Skip navigation


CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 84, December 2015

Special topic: Reader Services

Reader Services at the NDL: Taking Tokyo Main Library as an example

By National Diet Library, Japan


1. Introduction

The National Diet Library (NDL) consists of three main facilities: the Tokyo Main Library, the Kansai-kan (located in Kyoto), and the International Library of Children’s Literature (located in Ueno, Tokyo). On-site reader services including reading and photoduplication services are provided at each of the facilities, as well as its remote services.

In this article, we will introduce the reader services which the NDL provides in its library premises, taking the Tokyo Main Library as an example.

2. Using the Library: User Registration and Entry

At the NDL, library usage is free for anybody eighteen years of age or older, regardless of their nationality or residence. On average, approximately 1,900 patrons visit the Tokyo Main Library per day (as of FY2014).

< Visitors Entrances of the Tokyo Main Library: Main Building (Left), Annex (Right) >

However, the NDL provides its full service only to those who have registered themselves and obtained a Registered-User Card. This procedure can be done either at the library premises (Tokyo Main Library or the Kansai-kan) or by postal mail. Identification documents are required in both ways. Details on application for registration are available from the below link.

< Registered-User Card >

Users who visit the Tokyo Main Library are requested to deposit baggage (17 x 25 cm or larger, including briefcases, shopping bags, or envelopes) in a locker and carry valuables, notebooks, or other necessary items in a transparent bag. Users are permitted to bring in their own computer, tablet device, or mobile phone and use it in the Library. There are seats designed for device use which are fitted with power outlets. Free Wi-Fi is available for Internet access, but users are not able to use their own devices to access the NDL network.

3. Using Paper Materials: Closed-stack System and Onsite User Service

The NDL operates under a closed-stack system, in which most of the library materials are stored in stacks, where users may not access freely. Materials available on open shelves are limited to reference materials provided in the nine Special Materials Rooms, each specialized in a specific topic such as humanities, map, newspaper, parliamentary documents and official publications, business, science and technology, etc.

To read materials stored in the closed stacks, users must search for and request the materials require from the NDL-OPAC on a user terminal in the Library.

< User terminals in the Hall (Main Building) >

There are about 340 terminals in the Tokyo Main Library. Searching, requesting materials, creating photoduplication application forms, and checking application status are available. Electronic Resources Service is also available by using the terminal.

Terminals are activated by setting a Registered-User Card in the card holder.

< User terminal >

The menu will be displayed on the screen.

< The main menu of the NDL’s Online User Service system (KSS) >

Requests for library materials inside of the closed-stacks can be made by using the NDL-OPAC (from the top-left button labeled “Online Catalog (NDL-OPAC)”).
The Tokyo Main Library has three reading rooms for users to browse paper materials. Electrical outlets are available for using devices in Reading Room 1 and Annex Reading Room. In Reading Room 2, use of electrical equipment is not permitted.

< Reading Room >

Users cannot copy library materials by themselves for the preservation of materials. To have a material photocopied, users must request using the appropriate form from a user terminal. Users submit a photoduplication request form together with the materials they wish to have copied to the Copying Center. The service is performed in accordance with the provisions of the Japanese Copyright Law, and is provided for a fee.

< Photoduplication request form >

< Copying Center (Main Building) >

4. Using Electronic Resources

The NDL provides reading and printout services for electronic resources such as electronic journals and materials digitized by the NDL in the Tokyo Main Library.

These electronic resources are accessible from the same terminals used to request paper materials from the top-center button labeled “Access To e-Resources.”

Shown in the table below is the number of digitized materials available via the Internet or at the NDL premises (as of August 2015).

Material type Number of contents 1
Available via the Internet Available only at the NDL 2 Total
Books 350,000 550,000 900,000
Periodicals 9,000 1,230,000 1,235,000
Rare Books and Old Materials 70,000 20,000 90,000
Doctoral Dissertations 15,000 125,000 140,000
Official Gazettes 20,000 - 20,000
Modern Japanese Political History Materials 300 - 300
Materials on the Allied Occupation of Japan 30,000 1,000 30,000
The Gordon W. Prange Collection - 20,000 20,000
Historical Recordings Collection 1,000 48,000 50,000
Science Film - 300 300
Scripts 2 33 35
Newspapers 6 - 6
Total 490,000 1,995,000 2,485,000

1. This figure is the round number of items the NDL has been providing.
2. The number includes items which are also accessible in the partner libraries.

Access to the Internet is also available for research purposes, but the printout service is not available for Internet contents.

The NDL will continue to make efforts to further improve our services.

Copyright (C) 2015 National Diet Library, Japan