29 January 2010

Singapore Pilot Workshop for IFLA's Building Strong Library Associations Programme

By Fiona Bradley

A successful pilot workshop for IFLA's Building Strong Library Associations programme was held in Singapore at the National Library from
9-13 November 2009. The workshop followed the first pilot, held in
Gaborone, Botwsana, hosted at the University of Botswana from 12-16
October 2009. The workshop was hosted by IFLA Regional Office for Asia
and Oceania and National Library Board Singapore (NLB). Regional
manager, Tan Keat Fong, hosted the workshop and coordinated local
arrangements, together with Petrina Ang Hui Min providing
administrative support.

The purpose of the pilot workshop was to test the relevance of the content of the Building Strong Library Associations training package, a component of the larger capacity building programme. The workshop also assessed the suitability of the training method, and discussed the further development of the programme, including how it could be customised and rolled out in the Asia and Oceania region. To achieve these objectives, participants with a strong background in library associations were invited to participate and contribute. The programme will be customisable to different social and cultural situations, and able to be translated in local languages. Further information about the programme is available on the ALP website.

Participants from countries across the region were invited to share their experiences and knowledge of working in library associations at the workshop. Attending the meeting were representatives from the national library associations of Bangladesh, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Micronesia. Asia and Oceania Section Chair, Dan Dorner (New Zealand), and a representative of the expert reference group working on the development of the Building Strong Library Associations training package, Michael Robinson (Hong Kong), were also in attendance. The workshop was facilitated by Christine Goodacre (Australia) with IFLA represented by ALP Programme Coordinator, Fiona Bradley.

Two of the participants, Sonny Vikash Chandra (Fiji Library Association, Fiji) and M. Nasiruddin Munshi (Bangladesh Library Association, Bangladesh) were selected to participate in the pilot workshop by the Asia and Oceania Section. Atarino Helieisar (Pacific Islands Association of Libraries, Archives, and Museums (PIALA), Micronesia) was nominated by the Management of Library Associations Section.

Tan Keat Fong and Dr. N Varaprasad, Chief Executive of NLB welcomed colleagues to the National Library. Participants had the opportunity to visit and tour the National Library and the Woodlands Regional Library. The visits gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the services, facilities, and growth of NLB. Participants also appreciated a talk "Leadership Skills and Advocacy for Libraries: Best Practices in Library Association Management, the Singapore Experience" by Ms. Ngian Lek Choh, Immediate Past President, Library Association of Singapore, 2009/11 and Director of the National Library, who shared her experiences in advocacy from the Library Association of Singapore.

During the week, participants worked through strategic planning exercises, developed advocacy and communication plans, and shared strategies to help library associations improve their services and take on an advocacy role in their country. Participants shared their association's successes, experiences, and advice with the group.

Following the pilot workshops, the programme will be further developed and is expected to be available to IFLA members from mid-2010.

Host: Tan Keat Fong, IFLA Regional Office for Asia and Oceania
Administrative support: Petrina Ang Hui Min, IFLA Regional Office for Asia and Oceania
Workshop facilitator: Christine Goodacre, Australia
Expert reference group representative: Michael Robinson, Hong Kong
Observer: Dan Dorner, New Zealand, Chair, Asia and Oceania Section
IFLA Headquarters: Fiona Bradley, ALP Programme Coordinator


  • Premila Gamage, Sri Lanka. Former Vice-President and Education Officer, Sri Lanka Library Association
  • M. Nasiruddin Munshi, Bangladesh. President, Bangladesh Library Association
  • Atarino Helieisar, Micronesia. President, PIALA
  • Sonny Vikash Chandra, Fiji. Council Member, Fiji Library Association
  • Hasna Askhita, Syria. Former board member, Syria Library Association, also representative of Arab Federation of Libraries & Information (AFLI)
  • Chutima Sacchanand, Thailand. Past president, Thailand Library Association
  • Nguyen Thi Bac, Vietnam. Vice-President, Vietnam Library Association
  • Chin Loy Jyoon, Malaysia. Treasurer, Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia

LDP (Library Development Programme)

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