29 November 2020

Message from RSCAO Chair

By Tina Yang, Chair, IFLA Regional Standing Committee of Asia and Oceania

Dear Colleagues,

The global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has not ceased. The pandemic that has caused so much severe damage to human lives and disruptions to our daily life and work, also brought about unprecedented changes that are reshaping the library communities in Asia and Oceania, as well as the global library world.

A lot of sharing and discussions have taken place about the current situations affecting libraries. But what about the libraries in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis? Can we revert to our old normal way of doing things before the crisis? Can we continue with the services initiated during the crisis in one way or another in the post-COVID-19 age? What are the new norms? How would they impact the landscape of the libraries in terms of collections, services, spaces, operations, communications, staff, users’ behaviour, resource allocation and our relations with different stakeholders?

To support IFLA’s Global Vision, the Regional Office and the National Library Board, Singapore with the support of IFLA and RSCAO recently organised a webinar series on Leaders’ Conversationson Libraries in the Post-COVID-19 World for the libraries and library associations in the Asia & Oceania region.

The series consists of three webinars dedicated to the National Libraries (18 September), Public Libraries (29 September) and Academic Libraries (16 October) respectively. Distinguished speakers and guests across six sub-regions of Asia and Oceania, including, Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania shared their reflections on the lessons learnt during the pandemic as well as insights into the new agenda after Covid-19 and explored how libraries may align with the new priorities proactively. As Christine Mackenzie, the IFLA President mentioned in her closing speech, she shared some common issues that emerged from the conversations.  These include the importance of information sharing and collaboration, changing role of librarians and the need for upskilling, need for librarians to work innovatively and creatively, new appreciation of libraries – seen as partners, concerns about the resources in the future, resilience and pivoting, adaptabilities and copyright.

The Regional Office will coordinate the post – production on presentation clips and video highlights will be posted online and on social media.

I would like to thank the Regional Office, the National Library Board, Singapore, my RSCAO colleagues and all the distinguished speakers and guests for making the event a great success!

For IFLA and us all, it is worst of the times, it is the best of the times, it is the age of separation, it is the age of solidarity, it is the winter of crises, it is the spring of opportunities.

Let’s work together to survive and thrive!

Tina Yang

Chair, IFLA Regional Standing Committee of Asia and Oceania

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