This workshop had been jointly organized by the Dag Hammarskjold Library of the United Nations and the Library of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Directors or senior officials from UN depository libraries and national or university libraries in Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – eleven participants.
Library or reference assistants from the United Nations Information Centres in Bangkok, Canberra, Dhaka, Islamabad, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Manila, New Delhi, Tehran, Tokyo and Yangon – eleven participants.
Goals of the Workshop:
- Assist and support UN depository libraries and national libraries in developing countries in Asia in their transition from traditional document repository libraries to knowledge sharing centres for the 21st century.
- Exchange of views between institutions at the national level and the United Nations to jointly develop recommendations on the evolution of the UN Depository Library Programme.
- Transform the relationship the United Nations maintains with libraries in Asia and having their role evolve from being passive custodians of print collections to becoming active outreach partners of the Organization.
- Implement a mutually beneficial capacity-building programme that will foster the sharing knowledge and facilitate outreach activities to help convey the UN messages to the largest possible audiences.
The team of speakers/facilitators included representatives from the Dag Hammarskjöld Library as well as representatives from the United Nations Information Service at ESCAP, and from the ESCAP Library.
The workshop programme included a combination of presentations on the evolution of libraries and knowledge sharing, UN outreach priorities and activities, as well as hands-on training sessions on sources of information about and by the UN, and UN documentation.
Outcome and recommendations
Participants were put into groups including representatives of national libraries and UNICs to jointly develop an outreach activity programme. Each group had to select a theme around which to develop an outreach programme from the following:
- Climate change and the Bali Conference
- Millennium Development Goals
- Human Rights
- Resource guides, pathfinders, UN search guides
- University workshops/lectures
- Exhibitions and book fairs, including mobile exhibitions, and use of mobile libraries
- Blogs and forums
- UN Quizzes
- Story telling for children
- Media mobilization and dissemination of materials
- Translation of materials into local languages
The two groups (national libraries and UNICs) were also asked to develop action plans and recommendations as to the type of support they would like to receive from the UN.
Challenge: lack of proper networking, lack of understanding of their role which the workshop helped clarify
- Promote better understanding and strengthen institutional/national linkages
- Conference for directors of national libraries (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)
- Clarification of roles/mandates
- Professional relationship
- Administrative and finance: proper channels
- Human resources: strengthen the capacity by collaborating, improve the human resources
- Share resources
- Outreach activities: strengthen the capacity, and better explain
- Collaborate in the realization of mandate by the peoples of the world:
- Better understanding of the goals and how important it is to support the Organization, and promote the UN goals
- Ready to cooperate and participate
- Ready to assist with the translation in the national languages
- The existing network of national libraries is a mechanism in place that can be used
- National libraries sometimes may be better placed to reach out to the public at large
- Immediate knowledge sharing among UNIC librarians – UNIC Librarians blog to be created
- Equip UNIC Librarians to train UN Depository and other partner libraries on searching and organizing UN documentation
- Regular depository visit. To make UN depository libraries collections more effective, UNIC librarians to be made responsible to ensure proper maintenance of UN Collections in those libraries. Appropriate funds to be made available for this purpose.
- UNIC librarians from Asia and the Pacific region will coordinate and cooperate in uniform outreach activities held at their respective duty stations
- UNIC librarians will seek cooperation from UNESCAP Library for using their resources and when needed.