Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians



The Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL) was founded in Singapore in 1970 as the Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians.It was a regional body formed to provide a platform for librarians of Southeast Asian Nations to have dialogues and to promote cooperation.

CONSAL’s four specific objectives are: to establish and strengthen relations among librarians, libraries, library schools, library associations and related organisations in the region; to promote cooperation in the development of librarianship, library and information sciences, documentation, information and related activities in the region; to cooperate with other regional and international organisations, and other institutions in the support of common undertakings and interests of CONSAL; and to provide a platform for sharing and exchanging of information and experiences on issues in the field of librarianship, library and information sciences, documentation, information and related services in the region.2

CONSAL receives financial support from international organisations, governments and firms within the Southeast Asian region, and organisations outside the region, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the Commonwealth Foundation and the National Library of Australia. It also organises various fund-raising activities for further financial support.3

Among CONSAL’s completed regional projects are: Masterlist of Southeast Asian Microfilms, edited by Winarti Partaningrat (1978); Directory of Librarians in Southeast Asia, edited by Marina, G. Dayrit and Namnama P. Hidalgo (1980); and Southeast Asian Microfilms Newsletter, 1972-93, edited by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.4

Background and establishment
In 1969, a Conference on Southeast Asian Research Materials was held at Puntjak, near Jakarta, Indonesia, and was attended by eminent scholars, archivists and librarians. It was at this conference that the idea of forming a regional organisation for Southeast Asian Nations was conceived. The founders of CONSAL were said to have been librarians from five Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – who had attended the conference.6


CONSAL was formally formed through the collaboration between the Library Associations of Singapore and Malaysia. The first CONSAL conference was held in Singapore on 14–16 August 19707 where its Constitution was adopted by delegates8 from the library professions in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, representatives from Australia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States of America also participated as observers.9 By the time CONSAL III took place in 1975, there were five core member countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.10 CONSAL IV in 1978 saw it renamed the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians.11 

CONSAL conferences

CONSAL members take turns to host each conference. Conferences generally happen once every three years.12 The CONSAL executive board comprises three national members from each member country and is responsible for accomplishing CONSAL’s objectives. These include tasks such as prioritising recommendations and resolutions presented to the board, maintaining the official and financial records of CONSAL, as well as conducting reviews of programmes, projects or activities undertaken by CONSAL.13

In 1983, CONSAL VI was held in Singapore.  This was the second time Singapore had hosted the conference. About 400 delegates participated in CONSAL VI, which was held at the Shangri-La Hotel from May 30 to June 3 to coincide with the National Library’s 25th anniversary celebrations. The conference was deliberately held two years after the previous session, instead of the usual three, to coincide with the celebrations.14 Jointly organised by The Library Association of Singapore and the National Library, the theme for the conference was The Library in the Information Revolution.15 One of the recommendations made during CONSAL VI was to consider the feasibility of reconstituting CONSAL as an ASEAN non-governmental organisation16 in order to receive potential funding as part of ASEAN’s Culture and Information division. However, such a move would mean that non-ASEAN member states could only be associate members of CONSAL.17 Proceedings of CONSAL VII suggested that this move did not happen, as it was stated that “CONSAL is a non-governmental organization and it does not come under the purview of national government within the region neither does it fall under the purview of ASEAN, SEAMEO or any other regional organization.”18 Brunei joined as a member from CONSAL X in 1996 and Cambodia and Vietnam rejoined at CONSAL XI in 2000 along with Laos.19 Membership reached 10 countries when Myanmar joined the group at CONSAL XII in 2000.20

In 1999, the Library Association of Singapore launched CONSAL Web. This website featured news, editorials and analysis of regional developments in libraries. With the formation of the CONSAL Secretariat in April 2000, the website was transferred to the Secretariat hosted by the National Library Board of Singapore. Following this, the new CONSAL Web, a learning and networking portal for librarians in the region, was launched on 24 April 2001 by David Lim, then Minister of State for Defence and Information and the Arts, at Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore.21 

A permanent CONSAL secretariat was established in 2000. The Secretariat is responsible for coordinating CONSAL approved projects. Its formation was officially announced during by then Minister Lee Yock Suan during the joint opening of the 11th Congress of CONSAL, the inaugural Asia International Book Fair and the International Library Expo on 26 April 2000.22 The CONSAL Secretariat was hosted by Singapore for a period of three years from 2000 onwards. The first secretary-general of the CONSAL Secretariat was R. Ramachandran.23

