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JSIST 2004 Pages: December 9, 2004

Visit to the International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL)

Speaker: SAKURAI Takeo, ILCL, NDL

December 4, 2004

The ILCL was founded as a branch of the National Diet Library (NDL) in January 2000. This report is based on a guided tour of ILCL given by Mr. Takeo Sakurai and an English pamphlet "The International Library of Children's Literature," available at ILCL.

The missions of the ILCL: "Children's books link the world and open up the future"

  • The ILCL provides internationally linked library services for children's literature and related materials published in Japan and in other countries.
  • The ILCL provides various programs devoted to enhancing the reading and information-gathering environment for children.

History and Facilities
The building was originally constructed in 1906 as the Imperial Library and thus exhibits typical Meiji-era Western Renaissance architecture. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has designated the building as a metropolitan historic building. In renovating the building to be a new library for children's literature, the NDL decided to preserve the design and structure while refurbishing the building with modern technology, such as earthquake-resistant structural features. The renowned architect Tadao Ando designed the renovation, and the expanded part shows his signature-style, concrete walls, and not a few visitors come to the ILCL to study Ando's design. The ILCL's three floors are divided up as follows:

  • First floor: Children's Library; "Meet the World" room, and Story Hour Room
  • Second floor: Researcher's Reading Room 1, 2
  • Third floor: Museum, Media Corner and Hall

Collection and Services
As of October 2004, the ILCL owned ca. 177,000 volumes of books and 1,504 serial titles. Different from the NDL, the ILCL has open stacks so that users can browse the shelves. The online catalog database is independently operated, but the materials held by the ILCL can be searched through the NDL-OPAC as well. The daily average number of visitors is around 300 (mostly adult researchers) on weekdays and 600 on weekends. The ILCL receives tour requests from school librarians and teachers. The ILCL supports school libraries by lending selected collections to school libraries so that students can use the materials at their own schools.

Media Corner and the ILCL Digital Picture Book Collection
The Media Corner is equipped with nine touch-screen PCs on which visitors can use commercial CDs as well as unique digital resources created by the ILCL for researchers on children's literature. The ILCL digitizes children's books published in Japan before 1950. As a part of its digital picture book gallery project, the ILCL created "The Picture Book as Stage" featuring the works of Kate Greenaway, Randolph Coldecott and Walter Crane, the founders of the picture book genre in nineteenth century England. For its second digitization project of picture books, the ILCL selected approximately 300 illustrations from a well-known pre-war children's magazine, Kodomo no kuni, along with works by such famous artists as Takehisa Yumeji and Higashiyama Shin'kichi, a.k.a., Higashiyama Kaii. Because of copyright restrictions, some materials are available for use only in the library. On-site users enjoying the full range of available resources are able to recreate the children's culture of nineteenth century England and early twentieth century Japan.

The time allocated for visiting the ILCL was rather short, but my experience there was very informative and enjoyable. I was very happy when I found my favorite book from my childhood, and perhaps parents who bring their children to this library feel a similar excitement when they encounter the books they loved as children. I was also impressed by ILCL's collaboration with local school librarians. I appreciate the ILCL staff members who take an active part in promoting children's reading activities and preserve and make available children's literature from Japan and around the world. I also thank Mr. Takeo Sakurai for guiding us through the library.

Related URLs:
ILCL Site:
Volumes of ILCL collection:
Picture Books Gallery

[Prepared by Michiko Ito.]

2004 Japan Studies Information Specialists Training Seminar Workshop: Information Literacy Education in a Digital Age: With a Focus on Academic Libraries Related to Japanese Studies

Ms. Keiko Higuchi convened the workshop which had over 100 attendants from various academic and research institutions in Japan and the JSIST participants. The workshop consists of two parts: 1) information literacy programs at academic libraries, and 2) support activities for information literacy education.

The part one began with introductory remarks by Ms. Sharon Domier, which was followed by presentations on the information literacy programs developed at the libraries of five institutions: Keio University, Japan (by Ms. Michiyo Yanase), University of Tokyo, Japan (by Ms. Ako Iizuka), University of Sidney, Australia (by Ms. Riri Otsuka), Manitoba University, Canada (by Asako Yoshida), and University of Washington, U.S.A. (by Ms. Keiko Yokota-Carter). The session was closed with a presentation on key points of information literacy education by Ms. Domier.

The part two consists of two presentations on the workshop programs with which participants are trained in information literacy instruction: Ms. Megumi Narusawa of the National Institute of Informatics (NII) discussed its workshops for instructors of information literacy at academic institutions in Japan (情報リテラシー教育担当者研修), and Toshie Marra of the University of California, Los Angeles, presented the Training the Trainers Workshops organized by the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources.

A reception followed the workshop.

The Website for the Workshop prepared by Ms. Keiko Higuchi, The International House of Japan.

[Prepared by Toshie Marra.]

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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