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2018-1-4 New Year’s Greetings

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

This year, the National Diet Library celebrates its 70th anniversary. On this memorable occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the support and cooperation we have received to this day.

The National Diet Library was established in 1948 as the legislative research library of the National Diet of Japan. Its purpose is elucidated in the preamble of the National Diet Library Law as follows:
"The National Diet Library is hereby established as a result of the firm conviction that truth makes us free and with the object of contributing to international peace and the democratization of Japan as promised in our Constitution."
Bearing in mind this statement as the raison d'être of the National Diet Library, we will continue our efforts to enhance our services.

Yet the environment in which the National Diet Library operates has changed dramatically during these first 70 years of our existence. In recent years, especially, the advance of information technology has brought about the creation of a prodigious volume of digital information. And this has had a tremendous impact on the diverse formats in which library materials are circulated. At the same time, these drastic changes in how information can be circulated is one factor in the ongoing transformation of social structures, which we now see occurring on a global scale. It is true that these changes make the acquisition, preservation, cataloging, and distribution of information resources all the more challenging. But, looking back on the earliest days of the National Diet Library also reminds us that our efforts in preserving Japan's intellectual heritage are a significant contribution to the development of a prosperous future.

The National Diet Library's Midterm Vision: Universal Access 2020 was implemented in 2017 for the express purpose of strengthening our infrastructure to meet the challenges that we are likely to be facing during the years leading up to our 100th anniversary. Our goal is the creation of an infrastructure that enables us not only to preserve library materials but to provide people in Japan and around the world with access to them, irrespective of limitations in time or space.
In January, we launched a new system called the National Diet Library Online Search and Request Service, or NDL Online for short.
The single most important goal of the development of this new system was to provide access to our various online services via a single portal that our patrons will find both easy to use and comprehensive in scope.

We will be celebrating our 70th anniversary with a number of events, including exhibitions in the autumn at both the Tokyo Main Library and the Kansai-kan, in which we will display some of the unique collections of library materials that we have acquired since the founding of the National Diet Library.
Also turning 70 this year are the Legal Deposit system and the Branch Library system. We are planning symposiums on these systems featuring experts invited from both Japan and abroad to celebrate the significance of both systems.
We will also host in 2018 an international conference for the Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific.
It is our earnest desire that these events present our activities in a new light, thereby enhancing appreciation of the scope of our activities while at the same time serving as an opportunity to deepen understanding of and involvement in the National Diet Library's diverse range of services.

All of us at the National Diet Library, which was founded 70 years ago under noble principles, will steadily strive to fulfill its mission.
In doing so, we look forward to and very much appreciate your continued support and encouragement.

January 2018

Sawako Hanyu, Ph.D.
Librarian of the National Diet Library

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