Basic Plan for the International Library of Children's Literature 2021-2025

March 30, 2021


1. Background

The International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL) of the National Diet Library (NDL) was established in 2000 as the sole national library dedicated to children's books. In response to the Report of the Board of Inquiry on Expansion of Library Services of the ILCL (2005), the ILCL formulated the Second Basic Plan for the ILCL (NDL(CL)1103242) in 2011. The purpose of this basic plan was to clarify the mission and roles of the ILCL, and also to clarify the basic policy of the services to be realized in 2015, when facility constraints would be eliminated by expansion and renovation. At the time of the ILCL renewal, when its new annex the Arch Building was completed in 2015, the implementation plan was formulated under the Second Basic Plan for the ILCL detailing the services to be achieved in the five years following the expansion and renovation. The ILCL has been trying to improve and expand services based on the implementation plan. Five years have passed since the renewal of the ILCL and the services that were expanded with the enlargement and renovation of the facility are now firmly established.

On the other hand, based on the principles of the Support Plan for the Promotion of Children's Reading Activities 2015 (hereafter Support Plan 2015) based on the Act on Promotion of Children's Reading (Act No. 154 of 2001), the ILCL has successively formulated plans outlining its efforts to promote children's reading activities. Currently, according to the Support Plan 2015 (revised 2019), the ILCL was working on the dissemination of information on children's reading, human resource development, network building, practices and provision of information using the materials in its collection in the ILCL. This plan expired in 2020.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this Basic Plan for the ILCL 2021-2025 is to promote the contents of the two plans, the Second Basic Plan for the ILCL and Support Plan 2015, in an integrated manner, while inheriting the mission and basic roles of the ILCL as set forth in the Second Basic Plan for the ILCL. The Basic Plan for the ILCL 2021-2025 will describe the priority issues to be addressed by FY2025, on the basis of past achievements, in response to the policies set forth in the Fourth Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children by the Japanese government and the National Diet Library Vision 2021–2025: The Digital Shift at the National Diet Library.

3. Mission and Basic Roles of the ILCL

For all children, reading activities are "indispensable to learn languages, to cultivate sensitivity, to heighten power of expression, to enrich creativity and to acquire power for living life more deeply" (Act on Promotion of Children's Reading, Article 2).

The ILCL's mission remains aiming to realize its philosophy, "Children's books link the world and open up the future!" To realize the above mission, the ILCL will take over the Three Basic Roles defined in the Second Basic Plan for the ILCL, in a form that responds to an increasingly digital society.

Role as a library dedicated to children's books

The ILCL acquires, preserves, and makes available a wide range of Japanese and foreign children's books and related materials. By providing professional information on children's books, it also supports a variety of programs related to children's books and reading.

Role as a place where children encounter books

Not only at the ILCL itself, but also through the internet and other libraries nearby, the ILCL gives every child the opportunity to become familiar with libraries and reading.

Role as a museum of children's books

The ILCL will realize the library as a place where people can enjoy culture in a comprehensive manner, taking advantage of electronic exhibitions provided via the internet and the unique characteristics of its historical building located in Ueno, in addition to the Museum.

4. Issues to address

After confirming the achievement status of the efforts based on the Second Basic Plan and the Reading Plan 2015, the ILCL will focus on the following matters among the Three Basic Roles in order to respond to the changes in the environment surrounding children and libraries in an increasingly digital society.

4.1 Role as a library dedicated to children's books

As a library dedicated to children's books, which is a part of the National Diet Library, the ILCL has a collection of children's books and textbooks published in Japan that were collected based on the deposit system, and also has a collection of children's books and related materials published in about 160 countries and regions. The ILCL provides a variety of services based on this extensive collection of approximately 700,000 items.

The functions as a resource and information center have been upgraded through the expansion and renovation of the facilities to increase the space of the stacks, the improvement of the information environment in the Children's Book's Research Room, and the introduction of systems and services in common with those of the Tokyo Main Library and the Kansai-kan of the NDL. As part of our activities to support the promotion of children's reading activities, the ILCL also worked to disseminate information on children's reading and to develop human resources for those involved in children's services. The ILCL not only holds lectures by famous overseas writers and illustrators, but also co-sponsors lectures at local public libraries, creating opportunities to introduce world-famous works of children's literature to a wider audience. Through events for children held in cooperation with embassies in Japan, the ILCL has also been working to promote multicultural understanding by conveying the appeal of children's books from around the world.

