G. Doner from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; Dr. Liz Curach, University Librarian (Emeritus), University of Western Sydney; Ms. Ah Win, Vice-President, Myanmar Library Association; and Mdm Hajbee binte Abu Bakar, Assistant Director, Library Services Management, NLB, Singapore provided lectures on Digital Literacy for Library Professionals topic.

< Dr. Liz Curach, Mdm Hajbeebinte Abu Bakar, Dr. Daniel G. Doner and Ms. Ah Win >

Dr. Thaw Kaung, former Chief Librarian of Universitiesí Central Library and Patron of Myanmar Library Association; and Mr. Akio YASUE, Expert on Preservation, former Deputy Librarian of National Diet Library, Japan shared the experiences on Preservation of Library Materials. They focused on the importance of preservation and conservation and transformation from traditional methods to modern digital conservation.

< Mr. Akio YASUE and Dr. Thaw Kaung >

For the Library Services towards Digital Environment topic, Prof. Dr. Takashi NAGATSUKA, Tsurumi University, Japan presented about A Critical Role of Academic Advisory Service in a part of the Learning Commons Facility. Ms. Tanya R. Torres, MLS/MPP, USA and Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung, Executive Director, Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation contributed to the participants on sources of information access, expended library customer services and community-based activities. They shared their experience for providing services of digital resources along with the copyright.

< Dr. Takashi NAGATSUKA, Ms. Tanya R. Torres and Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung >

Apart from that, representatives from ASEAN Secretariat Office shared the knowledge on programmes and activities on cultural sector under the ASEAN-Japan cooperation programme. They shared the fruitful information of the funding sources and kinds of activities to be developed for library and information field to the participants.

On 25 May, Deputy Minister for Culture H.E. U Than Swe invited the forum participants to the Welcome Reception. Participants visited to the National Museum and Branch Library of National Library as well as Shwe Dagon Pagoda in the afternoon of 26 May.

The ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum is one of the ASEAN Plus Three project funded by the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund by the Japanese Government. The National Secretariat of ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, Myanmar expressed her sincere thanks to Japanese Government for supporting ASEAN to the encouragement and improvement of libraries to be proud of knowledge banks for society.

For two days, national and international experts learned from each other, shared new result-oriented idea and experience and worked together with mutual collaboration among the ASEAN countries. As the forum was designed to cover the topics of common interest in the ASEAN region, the ASEAN-Japan Library Development Forum brought the result of the assessment needs, opening more doors for the opportunities, sharing the best practices and solution for the challenges. Through the collaborations, libraries and librarians in the Asia and Oceania realize their great potential and achieve their goals to transform their nations into knowledge society by taking good advantage of emerging technology.

< Participants at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda >

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