Information about Children and Books in Japan

The 97th All-Japan Library Conference

【2012-E001】

The 97th annual All-Japan Library Conference, sponsored by the Japan Library Association (JLA), was held in Tama, Tokyo, on October 13th and 14th, 2011. The conference theme this year was “Libraries in our lives; more gateways to knowledge, keep HELPING LIBRARIES.” Participants heard a keynote report and a symposium on the Great East Japan Earthquake. Two staff members of the International Library of Children’s Literature (ILCL) participated in the section meetings 5 and 13.

●Section meeting 5 (school libraries): Inquiry learning and libraries: the role of school librarians

The keynote speech began with the historical details of inquiry learning in the USA. According to the new Course of Study, children need inquiry learning to nurture “zest for life.” Referring to the role of libraries and librarians for inquiry learning, the speaker pointed out that public libraries can contribute to promoting inquiry learning, which is based on adequate reading skills.

The Komae City Midorino Elementary School reported on inquiry learning and the activities of its school library, which has given children access to books. The Zama Public Library reported the various activities and its cooperation with school libraries.

They answered questions about their activities and gave specific examples of cooperation with school libraries. Librarians, school librarians, teachers and members of a board of education had an earnest and active discussion on how to promote inquiry learning.

●Section meeting 13 (library services for children and young people): Reference services for children: developing library services to support children

Tokuko Arai, a council member of the Tokyo Children’s Library, delivered the keynote speech, “Enrich the book forest: lead children from the beginning to the end.” From her experience at various libraries, she said that book selection was fundamental in library services for children.

The Tokyo Children’s Library stressed the importance of revealing young visitors’ internal questions. The Chuou Library of the Saitama Municipal Library introduced its original database, which will be useful for reference services or in making book lists. Its staff members use the database also as self-learning resources. The Kodaira City Central Library has provided children with the original local resources. The Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library has supported the city libraries’ services for children and promoted children’s reading through its reference services.

The achievement of library services for children and the several specific examples of the reference service has revealed our expected role as a children’s library.

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(2012.2.24 update)