Skip navigation


CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 86, May 2016

Special topic: CDNLAO meeting

Participating in the 24th CDNLAO Meeting

By Shihoko Yokota, Branch Libraries and Cooperation Division, Administrative Department, National Diet Library

< The National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa in Maori) >


1. Introduction

In March 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 24th Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) which took place in Wellington, New Zealand. As a member of the Editorial Office of the CDNLAO Newsletter, I accompanied Mr. Kaoru Omagari, Director General of the Acquisitions and Bibliography Department, who was a proxy of Mr. Noritada Otaki, at that time the Librarian of the National Diet Library (NDL), Japan.

In this report, I would like to introduce my experience of participating in this conference and visiting the NLNZ for the first time. The summary of the conference itself is available in the article written by NLNZ.

2. Tuesday, March 8: Arrival and Welcome

After we arrived in Wellington on March 8 in the afternoon, we headed to the main venue of the conference, the NLNZ. The library building was refurbished in 2012, and everything was sparkling new and clean. On the same day in the evening, we were welcomed by the staff members of the NLNZ and the Archives New Zealand (Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga in Maori) in the traditional Maori style.

< Members of the two institutions singing welcome for the CDNLAO participants >

3. Wednesday, March 9 – Day 1: Business Meeting and Library Tour

The CDNLAO Meeting was opened by a welcome address from the Honourable Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs, and an opening address from Mr. Bill Macnaught, Chair of the CDNLAO and National Librarian of New Zealand. Participating in the Meeting were 25 delegates from 17 countries as well as an observer from the UNESCO Apia Office for the Pacific States.

During the business meeting, I had the chance to share the latest news about the CDNLAO Website and Newsletter and to ask the participants to assign at least one editorial correspondent from each country. I was gratified to be able to share information with participants whom I had never met in person before, and hope this opportunity will contribute to facilitating communication between the Asia and Oceania regions.

After the business meeting was adjourned, we had a chance to participate in a guided tour of the NLNZ. Staff members showed and explained the stacks, preservation office, studios for digitizing audio-visual materials, public space (exhibitions and, reading area, and rare materials related to each participating country.

3.1. Guided tour of the NLNZ

Each stack room holding different types of materials was kept at a different fixed temperature. For example, stack rooms for paper materials were maintained at 14 degrees Celsius, and those for negative films were kept at 29 degrees below zero. The humidity level was kept between 44% and 55%. In order to adhere to these standards, the NLNZ installed a system in which the electricity supply would not be suspended even during blackouts. The paper materials were kept in boxes, so that labels need not be affixed directly.

Damaged materials which were brought to the NLNZ were repaired in the preservation office. Staff members specialized in each type of materials (books, manuscripts, photos, artworks, etc.) were working in the office. For repairing manuscripts, a kind of washi (Japanese paper) called tengujoshi was used. This was a surprising fact for me, because this paper used here in Wellington was exactly the same kind used by the Preservation Division of the NDL in Tokyo.

There were also studios for playing, recording, and digitizing audio-visual materials. At this studio, you could digitize four cassette tapes at one time.

< Stacks >

< Preservation office >

The ground floor was open for everyone including non-registered users. By using the “Lifelines table” near the entrance, users could discover photos, newspaper articles, movies, etc. related to their roots. The information counter was shaped like a canoe, which suggests that visitors to the NLNZ are setting out on a journey to the information they are in search of.

There was also space for exhibitions in the public area. An exhibition entitled “Unfolding the Map” was being held at the time of the conference, and we were able to see the oldest map that shows New Zealand. There was also a section where a large map of the world was set on a table for visitors to mark their home country using a pin. We could see at a glance that the NLNZ received visitors from all over the world.

There was a public work space adjacent to a café called the “,” where computers (both Windows and Mac) and facilities such as 3D printers are available free of charge.

Another feature of the public area was a foyer with a large art panel illustrating the Maori world creation myth. In the myth, the god of forests and birds brings light in to the world, by separating their parents, the god of sky and earth. Thus, the ceiling at the NLNZ is black and the walls are white, thereby representing darkness and light.

< “Unfolding the Map” >

< Panel illustrating the Maori myth >

On the second floor was a reading room for registered users. Library materials for looking up personal heritage, materials related to Maori, Oceania collections, photograph collections, etc. were freely available on the open shelves.

At another exhibition entitled “A Worm’s Eye View,” sketches by soldiers who fought in the front line of World War I were exhibited.

We also had a chance to listen to explanations on rare collections held by the NLNZ related to each participant’s home country.

< Reading Room >

< Part of the rare collections of the Asia and Oceania region >

The tour was followed by a question and answer session, and an official reception was hosted by the NLNZ at night, to which members of the diplomatic corps and senior representatives of the Department of Internal Affairs were also invited.

4. Thursday, March 10 – Day 2: Presentations and Wellington City Library

On March 10, special presentations were made by participants from five countries: Ms. Ai Cheng Tay, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Library Board of Singapore; Dr. Lim Wonsun, Chief Executive of the National Library of Korea; Ms. Odile Urirau, Acting Director of the National Library of the Cook Islands; Mr. Kakaito Kasi, Director General of the Papua New Guinea Office of Libraries and Archives; and Ms. Merewalesi Vueti, Director of the Library Services of Fiji.

All of the presentations were thought-provoking in their own ways. The presentation from Singapore suggested possibilities of further enhancement of communication and collaboration among libraries in the Asia and Oceania region. Korea’s engagement in the nationwide project for stimulating donations to school and military libraries through the coordination of online book store systems and tax deduction strongly held the attention of the audience. The introduction on the National Library of the Cook Islands and the events held there warmed our hearts, while breaking news on the cyclone which had struck Fiji conveyed the serious damage which libraries in Fiji are facing at the moment, and Papua New Guinea’s passion to overcome obstacles encouraged all the audience. The presentation files are to be made available on the conference website.

< Presentation made at the CDNLAO Meeting >

After a panel discussion in which feedback came from the participants and topics to be discussed in the final day’s workshops, we attended another reception at the Wellington City Library, hosted by the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA). The Wellington City Library was a large-scale, modernized library where its users seemed to feel comfort in reading and studying.

< Wellington City Library >

5. Friday, March 11– Day 3: Workshops and National Museum of New Zealand

On March 11, three concurrent workshops on topics of common interest were held. The NDL participated in the copyright matters group, and shared information with the national libraries of China, Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. The conference was then concluded by a summary made by Mr. Winston Roberts of the NLNZ, and the host of the next conference was announced to be the National Library of China.

As the last item on the agenda, we visited the National Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa in Maori). Here, we learned about the history and culture of the people living in New Zealand, as well as its diverse and unique nature. There was also a large exhibition entitled “Gallipoli: The scale of our war” which illustrated the experiences of New Zealanders who fought in World War I.

< National Museum of New Zealand >

5.1. New Zealand Parliamentary Library

After all the programs scheduled for CDNLAO were over, we visited the New Zealand Parliamentary Library, since the NDL belongs to the parliament of Japan, providing reference services for the parliament members. We learned about how the changes in parliamentary and electoral systems affected the roles of the library, and that the NDL and our counterpart have many aspects of library services in common.

< Wellington City Library >

6. Conclusion

Attending the CDNLAO conference for the first time has been a memorable experience for me. The opportunity of directly meeting with members of the CDNLAO community has inspired me to rethink what the NDL can do to further fulfill its role as the administrator of the CDNLAO website and newsletter. Finally, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the staff members of NLNZ for hosting a wonderful conference, and everyone I met in Wellington.

< The city of Wellington seen from the National Museum of New Zealand >

Copyright (C) 2016 National Diet Library