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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 86, May 2016

Special topic: CDNLAO meeting

Hosting the 24th Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO)

By Winston Roberts, Senior Advisor, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

On 8-11 March 2016, the Conference of Directors of National Libraries of Asia and Oceania (CDNL-AO) held its annual meeting in New Zealand for the first time, with 25 delegates from 17 national libraries throughout the region attending meetings and events at the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ), in Wellington. There was strong representation from the South Pacific national libraries.

The countries whose national libraries were represented were: Australia, China, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Thailand and Viet Nam. Brunei, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tuvalu sent advice that they were unable to attend.

This 24th meeting was officially opened on Wednesday 8 March by the Minister responsible for the National Library, Hon Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs. The Minister welcomed all the delegates and expressed his hope that they would have the opportunity to learn something of New Zealand and its history during their brief stay in Wellington. He emphasised the importance of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi in shaping modern New Zealand society, and the position of the indigenous Maori people within the national community.
The Minister highlighted the digital preservation challenge facing all national libraries, and the need to face this challenge together. He encouraged delegates to share their ideas and discoveries in the sessions and workshops during the CDNL-AO meeting, to find workable solutions to preserving the rapidly growing global digital record.

< Welcome address by Hon Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs >

The National Librarian, Bill Macnaught, who chaired the meeting, addressed the delegates on the theme of ‘Adding value and driving innovation through international cooperation’. He gave as an illustration the work the NLNZ has been doing around positioning the National Library for the future (that is, to 2030), analysing the need for certain services, consulting with stakeholders, and drawing conclusions about the major strategic responses to meet the needs identified. These responses are the initiatives entitled ‘One Knowledge Network’, ‘Inspiring Hearts and Minds’ and ‘Creating a Nation of Readers’. Mr Macnaught observed that one key element in planning was to engage with stakeholders, and government decision-makers in particular. He noted that such engagement with decision-makers would be essential for all national libraries. He spoke of the need for a coherent national documentary heritage strategy in each country.

< Opening Address by Mr. Bill Macnaught, National Librarian of New Zealand >

< Left to right: Madam Nafisah Ahmad, Director General of the National Library of Malaysia, Dr. Lim Wonsun, Chief Executive of the National Library of Korea, and Mrs Kieu Thuy Nga, Director of the National Library of Viet Nam >

The short session on official business of CDNL-AO included a presentation on communication within CDNL-AO through the website and Newsletter, and a discussion on the venues of future meetings. As it had not been possible to get confirmation of the previously announced venue for 2017, the meeting agreed that the 25th meeting would be held at the National Library of China in 2017. It also accepted confirmation of the offer from the National Library of Myanmar to host the 2018 meeting.

The business session was followed by a detailed guided tour of the NLNZ and a professional seminar over two days. Various topics were addressed in presentations and workshops during the seminar, including the following high-level themes:

  • The need for national libraries to show leadership within the information, library and culture sectors at national level, but in a consultative and collaborative manner
  • The need to work for the development of legislation which facilitates the work of libraries (for example, in the area of copyright)
  • The need to raise awareness of the role of national libraries in support of education
  • The need to maintain the skills of national library staff at a high level, and to maintain the reputation of national libraries as trusted national institutions
  • The value of regular circulation of information among members of the community of national libraries, and the potential to increase cooperation between national libraries on the one hand and the wider professional sector internationally on the other hand
  • In particular, the potential for more libraries in the region to engage with IFLA programs and major policy initiatives (for example, by communication with the IFLA Regional Office in Singapore)

It was noted that there would be value in collaboration to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) up to 2030. It was also noted that ASEAN will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, and there would be opportunities for national libraries to get involved in activities related to this anniversary.

< Left to right: Ms Aterina Samasoni-Pele, UNESCO, Apia Office for the Pacific States,
Ms. Margaret Talasasa, Director of the National Library of the Solomon Islands,
Ms. Merewalesi Vakarewa Vueti, Director of the Library Services of Fiji,
Ms Odile Urirau, Acting Director of the Cook Islands National Library,
Mr, Kakaito Kasi, Director General of the National Library and Archive Service of Papua New Guinea,
Mr Togi Tunupopo, University Librarian of the National University of Samoa,
and Mr João Fátima da Cruz, Director of the Secretariat of State for Arts and Culture, Timor Leste >

Various presentations were made on urgent issues for developing countries, and members noted that countries which had suffered natural disasters, in the Pacific in particular, need resources for everything: their national libraries have precious collections vulnerable to climate effects, they need support and advice for buildings, advocacy, training, rebuilding collections, etc. It was suggested and agreed that members in a position to help could do so by engaging in a ‘partnership for aid’, under the auspices of CDNL-AO. Those members in need of assistance would send specific advice on their needs.

After the Wednesday sessions, the NLNZ hosted an official welcome reception for the delegates and representatives of the diplomatic corps from some of the participating countries.

After the Thursday sessions, the delegates attended a library sector reception hosted by LIANZA (the main professional library association of New Zealand) and Wellington City Library. Delegates were able to meet senior leaders of the profession in New Zealand, including educators, and a cohort of new young leaders.

The program concluded on Friday 11 March with a guided tour of highlights of the national museum Te Papa.

Copyright (C) 2016 National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa