IFLA’s Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee (IFLA AO RDC) hosted a webinar titled “Northeast Asian libraries on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.


As part of its SDG webinar series organized by the IFLA Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee, this webinar focused on the best practices by Northeast Asian libraries and librarians to support the UN SDGs. Through this program, IFLA Regional Division Committee for Asia and Oceania aims to inspire and encourage colleagues within the region to advance their efforts to bring the UN SDGs to fruition.

The webinar held via Zoom on 26 April 2023 from 2:30 to 5:30 pm (UTC+8) was organised by the IFLA Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee Northeast Asia Working Group consisting of Ms Tina Yang, Ms Ying Chen and Ms Misako Nomura with the support of Mr Jinmin Hao from the National Library of China, Ms. Connie Kwong and Ms. Cheryl Lee from the University of Hong Kong Libraries.

Theme of the webinar

Libraries Serving People with Special Needs

Libraries in Northeast Asia are directly or indirectly involved in SDG-related activities, and some of them have shared their experiences through World Library Map-SDG Stories. This webinar specially focuses on Libraries serving people with special needs. Invited speakers from UN ESCAP, IFLA, national libraries, academic libraries and research institutions come together to share their perspectives and best practices in Northeast Asia libraries, with the aim to promote the libraries’ services for the groups with special needs within the region.

Key points of the webinar

The webinar began with an introduction by the host, Ms Tina Yang who is a member of the Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee (AO RDC) and the Associate Librarian at the University of Hong Kong Libraries. This was followed by the Opening Addresses delivered by Ms Ying Chen and Mr Winston Roberts. Ms Ying Chen is a member of the AO RDC, Deputy Director of the National Library of China, and Vice President of the Library Society of China. She talked about IFLA’s and the Northeast Asian libraries’ efforts in achieving the SDGs. She also encouraged communications and cooperations among the library sector. Mr Winston Roberts, the Chair of the AO RDC and Senior Advisor, National Library of New Zealand, talked about the importance of advocating for library to different stakeholders. He also urged librarians to keep in touch with the AO RDC.

The next speaker was Ms Aiko Akiyama, Social Affairs Officer of UN ESCAP. She presented on the UN mandates on information accessibility and introduced ESCAP’s work on disability, recent UN initiatives, and its future vision for multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Snippet of Ms. Aiko Akiyama’s presentation

This was followed by a presentation from Ms Fan Hua, Associate Research Librarian, Deputy Director of Research Institute of the National Library of China. She showed the National Library of China’s targeted services and resources to different groups of library users.

Snippets of Ms. Fan Hua’s presentation

Then, Ms Tina Yang and Ms Connie Kwong, Assistant Librarian (Special Education Needs Support) and Assistant Education Librarian of the University of Hong Kong Libraries presented the assistive services and technologies provided by HKU Libraries to users with special needs.

Snippets of Ms Tina Yang and Ms Connie Kwong’s presentation

The next presenter was Ms Misako Nomura, a member of the RDCAO, Board Member and Chief Secretariat of Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO), Japan. She discussed how libraries could support children with special education needs by creating accessible educational environments and utilizing DAISY/EPUB technology, based on Japanese experiences.

Snippets of Ms Misako Nomura’s presentation

The final presenter was Ms Helen Chan, Chair, IFLA Profession Division Committee (Division F). She posed thought-provoking questions regarding the professional development of library services for people with special needs, such as the role of library staff in advancing services, how to maintain progress in providing accessible information, and gave suggestions for future professional development.

Snippet of Ms Helen Chan’s presentation

The host and panellists then proceeded to take questions from the attendees. The Webinar ended at 5.05 pm. As of 26 April 2023, 211 registrants were recorded for the Webinar. The Webinar was attended by 113 attendees and there were 101 attendees at its peak. Attendees were mostly from the libraries in Asia, in particular, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, China and Macau SAR.

We are grateful to Ms Tina Yang and Ms Cheryl Lee, University of Hong Kong Libraries for this report. 

* Read more about

IFLA’s Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee, their news, events and plans: https://www.ifla.org/units/asia-oceania-regional-division/

IFLA’s Asia-Oceania Regional Office: https://www.ifla.org/regional-offices/