The 95th All-Japan Library Conference


The All-Japan Library Conference, sponsored by the Japan Library Association (JLA), is held every fall, and librarians from all over Japan get together for exchange of opinions. The 95th All-Japan Library Conference was held in Kanda, a "book town" in Tokyo, on October 30th, 2009. A staff member of the International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL) participated in section meeting 3.

Section meeting 3: What we can do for 2010, National Year of Reading

Keynote speech by Miyoko Hida (Director of Characters Culture Promotion Organization)

Miyoko Hida gave the keynote speech, "Future is in Reading; towards sustainable development of the 2010 National Year of Reading programs." She described the circumstances leading up to the 2010 National Year of Reading, referring to such notable events such as the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations in 1989. She talked about her reading promotion activities for children and the importance of reading, stressing that the National Year of Reading is not an obligation to be forced upon us but an opportunity to take up individual initiatives. A member of the audience expressed the opinion that we need a system for librarians to improve their skills, and another argued that we need to make further efforts to let more people know about the National Year of Reading.

Panel discussion by Hiroshi Osada (Poet), Kazutoshi Tsukada (President of Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers), and Wataru Hori (Director of Honda Library, Kokubunji City)

Panel discussion by a writer, a publisher, and a librarian followed. Mr. Osada's idea on books is very stimulating. According to him, the fact that a book has two sides, the front and the back, means that we should not see it in a one-dimensional way. He thinks we need to give further consideration to the physical nature of books and find how important reading aloud is in our reading culture. Mr. Tsukada reported that Japanese publishing is in a state of crisis today. He referred to organizations successful in promoting reading, such as the Stiftung Lesen reading foundation in Germany, and suggested that we need a more integrated approach to succeed in Japan. Mr. Hori talked from the standpoint of the librarian working with people face to face. He showed polarization in the way people use a library; some people visit often while others get a registration card and never visit again, and that middle-aged and elderly people visit often while the young do not. He said that many people prefer practical books or manuals rather than lengthy tomes which make substantial reading; we need reading promotion activities not only for children, but also for university students and adults.


(2010.1.31 update)