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Policy & Planning & Management


Funding & Marketing

Human resources Development

Immediate Actions

Networking for Effective Libraries and Information Services Workshop

The RSCAO has just completed a Project three years in the planning but now most successfully concluded. Networking in the countries of South Asia was considered to be a most important problem to which resolutions needed to be found. The Project was conceived by Mr Gakkar [the RSCAO's previous Chairman] and substantially expanded by Professor Russell Bowden, approved by the RSCAO and agreed for funding by IFLA's ALP. Organisation was entrusted to the Sri Lanka Library Association who efficiently organised the event in a sea-front down-town Colombo hotel from 17 to 23 October. Almost seventy participants attended from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka with Resource Persons from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the US and with representatives of IFLA [Prof. Derek Law - IFLA's Hon. Treasurer] and its Universal Data Transfer [UDT] Core Programme - Terry Kuny.

Much of the work was undertaken in six sessions in four Groups which allowed all to participate and ideas, and eventually resolutions, to grow naturally from the considerations of the issues that had been raised in the preceding papers. The Resolutions, framed under five headings - Networks [5 resolutions], Policy, Planning & Management [5], Technology [3], Funding & Marketing [5], and Human Resources Development [7] - are practical and far-reaching. It is intended that they will be useful not only to the South Asian countries but also to many others in the RSCAO region, and especially the smaller island states of Oceania.

Actions from them will be expected to be initiated by the participants from the South Asian countries [this was one of the criteria on which they were selected - and they will be asked to regularly report back progress] and also by the RSCAO when it meets in March and thence by other parts of IFLA - especially the ALP and UDT Core Programmes. A final, and personal, observation: some of the contributions were excellent and the expertise and knowledge brought, by nearly all those involved, have clearly shown the way forward to 'network' not only using traditional library and information services and practices and skills but also what needs to be done to more effectively network, by exploiting to the full, the new ITs and particularly the Internet.

Most successfully organised by the Sri Lanka LA, whose first major international conference it was, it marks a new relationship between Lankan library and information science professionals and the international community - especially IFLA.

All-in-all an important IFLA initiative to narrow the growing gap between the information rich and the information poor both within IFLA and within individual nations. The Resolutions, which follow, are intended as just such a first step.

IFLA - RSCAO sponsored and IFLA - ALP financed and Sri Lanka Library Association organized.


17 to 23 October 1999. Colombo. Sri Lanka



These Resolutions are directed to all organisations [ eg. international and regional agencies, national governments, local authorities, parent-organisations, professional bodies and companies in the private sector] with responsibilities for libraries and information services and that have interests in creating an effective Information Society.

  1. Librarians and information professionals and their services are already helping to build the Information Society within the countries of South Asia. Continuous development of these skilled resources in librarians and their library services will further benefit national development.

  2. The Government must recognise the role of librarians and information professionals in building an information society for the development of the nation.

  3. The most cost-effective investment the government can make to develop the Information Society is through the fullest involvement of librarians and information professionals and the modernisation of their services in order to become effective change agents in the information society.

  4. Librarianship should emphasise the following areas:
    • leadership in information literacy;
    • provision of IT facilities to the community eg. mobile outreach services;
    • provision of community information services eg. to medium & small industries;
    • information at the doorstep;
    • income generation programmes & activities.


  1. The information society is built on a foundation of collaboration and communication enabled by human and electronic networks.

  2. The establishment of specialised and multi-type library networks in the countries of South Asia at state, national and regional levels is essential and should be supported by governments, national and international agencies.

  3. Library and information networks should become the backbone of a learning society.

  4. Organisations have a responsibility to ensure that library and information networks are as comprehensively available as other public utilities and provided at reasonable cost.

  5. Librarians must develop strong and sustainable working relatonships with other specialists to develop collaboration for promoting and modernising library services in their countries.

Policy & Planning & Management

  1. Each country in South Asia should develop its own national policy for libraries and information services with due emphasis on the networking of libraries.

  2. A national centre should be identified or established in each country to monitor and co-ordinate the development of library networking in the country and in the region which should be nurtured and supported by IFLA.

  3. International and local professional associations should promote the development of professional library communities through networking - such as the creation and local moderation of electronic discussion lists.

  4. All types of library services in South Asia, especially public and school libraries, need to be enhanced and modernised to keep pace with the development, and to meet the challenges, of the Information Society.

  5. IFLA's Regional Standing Committee for Asia & Oceania [RSCAO], or any other body, should convene meetings of interested parties to consider the creation of a regional consortium as an interested community emerges. This should act as a catalyst to develop leadership champions for:
    • creating a culture of sharing;
    • developing policies and guidelines;
    • encouraging collaboration with industry;
    • developing regional consortia for licensing and procurement.


  1. International standards should be adopted by libraries to facilitate the exchange of information within the country and globally and to encourage the development of inter-operable systems.

  2. In the modernisation of libraries international bibliographic standards, in particular MARC, AACR2, specialised thesauri and national authority databases should be adopted.

  3. Libraries can effectively function as centres to provide for public access to electronic information and therefore should be given priority in getting Internet and other communication facilities.

Funding & Marketing

  1. IFLA's Regional Standing Committee for Asia and Oceania [RSCAO] should create a database of funding sources.

  2. The RSCAO should encourage more workshops with all potential partners on project planning, fund-raising and marketing, value added services, writing successful project proposals.

  3. Librarians and information professionals must build up databases of commercial value.

  4. Librarians and information professionals must market their services to the private sector for sponsorship and support.

  5. Librarians and information professionals must form lobby groups to foster support from all sections of society.

Human resources Development

  1. Organisations operating libraries and information services must be encouraged to develop education and training to enable librarians to undertake their professional development continuously throughout their careers eg. in information management, library networking, library standards, content creation, effective communication, information entrepreneurship etc.

  2. Library associations, academic institutions and other organisations should develop Continuing Professional Develpment [CPD] programmes to allow librarians to enhance skills and develop core professional competences for the management of electronic resources eg. leadership in information infrastructure-building, data management, electronic library management, needs assessment etc.

  3. Library authorities in each country should create a suitable environment and provide incentives to motivate library professionals to take up continuing professional education in order to become effective change agents in the information society.

  4. The appropriate authorities must recognise that the teaching of librarianship and information science [LIS] requires the provision of IT workshops equipped with up-to-date hardware and software and Internet connectivity.

  5. Recognising the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of LIS studies, LIS Departments should work with other disciplines to ensure that the curriculum is broadly based.

  6. LIS Departments and national library associations should work towards the establishment of systems of professional accreditation supported, where relevant, by an international professional organisation.

  7. Curricula of LIS departments should be revised to integrate IT applications and library networking as significant components.

Immediate Actions

  1. Delegates from each country to approach appropriate bodies to implement the above resolutions.

  2. Proceedings and reports to be posted on IFLANET.

  3. Create an e-mail list for delegates.

The above Resolutions were Agreed and Adopted by consensus on 21 October '99 by more than seventy Workshop participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States [including Representatives of IFLA and its Regional Standing Committee for Asia and Oceania and its Advancement of Librarianship and Universal Data Transfer Core Programmes] under the Chairmanship of Professor Russell Bowden.

Russell Bowden. Honorary IFLA Fellow.
Chairman. Resolutions Plenary Session.
21 October 1999.


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