The ILCL will work to improve people's access to children's books by promoting digitization of materials and providing specialized information on children's books. In addition, the ILCL will focus on strengthening the use of online services and information dissemination in training for those involved in children's services and collaborative projects with related organizations.

4.1.1. Enrichment of the collection

The ILCL will:

  • Continue to acquire, organize, and preserve Japanese and foreign children's books and related materials, which it has been doing as a library dedicated to children's books since its opening.
  • Continue to collect materials necessary for children's services.
  • Promote the digitization of its collection and enhance the environment for using digitized materials to support reading activities and research.

4.1.2. Providing information on children's books

The ILCL will:

  • Integrate the Union Catalog of Children's Literature, which allows users to search the collections of major related institutions that hold children's books, into NDL Search, and will update the information after reviewing the data input method.
  • Promote the use of the children's books search function in NDL Search.
  • Make every effort to supply additional information to the bibliographic data, such as summaries and information on Japanese children's books translated into foreign languages.
  • Use its staff's expertise based on their experience in referencing children's books to expand the dissemination-of-information-model for reference services.

4.1.3. Support for people involved in children's services

The ILCL will:

  • Continue to disseminate information on children's books, including Japanese and international awards for children's literature.
  • Regularly conduct surveys and research on children's books and children's services, and make the results of these surveys and this research widely available to those involved in children's services.
  • Continue to hold training and exchange meetings for those involved in children's services, to contribute to the enhancement of their expertise and to provide a place for the exchange of information.
  • Conduct online training programs in response to changing social conditions and needs so that people involved in children's services across the country can take these courses.
  • Continue to dispatch instructors for basic training on books and services for children under the framework of the NDL's Remote Training Programs.
  • Continue to provide support for human resource development by accepting trainees in cooperation with related organizations inside and outside Japan.

4.1.4. Cooperation with related organizations and public relations

The ILCL will:

  • Actively participate in relevant overseas organizations and international conferences, and strive to collect information and encourage interpersonal exchange.
  • Work to share the expertise we gain through interactions with experts from relevant overseas institutions and prominent artists through our website and other means.
  • Pay attention to changes in social conditions and needs, and consider implementing initiatives with a view to collaborating with more diverse domestic related organizations to provide services and support incorporating advanced technologies.
  • Hold events in cooperation with related organizations to promote children's books and reading.
  • Hold events that contribute to the promotion of international exchange through children's books in cooperation with embassies and other foreign organizations of various countries in Japan.
  • Promote effective public relations in cooperation with cultural organizations in and around the Ueno area, taking advantage of their connections.
  • Use appropriate media and tools for public relations in response to the fast-changing digital environment.

4.1.5. Enhancing expertise

The ILCL will:

  • Develop the expertise of its staff by providing opportunities to participate in external training programs, in addition to systematically conducting internal training programs for its staff, in order to develop specialized knowledge in children's books and services.

4.2 Role as a place where children encounter books

The ILCL provides information and supports reading activities in local libraries as well as providing services for visitors in order to give every child an opportunity to become familiar with libraries and reading.

The ILCL constructed a new building and renovated the existing building, making it able to provide services appropriate to different ages of children by opening the Teen's Research Room, in which resources and information are available for research by junior high and high school students, in addition to Children's Library and Meet the World where the ILCL provides books for infants and elementary school students. The ILCL has also held nursery rhymes and picture book readings, story hour, research practice programs, lectures and other events as services appropriate to different ages of children. By doing so, the ILCL has enriched services for children appropriate to their development. Visitors to the ILCL have increased to 140 thousand per year since the renewal, compared to 100 thousand per year before the renewal.

In the future, the ILCL must respond to the social demand to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and continuously play the role of a library as infrastructure. Therefore, it is ever more important to provide services for children to encounter books not only in the ILCL, but also on the internet and in local libraries. To realize these goals, the ILCL will, using its experience in services for patrons, provide digital content which is available anytime and anywhere, and expand support for reading activities for children of different ages in local libraries. The ILCL will also actively provide opportunities to encounter books for children who need special help for various reasons.

