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2019-1-4 New Year's Greetings

Portrait of Dr. Hanyu, Director General of the National Diet Library

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.
I would like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all those who kindly provided support for last year's events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the National Diet Library in 2018.

This year, we are turning over a new leaf and will focus on further enrichment and development of the National Diet Library.
In our rapidly changing information environment, the development of digitization and network technologies has been instrumental in bringing about the incessant circulation of an enormous volume of digital information.
We launched the National Diet Library Online Search and Request Service (NDL Online) last year. It enables users to search for library materials and digital content available from the National Diet Library as well as to request library services. We also redesigned our website to facilitate access from smartphones and tablet computers.
Providing convenient access to information for a wide range of patrons is a basic element of our principles, as described in the National Diet Library Midterm Vision: Universal Access 2020.

The primary role of the National Diet Library has always been to support the legislative activities of Diet members by providing expert reference and research services. Additionally, the National Diet Library is the sole legal deposit library of Japan and is responsible for collecting, preserving, and facilitating convenient access by patrons to the Library's collections.
Accordingly, our current midterm plan prioritizes the further development of the following three activities: supporting the legislative activities of Diet members, acquiring and preserving library materials, and facilitating public access to information resources.
In supporting this first activity, we place particular emphasis on the development of human resources with expertise to collect, organize, and analyze tremendous volumes of information.
Additionally, the long-term acquisition, organization, and preservation of library materials, too, requires advanced skills and specialization. Moreover, it is essential to improve our current systems in accordance with international trends and to cooperate with others who handle library materials.
And with regard to facilitating public access to information resources, I believe that continuous discussion, research, and development is crucial to delivering library materials to our patrons.

Each of these three activities is, of course, subject to continually changing expectations that will require well thought out responses from a long-term perspective. Universal Access 2020 is the NDL's vision of how these activities should be implemented. In other words, all the NDL's activities are to be undertaken from a broad perspective that incorporates sustainability and diversity as key elements of our support for legislative activities by Diet members, our acquisition of library materials, and our provision of access to information resources.

When the National Diet Library was established in 1948 as part of the legislature, it was greeted with great expectations.
The preamble to the National Diet Library Law contains the following: "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."

With these ideals firmly in mind, we enter the final phase of our midterm planning, during which we would like to present concrete plans for further development of the National Diet Library and for carrying out the research to identify effective responses to the radical changes that affect today's society and the information environment.
We look forward to your continued cooperation in the year 2019.

Sawako Hanyu, Ph.D.
Director General of the National Diet Library

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