Information about Children and Books in Japan

The 96th All-Japan Library Conference

【2010-KN029】

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 96th All-Japan Library Conference was held in Nara on September 16th and 17th, 2010. Tetsuji Izeki, a staff member of the Children's Services Division, the International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL), participated in section meeting 4 on the topic of library services for children and young adults.

Section meeting 4: Ten years after the National Year of Reading for Children: the past and the future

Keynote report and keynote speech

Takeshi Sakabe, the chairman of the Committee on Children and Young Adults of the JLA, in his keynote report, told about reading promotion activities for children for past ten years. According to him, numerical improvements, such as the increased number of lent-out books and the decreased number of children who do not read, are probably the results of reading promotion activities by adults such as mandatory reading time in the morning at school, This means that not every child willingly spends more time in reading than before. He also reported the reduction of newly bought books due to budget cuts for materials and the difficulty of human resource development caused by the decrease of full-time workers in libraries.

Satoru Takeuchi, an emeritus professor of University of Library and Information Science, in his keynote speech, referring to the newsletter of the 4th, 1994 issue of Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), said that children's librarians need "knees" which can bend easily when they talk to small children with eye contact and need to serve children not as a teacher but as an equal human being. He stressed the importance of encouraging children to read more books, trying to be a reliable adviser motivating children to read his/her recommendations, and making efforts steadily step by step viewing their activities in a long-term perspective, say, for 30 years or 100 years.

Case reports and panel discussion

A public library, a junior high school library, and a volunteer group of residents in Osaka Prefecture showed their case reports.

In Toyonaka City, the coordination of home libraries for children and public libraries was started, followed by improvements of school libraries and cooperation with kindergartens and nursery schools. As a result, public libraries have horizontal connection as a children-rearing support institution.

There was a report from a Minoo City junior high school library. In Minoo City, school librarians have been introduced in all city-run elementary and junior high school in and after 1998. They have provided teachers with information at staff meetings, have communicated with students, and have helped them to meet various books and learn the efficient use of their school libraries.

A volunteer group in Kumatori Town forcefully stated that both of libraries and volunteer groups need the spirit of "self-determination and self-control," and with maintaining the spirit, public institutions including libraries and citizens should cooperate.

Izeki gained a realization once again that people working in various organizations and institutions need to perform long-time, steady, and cooperative activities to give each child an access to books.

Ref:

(2010.12 update)