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3.2 Constraints on planning: the state

The Archives of Argentina: Problems and Solutions
Government policies affecting the development and growth of libraries in Southeast Asia - a discussion

The Archives of Argentina: Problems and Solutions

CESAR A. GARCÍA BELSUNCE

In the two centuries of Argentina's existence as a political entity, first as a viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire and then as an independent republic, periods of vigorous efforts to save the documentary resources of the government have alternated with periods of almost complete inattention to the preservation of valuable public records. A movement is in progress to restore the usefulness of government archives after half a century of neglect. As a participant in this movement along with other archivists and government officials, I occasionally ask myself whether our work will have a permanent effect or whether it will vanish at some future time when Argentina's archival heritage will again be forgotten. I may be premature in giving a positive answer to my own question. but I have reason to believe that we are about to make basic, long-lasting improvements in the administration of our government archives.

The vagaries that the public archives of Argentina have been subjected to over the years are largely the result of changes in the nation's polity. The good condition of eighteenth-century government documents that have survived to the present indicates that records-keeping officials of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata handled the manuscripts in their custody with care and maintained well-organized archives. In contrast to the efficient archival administration of the records of the colonial regime, the preservation of government documents produced during the first seventy years of the Republic (1810-80) was haphazard. Officials of the central government began in 1821 to deposit their records in the repository of the city of Buenos Aires, and administrators of each provincial government designated a local repository for their records. but the nation's leaders did not establish a policy on the preservation of public documents. The absence of any government-wide regulations on the maintenance of non-current records reflects the fact that the central and provincial governments were preoccupied with expanding their authority and with developing distinctively republican institutions to replace the monarchical instruments of rule.

During the period 1880-1916, when Argentina rose to the status of a world power the National Archives came into existence and prospered. The growth of national pride prompted public officials to take action to preserve the most important documents relating to the history of Argentina, and in 1884 the government named the Buenos Aires repository as the National Archives (Archivo General de la Nación). Two eminent scholars, Carlos Guido y Spano and Juan J. Biedma amassed a substantial body of government documents in the National Archives and organized the records to serve the interests of historical research.

Regrettably, Argentina's political fortunes went into a gradual decline from 1916 until 1960. and both the National Archives and the archives of the provincial administrations suffered in consequence. As the public agencies atrophied, the flow of documents from government offices to the central and provincial archives either diminished or ceased altogether. Some of the more conscientious directors of the repositories continued to solicit records from agencies and to improve facilities for storing documents. Their commendable work failed to produce a government-wide policy on the preservation of valuable records, however, and most public officials remained ignorant of the reason for the existence of the National Archives or the provincial repositories.

We who are attempting to revivify the public archives of Argentina are pleased at the steps that the government has taken in recent years to improve the archives of the central administration. An executive decree issued in 1979 requires any agency seeking to destroy, transfer, or microfilm a portion of its records to draw up a plan in collaboration with the National Archives and to submit it to the Executive Office of the President for final approval. Not only has the decree abolished the arbitrary destruction of records by agency officials; it has also enabled the National Archives staff to show the officials which of their agency's records are of sufficient worth to be maintained in an archives. In the wake of the issuance of the executive decree, two agencies have announced their support of a thorough reform of the central archival system. The Ministry of the Interior, which has general supervision of the various archives of the national government, has pledged to take sustained action to preserve Argentina's documentary heritage and to promote the National Archives as the leading institution of its kind in the country. As part of a scheme to reorder the entire central administration, the Office of the Under Secretary of Public Functions has declared that it will have the agency archives reorganized in such a way as to facilitate the retrieval of information for officials presently carrying on public business.

These measures have given the movement to revitalize the government's archives a noteworthy start, and the movement appears to be growing. Increasing numbers of administrators are acknowledging the importance of preserving public records. Newsmen are writing and broadcasting more stories about Argentina's archival treasures. The Office of the Under Secretary of Public Functions has expressed its intention of eventually bringing the central and provincial government archives together into a nationwide archival system, and a project for a law to establish and regulate such a system is now being discussed among interested legislators and administrators.

