Welcome to Kuala Lumpur

On behalf of the National Committee we would like to welcome you to the 84th World Library and Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which will take place from 24th -30th August 2018.

Our theme, “Transform Libraries, Transform Societies” with the additional tagline: ‘ Reaching out to the hard to reach’ was chosen in recognition of the critical role played by libraries in the development of a nation particularly in their ability to transform societies. Like most countries, Malaysia is guided by 5 National Key Performance Indicators underlying its national development and libraries are expected to contribute towards the achievement of the national KPIs via their niche area as expressed in the National Library of Malaysia’s policy statement –“ Towards developing a [Malaysian] society that is characterised by a reading and knowledge culture, by 2020” (Translation). Malaysia is a multiracial and multicultural country blending the various traditions and beliefs of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayak, Iban, Dusun, Kadazan, Bajau, Melanau and ‘Orang Asli’ etc. Underlying this diversity is a common guiding principle of nation building which is: develop a strong family, develop strong communities, develop a strong society and finally develop a strong nation. It is easy therefore to see why libraries in this part of the world play a significant role in national development by developing families and communities that are literate and knowledgeable. All types of libraries therefore, with their focus on their specific communities, have the unique advantage of being able to help transform societies.

Transforming the Malaysian society, however, is fraught with challenges because of the diversity. Not only is it multiracial, multi-religious and multilingual, it also reflects an urban – rural dichotomy, rich-poor socio-economic divide, with varying literacy ability levels, obvious digital and information divides, etc.

With the onset of the digital age, libraries in Malaysia are also undergoing transformation – developing digital libraries, upgrading professional competencies, undertaking innovative programs and activities, reviewing library education curricula, embarking on community projects as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs etc. in order to ensure that libraries remain relevant against the competing roles of Internet and other social media. These are challenges faced in transforming libraries and societies in Malaysia.

We hope that this theme can be applied globally to WLIC 2018 because it would be interesting to know how other countries contribute towards the transformation of their societies through their libraries.

Malaysia celebrates all the various multi-cultural celebrations/events throughout the year. (e.g. Eid Mubarak, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, Gawai, etc.). We hope that delegates will have the opportunity to participate in all these celebrations/events that Malaysia has to offer.

True to its international image “Malaysia is truly Asia” international delegates will be exposed to not only a truly Asian experience but also find that many of their needs and wishes can be accommodated by the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur. We are proud and honoured to be hosting the 84th World Library and Information Congress in Malaysia.

We wish you “ Selamat Datang” to Kuala Lumpur.

Dato’ Nafisah binti Ahmad

Chair, IFLA WLIC 2018 National Committee & President, Librarians Association of Malaysia

Dato’ Dr. Zaiton binti Osman

Co-Chair, IFLA WLIC 2018 National Committee & Consultant, Librarians Association of Malaysia