Theme, host country and date of each CONSAL conference24

Author
Heirwin Md Nasir



References
1. First Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians. (1971). Singapore Libraries, 1, 70–72. (Call no.: RSING 020.5 SL)
2. CONSAL. (2006). CONSAL constitution. Retrieved 2018, May 4 from Internet Archive Wayback Machine website (archived on 2013, October 5): https://web.archive.org/web/20131005214137/http://www.consal.org:80/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=84
3. Le, T. D. (2008). A history of CONSAL. Retrieved 2018, May 4, from Internet Archive Wayback Machine website (archived 2013, October 5): https://web.archive.org/web/20131005220009/http://www.consal.org:80/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70&Itemid=102
4. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 62. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON)
5. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 20. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON)
6. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 21. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON)
7. Lim, P. H. P.Lim, H. T., & Syed Ahmad, A. (1972). Proceedings of the first Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians : held at the University of Singapore on 14th16th August 1970. (Call no.: RSING 021.00959 CON)
8. Regional body of libraries formed. (1970, August 17). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. First Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians. (1971). Singapore Libraries, 1, 70. (Call no.: RSING 020.5 SL)
10. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 58. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON)
11. Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians. (1978). 4th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians on regional co-operation for the development of national information systems, June 59, 1970. Bangkok, Thailand. (Call no.: RSING 021.650959 CON)
12. CONSAL. About CONSAL: History. Webpage archived on 2008, May 20. Retrieved from Web Archive Singapore via http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/webarchives/
13. CONSAL. (2006). CONSAL constitution. Retrieved 2018, May 4 from Internet Archive Wayback Machine website (archived on 2013, October 5):https://web.archive.org/web/20131005214137/http://www.consal.org:80/index.phpoption=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=84                                                        
14. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 36. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON)
15. Sixth meeting of librarians being planned. (1982, April 14). The Straits Times, p. 10; 400 librarians meeting here. (1983, May 29). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. The library in the information revolution: Proceedings of the Sixth Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Singapore, 30 May–3 June 1983. (1983). Singapore: Maruzen Asia, p. 636. (Call no.: RSING 021.00959 CON- [LIB])
17. Congress of librarians may become Asean group. (1983, June 4). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians. (1987). Proceedings of the seventh Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians / Manila, 15-21 February 1987. Manila: Asia Foundation Philippines. (Call no.: RSING 027. 059 CON)
19. Khoo, S. M. (Ed.). (1996). Memorable journey: Commemorating 25 years of CONSAL (Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians), 1970–95. Kuala Lumpur: CONSAL X, p. 3. (Call no.: RSEA 020.623259 CON); Lee, V. (2000, June). CONSAL XI: an event for librarians, p. 10. NTU Library Bulletin, 9(2), 10-12. (Call no.: RSING 020.5 NTULB)
20. Ministry of Information and The Arts. (2000, 26 April). Opening Address by Minister Lee Yock Suan at the joint opening of the 11th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Asia International Book Fair and International Library Expo. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/2000042602/lys20000426b.pdf; Organising Committee of CONSAL XVII. (2018). 17th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, 2-5 May 2018, Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Retrieved from CONSAL XVII website: http://www.consalxvii.org/; Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei. (2003). Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL XII): “information resources empowerment: enhancing knowledge heritage”: 2023 October 2003, International Convention Centre (ICC), Berakas, Brunei Darussalam, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 029.059 CON)
21. Website to link librarians in the region. (2001, April 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board Singapore. (2002). Annual report 2001/2002. Singapore: Author, p. 23. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.05957 SNLBAR-[AR]); Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2001, April 24).Speech by Minister of State for Defence and Informations and the Arts, Mr David T. E. Lim at the Joint Celebration of Emerging Trends in Library & Archival Service (e-tlas), Asia International Book Fair (AIBF), International Library Expo (ILE), Publishing and Library Asia (PAL). Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
22. Ministry of Information and The Arts. (2000, 26 April). Opening Address by Minister Lee Yock Suan at the joint opening of the 11th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Asia International Book Fair and International Library Expo. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/2000042602/lys20000426b.pdf
23. CONSAL. About CONSAL: History. Webpage archived on 2008, May 20. Retrieved from Web Archive Singapore via http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/webarchives/
24. National Library (Philippines) and Philippine Librarians Association. (2006). CONSAL at the crossroads: Challenges for greater regional cooperation, Manila, 25–30 March 2006. Manila: Philippine Librarians Association and National Library of the Philippines. (Call no.: RSEA q021.640959 CON- [LIB])
25. Sunny, N. H. (2009). Conference proceedings: Towards dynamic libraries and information services in Southeast Asian countries. Hanoi: Vietnamese Library Association. (Call no.: RSEA 021.640959 CON- [LIB])
26. Basuki, S. (2012). National heritage: Preservation and dissemination: Proceedings of the 15th CONSAL Meeting and General Conference, Bali, Indonesia, 28–31 May 2012. Jakarta: National Library of Indonesia. (Call no.: 021.640959 CON- [LIB])
27. The 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians meeting and general conference (CONSAL XVI): ASEAN aspirations: libraries for sustainable advancement, 10–13 June 2015, Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Bangkok, Thailand: List of papers. (2015). Bangkok: CONSAL XIV. (Call no.: RSEA 025.210959 CON- [LIB])
28. Organising Committee of CONSAL XVII. (2018). 17th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, 2-5 May 2018, Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Retrieved 2018, September 17 from CONSAL XVII website: http://www.consalxvii.org/




The information in this article is valid as at November 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.







 

 

 

Subject
Singapore--History
Libraries--Singapore
Library cooperation--Singapore
Organisations>>Associations
Organisations
Science and technology>>Library and information science>>Library and information services