Despite such hopeful signs, we still have years of neglect to overcome before we can restore to our public archives their rightful functions. The accomplishment of that goal depends upon our having a clear idea of the problems affecting Argentina's archives: our devising a plan of action: and our carrying out the plan according to the available means. I will discuss each of these three points in turn.

The most serious problem that we face is the general lack of awareness of the nature of archives and the purpose of maintaining them. Most members of the public do not know how records are preserved or in what ways records are used once they cease to be of value in the conduct of current business. Even for the best-informed people of Argentinian society, the mention of documents stored in an archival repository calls to mind the image of old and dusty objects tucked into the dark crannies of a household attic, awaiting the day on which they will be hauled away as rubbish so as to make room in the attic for more recently discarded things. We often find that people are unreceptive to our arguments in behalf of the central and provincial archives not because they object to the public expense of preserving significant government records, but because they have never even thought about the process of recordkeeping.

Another problem - one that affects provincial and other public archives more severely than it does the National Archives - is an insufficient operating budget. Most of the public archives of Argentina have funds to cover no more than the maintenance of existing equipment. the provision of essential conservation and reference services, and the payment of employees' salaries. Only in response to specific and usually urgent appeals have legislative bodies appropriated funds for archival institutions to purchase new equipment or to expand services. Repositories also lack the means to provide for the advance professional education of their employees, either by hiring instructors to give on-the-job training to archivists, or by giving the archivists scholarships to take appropriate courses at universities. Moreover, some of the directors of archival institutions find it difficult to accept as a professional responsibility the duty to draft a budget and to enlist support for it among key legislators. The inevitable result is that these directors have little or no influence upon the final determination of their operating budget by their respective legislatures.

A third difficulty facing the public archives of Argentina is the inadequacy of the buildings used as repositories. Although some government agencies, such as the Treasury Department, do have buildings constructed specifically to hold their non-current records, most government archives are housed either in a building constructed for other purposes or in some part of a building designed for multiple uses. The National Archives Building was constructed in 1904 as a bank; the archives of the Immigration Service are on a floor of the Hotel de Inmigrantes, constructed at the end of the nineteenth century; and the archives of the Province of Buenos Aires are housed in a multi-purpose structure. An embarrassingly large number of public records are stored in old family residences, acquired by the central and provincial governments, that are falling into ruin because of the lack of proper maintenance. A survey of twenty-six provincial archives, taken in 1979, revealed that ten were in their own buildings. three were in rented structures, and four were in buildings "borrowed" from other agencies. The other nine provincial archives did not even reply to the question on buildings!.

In addition to suffering from a lack of public recognition and from low budgets and poor building facilities, the public archives of Argentina are deficient in professionally trained personnel. People who have been specifically trained as archivists are scarce, and people with legal or historical educational backgrounds who have acquired archival skills on the job are not abundant either. The fact that archival organizations are not highly ranked in the administrative hierarchy means that suitable personnel are hard to recruit. Certainly, many employees have worked faithfully for long years in archives and have by their care saved innumerable valuable records from destruction. Nevertheless, the intellectual devaluation of archives over the past years has resulted in an archival workforce many of whose members do not think of themselves as professionals and have no ambition to progress in their professional education.

The National Archives of Argentina, which as of the beginning of 1980 %%,as authorized to have a staff of 77 (excluding maintenance and cleaning personnel), actually had only 32 staff members. Some had been eliminated because they were unprepared for archival work and some had voluntarily retired; vacancies were being filled only with people qualified to perform archival tasks. Of that staff of 32, 11 were archivists (8 with university degrees); 12 were archives aides (I with a university degree and 5 who were studying for degrees): 7 were technical personnel (2 with university degrees); and 2 were administrative employees (both with diplomas from secondary schools). Thus, again excluding maintenance and cleaning personnel, thirty-five percent of the employees of the National Archives had a university degree or its equivalent as of the beginning of 1980. None of those university-educated people had a degree in archival administration, however.

