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2017-1-4 Greetings from the Librarian - New National Diet Library Midterm Vision: Universal Access 2020

Portrait of Dr. Hanyu, Librarian of the National Diet Library

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Having been appointed Librarian of the National Diet Library in April, 2016, this is my first opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. So I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone, including the Diet Members of both Houses and all those with a professional interest in our library, for your support and cooperation. I am also grateful for and gratified by your trust in our services, and I assure you that we will make every effort to continue to live up to your expectations.

With the coming fiscal year, we will implement a new midterm plan, and in describing it to you, I would first like to recall once again the raison d'être of our Library.
First of all, Article 130 of the National Diet Law states: The National Diet Library shall be established in the Diet by a separate law, in order to assist Diet Members in their study and research.
The preamble of the National Diet Library Law also proudly describes our principal mission as: The National Diet Library is hereby established as a result of the firm conviction that truth makes us free and with the object of contributing to international peace and the democratization of Japan as promised in our Constitution.
Article 2 of the same law specifies: The National Diet Library shall collect books and other library materials for the purpose of assisting the members of the National Diet in the performance of their duties and also for the purpose of providing certain library services as hereinafter specified for the executive and judicial agencies of the national government and for the people of Japan.
If we take into account of the fact that library materials as fundamentals of the library are undergoing a dramatic transformation, both in quality and quantity, libraries today are faced with the task of adapting proactively to such considerable changes in how they must operate. Given this background, there are two basic intentions behind our adoption of "universal access" as the concept incorporated in the National Diet Library's new vision for the next midterm plan.
The first of these is to compile a plan for ensuring multi-faceted and continuous access to library materials over the long term. The second is to anticipate increased demand for access to our library materials from patrons in countries all around the world.
There are three major roles of the National Diet Library that have not changed since the library's inception. These include providing support to Diet members and their staff, acquiring and preserving library materials and information, and providing the public with access to information resources. In our next midterm plan, we place strong emphasis on achieving future improvement in our overall performance in these areas while focusing on the following four goals.
1. To improve utility in terms of how patrons are able to access library information and materials.
2. To strengthen our organization in a manner that enables all our employees to utilize the full range of their abilities.
3. To promote collaboration with other institutions and organizations in expanding and enhancing our information infrastructure.
4. To distribute comprehensive information about the services at each of our facilities, thereby gaining enhanced understanding of the major roles of the National Diet Library.
Since becoming Librarian, I have made every effort to communicate directly with as many of our staff members as possible. Thus far, I have participated in more than 50 discussions with over 500 staff members. And after thinking about the things that were discussed during these meetings, I decided that "universal access" was the most suitable concept for our new vision.
I assure you that we are committed to achieving the stated goals of our new midterm plan even as we continue to fulfill our major roles based on a clear understanding of the National Diet Library's raison d’être.

And we look forward to your continued support, understanding, and encouragement throughout the coming year.

Sawako Hanyu, Ph.D.
Librarian of the National Diet Library

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