4.2.1. Provision of information to stimulate children's reading

The ILCL will:

  • Recreate the ILCL Kids' Website to provide content appropriate to children from elementary school to high school, and make it a gateway for children to read books, learn and foster their information literacy.
  • Create digital content useful for reading and learning and make it available on the internet.
  • Continuously provide the ILCL OPAC for Kids, with which children can search by themselves.
  • Introduce materials we provide in story hour, tours for children, etc. on the website.

4.2.2. Support for reading activities in local libraries

The ILCL will:

  • Improve website navigation for small seasonal and theme-based exhibitions held in each reading room and publicize them in a timely fashion, for reference of the people involved in children's services.
  • Provide useful information for children's services about information literacy, multicultural services, etc. based on needs.
  • Consider publishing actual questions and explanations of how to research, including in the form of video, based on the knowledge gained from the implementation of research practice programs, with the intention that it will be used in library orientations, etc.
  • Provide information on foreign picture books and children's books for use in multicultural services at public libraries, taking advantages of the ILCL's strength in having abundant children's books in various languages.
  • Introduce a set of multilingual books based on the information above and assist libraries with multicultural services.
  • Continue the children's book sets lending service to school libraries and revise the content and the number of sets as well as introduce usage examples to promote use at each library.
  • Consider expanding the scope of organizations which can use the lending service.
  • Continue the loan service to libraries, etc. in Asia and Oceania including Japan of the exhibition "The World through Picture Books -Librarians' favorite books from their country" in which books were collected through The World through Picture Books project led by the IFLA section Libraries for Children and Young Adults.

4.2.3. Implementation at the ILCL

The ILCL will:

  • Make digital content available at the Teen's Research Room so that children can also interact with digital content.
  • Plan a new program for upper elementary school grades to learn how to use libraries and the basics of information literacy.
  • Plan a new research practice program for junior high and high school students to focus on developing information literacy as well as continue to hold existing research practice programs to rouse interest in researching at libraries.
  • Hold participatory workshops with specialists and events on topical subjects for junior high and high school students. In implementing these events, the ILCL will consider using online services so that various people can participate.
  • Continue services for children with special needs and concerns, and work towards setting up an exhibition space of materials for people with disabilities and materials which promote understanding disabilities.

4.3 Role as a museum of children's books

The ILCL has held various exhibitions and events as opportunities to learn the pleasure of reading and become familiar with books. There are also many people who visit the ILCL to see the building, which is designated as historical architecture by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The ILCL has held four exhibitions per year at Museum on various themes. Plus, the ILCL newly placed the Gallery of Children's Literature through the expansion and renovation of its facilities, with a permanent exhibition which provides a general view of the history of children's literature since the Meiji era in Japan, in which visitors can take materials in their own hands. The ILCL has also provided an online exhibition which was reorganized from a past exhibition, Japanese Children's Literature: A History from the International Library of Children's Literature Collections. The ILCL has held special exhibitions introducing children's literature of various countries that conveyed the appeal of foreign children's books. The ILCL has also continued to hold exhibitions introducing barrier-free children's books from around the world as well as books by the winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, using materials borrowed from the Japanese Board on Books for Young People.

From now on, in addition to its function as a museum of children's books, the ILCL will take greater advantage of online exhibitions and the space of its historical architecture, and link them to interest in children's literature and the library itself from a new angle.

4.3.1. Exhibitions

The ILCL will:

  • Hold diverse and attractive special exhibitions as well as continue to hold exhibitions of foreign children's literature using the ILCL's rich collection.
  • Plan online exhibitions accessible for everyone, such as exhibitions on the appeal of children's books or introducing children's literature in Japan to overseas audiences.
  • Progressively improve the accessibility of online exhibitions.

4.3.2. The library as a place where people become familiar with culture

The ILCL will:

  • Take advantage of the appeal of the building as historical architecture and cooperative connections with cultural organizations in and around the Ueno area, in order for people to become familiar with culture such as music and art along with children's books.
  • Hold a special exhibition on the architecture and the history of the ILCL in order to deepen the understanding of the ILCL, and use it as a place to share history.
  • Consider the way people experience the atmosphere of the ILCL using digital technology without visiting, such as virtual tours.