The 106th All-Japan Library Conference (2020)


The 106th All-Japan Library Conference was held by the Japan Library Association (JLA) in Wakayama Prefecture from November 20 to 30, 2020. Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused all events to be held online, 1,557 people took part in this year’s conference, the subject of which was “Libraries’ Past and Future: Hope for a New Age from Wakayama.”

Participants were able to watch a keynote speech by JLA Chairperson ODA Mitsuhiro, a performance by the Wakayama Prefectural Seirin High School brass band, and a commemorative lecture by Keio University Professor MIYAMA Yoshio as well as all the presentations and reports given during section meetings by accessing video streams of these events, which were available on demand for the duration of the conference.

Next year’s conference is once again scheduled to be held online from Yamanashi Prefecture on November 11, 2021.

Here are summaries of presentations from three section meetings related to school libraries, library services for children, and multicultural services.

Section Meeting 3—School Libraries: How School Libraries Help Connect People with Their Communities

The first part of the meeting featured reports on activities that highlighted the current and future roles of school libraries in Wakayama. WATANABE Mikio, professor emeritus from Wakayama University, delivered a keynote speech in which he discussed the gaps between the ideals expressed in the School Library Law and reality as well as reviewed the causes of and potential solutions for existing problems. He also expressed the idea that there are things that individual school librarians can do at work to help improve the situation. Thereafter, three school librarians spoke about their activities in support of classes at elementary and junior high schools.

The second part of the meeting featured a discussion of the future roles of school libraries with a focus on activities through which students connect with their communities and on how schools can provide community access to their libraries. MATSUDA Yuriko, librarian at Nippa High School in Kanagawa Prefecture, discussed her own experiences as she described the processes that students must go through in learning to use the library as well as what is involved in providing community access to school libraries. After that, two high school librarians reported on their activities, including one project for using Twitter to help students become familiar with libraries and another for supporting student research.

Section Meeting 4—Library Services for Children: Past and Future Library Services for Connecting Children with Books

This meeting featured a review of the history of library services for children as a means to reaffirm the universality of basic principles as well as to consider new initiatives that meet the needs of the times.

SHIOZAKI Junko, a lecturer at Keio University, gave a keynote speech that looked back on library services for children in the postwar era. In reference to library activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, she discussed the need to plan both broadly and cross-sectionally. Tenri City Library Assistant Director TAKAHASHI Kiichiro gave a keynote report that reviewed the history of library services for children, which began at the end of the Meiji era, as well as stressed the importance of creating connections between children and the staff of public or private (bunko) libraries. A librarian from the International Library of Children’s Literature reported its activities during the 20 years since its opening. Finally, reports from two libraries and a volunteer group described support for people who deliver books to children, services for young adults, and volunteer reading activities.

Section Meeting 10—Multicultural Services: Exploring the Potential of Multicultural Services

Four presentations were given in this section. One from the Multilingual Picture Book Club RAINBOW described their activities in creating multilingual electronic picture books for donation to libraries around Japan. They also proposed that multicultural service coordinators be assigned to local libraries and that cooperation with related organizations be increased.


  • All-Japan Library Conference (in Japanese)
  • Toshokan Zasshi, 2021-02, pp.67–69
    「図書館の歩みとこれから 南葵(なんき)から新しい時代へ想いを繋げる」(令和2年度(第106回)全国図書館大会和歌山大会ハイライト)『図書館雑誌』2021年2月、pp.67–69
(2021.6.17 update)