World Library and Information Congress 2018
84th World Library and Information Congress 2018
Theme: “Transform Libraries, Transform Societies” with the additional tagline: ‘Reaching out to the hard to reach’
Date: 24th – 30th August 2018
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
The critical role played by libraries in the west and in the east in the development of a nation lies in their ability to transform societies that market the nation. Like most countries, Malaysia is guided by 5 National Key Performance Indicators underlying its national development, and libraries are expected to contribute towards the achievement of the national KPIs via their niche area as expressed in the National Library of Malaysia’s policy statement –“ Towards developing a [Malaysian] society that is characterised by a reading and knowledge culture, by 2020” (Translation). Since Malaysia is a multinational and multicultural country blending the various traditions and beliefs of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayak, Iban, Dusun, Kadazan, Bajau, Melanau and ‘Orang Asli’ etc. underlying the diversity is a common guiding principle of nation building which is — develop a strong family, develop strong communities, develop a strong society and finally develop a strong nation. It is easy to see why libraries in this part of the world play a significant role in national development by developing families and communities that are literate and knowledgeable. All types of libraries therefore, with their focus on their specific communities, have the unique advantage of being able to help transform societies.
In this digital age, libraries in Malaysia are undergoing transformation—developing digital libraries, upgrading professional competencies, undertaking innovative programs and activities, reviewing library education curricula, embarking on community projects as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs etc. in order to ensure that libraries remain relevant against the competing roles of Internet and other social media. Transforming the Malaysian society is fraught with challenges. Malaysia’s society is not homogeneous. It is vastly multiracial, multireligious and multilingual, with an urban–rural dichotomy, rich-poor socio-economic divide, with varying literacy ability levels, obvious digital and information divides, etc. These are challenges faced in transforming libraries and societies in Malaysia. It would be interesting to know how other countries fare.
National Committee IFLA WLIC 2018
National Committee Secretariat
National Library of Malaysia
232, Jalan Tun Razak, 50572 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603-2687 1901 (Dato’ Nafisah Ahmad)