Together, we are ONE supporting the libraries and our communities

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you well!

The world is facing unprecedented challenges in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused severe damages to human lives and disruptions to our daily life and work. Libraries are no exception. The impact on our global and regional library world is enormous.

  • We had to cancel the Asia and Oceania Section Mid-term Meeting scheduled on 16-17 March 2020 in Singapore
  • A number of library conferences and events in which RSCAO members were involved had to be called off or postponed
  • IFLA WLIC 2020 was cancelled and so was the Asia and Oceania Open Session
  • Many libraries in our region and all over the world are closed with limited services

Nevertheless, librarians have been taking active measures to tackle the crisis and reach out to our communities beyond the physical boundaries.

With the help of technology, for the first time, our Mid-term Meeting was successfully held online via Zoom on 17 March 2020. In the past, many members could not attend our face-to-face meetings due to the geographic distance and financial constraints. However, with 17 out of 22 Standing Committee and corresponding members participating, the online meeting reached a record high attendance rate. The meeting served its purpose as a good venue for members to learn about our work progress, discuss issues and brainstorm new ideas.

Sharing our stories: libraries in Asia and Oceania supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” is our theme for the Asia and Oceania Open Session at the IFLA WLIC 2020.  Following the cancellation of IFLA WLIC 2020, we decided that a fresh Call for Paper would be issued in line with the new conference theme for the WLIC 2021. The selected authors were encouraged to convert their abstracts to SDG stories for submission at

The main focus of our Action Plan this year is to advocate how libraries in our region are supporting the UN SDGs. We have been receiving stories from various libraries though online submission . This is a good opportunity for libraries to share their stories and demonstrate their roles in responding to the multitude of challenges facing us in this recent year. The deadline for submission was extended to 30 April 2020.

To help libraries cope with the COVID-19 situations, many library associations have developed webpages dedicated to resources for libraries. To name a few:

COVID-19 and the Global Library Field (IFLA)

Australian libraries responding to COVID-19 (ALIA)

ALA COVID-19 Response (ALA)

There are also numerous guides compiled and cases shared by individual libraries of different types. Hence, together, we are one supporting each other as well as our communities.

While we are confronting the worse, let us do not lose hope for the better. I look forward to the day when we can meet again and hug each other in joy and tears.

Wish you and your families stay safe and healthy.

Tina Yang

Chair, IFLA Regional Standing Committee of Asia and Oceania