As of 1979, a total of 253 employees of the provincial archives of Argentina were classified as follows 16 archivists (5 with university degrees). 33 technical personnel (31 with university degrees), and 204 administrative employees (9 with university degrees and 72 with diplomas from secondary institutions). The personnel was very unevenly distributed from institution to institution: 1 repository had more than 20 employees; 11 had between 11 and 20 employees, 10 had between 5 and 10 employees, and 4 had less than 5 employees. The extremes were represented by one institution that had 44 employees, 41 of whom had only a primary education; and one institution whose sole employee - its director - was an archivist with a university degree,

In order to remedy the situation that I have just described, we have prepared a coherent plan of action and are standing firm in our intention of carrying it out. Our first aim is the creation in law of a nationwide system that will encompass the archives of the central government as well as those of the provincial and local administrations. Such a law will replace the old law of 1961, which did not provide for, or even permit, the organization of a nationwide archival system. Our legislators will have to decide whether to enact a rather brief law couched in broad terms. or a longer law whose provisions go into considerable detail. Although a general law has many advantages over a detailed law, I believe that the lack of professional expertise among the people who will have to apply the new archives legislation calls for a law whose terms are quite specific.

The law must clearly define the documentary heritage of the nation; the characteristics of public documents, and the attributes of private documents of interest to the public. It must describe the life cycle of documents from their creation by government offices, to their temporary storage in records centers. and then either to their permanent preservation or else to their destruction. Steps by which archival institutions acquire records from government agencies have to be set forth in the law. In establishing the procedures for gaining access to public records, the law must protect the interests of the State at the same time that it makes the information available to researchers. Finally, the law must set minimum professional standards for archivists, differentiating them from other government employees and from other types of employees who work in archives.

Our second goal, which we think should be worked for at the same time that we strive for the first, is to convey the principles of sound records management to agency officials. We want them to learn the techniques of records appraisal and the scheduling of records for retention or destruction. We also want them to understand the purpose of records centers -- "intermediate archives," as we call them - for the temporary storage of non-current documents.

Our third goal is to make the various archives into sources of information not only for historical researchers, but also for present government officials. We want administrators and legislators to consult archival records in order to make the most knowledgeable decisions possible on matters affecting our citizens.

As our fourth goal. we want to Provide archives with adequate buildings to enable them to receive the records that they are entitled to accession. We want those buildings. furthermore. to be equipped to preserve records for an indefinite period of time.

Our fifth aim is to provide our public archives with an adequate number of qualified personnel. On the basis of the professional standards set in the new archives law, we want to develop courses to train existing archival personnel in basic archival skills and to establish centers for the advanced instruction of archivists.

We realize that we will have to use whatever means are available in order to attain these five objectives. Once a new archives law is passed, for example, we will make a concerted effort to explain its terms to the archival personnel who will be putting the legislation into effect. The same attempts at explanation will be made with government officials whose records we want eventually to bring into the public archives. With regard to the records management part of our program, we will pursue experiments already being conducted in the Intermediate Archives Department of the National Archives in developing principles for the appraisal of current records and in devising general schedules for records retention and destruction.

Our aim of making the archives sources of information for both historical researchers and government officials will probably require the revision of our present system of arrangement, description, and reference. Even as we change those procedures, we will also strive for some degree of uniformity from archival institution to archival institution.

The provision of better buildings for our archives will present difficulties, because of budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, the central government has already decided to furnish the National Archives with a budding specifically designed as a records repository. That decision solves a problem of major importance, and it will no doubt have a favorable effect on our efforts to obtain new archival facilities in the provinces,

Finally, we will do something about our present training for archivists. There is an archival school at the National University of Cordoba, but it is located some 800 kilometers from Buenos Aires, where almost all of the central government's archives are deposited. Students of the archival school at Cordoba do not usually take jobs in Buenos Aires after they have graduated rather, they go to archival institutions in the north and center of the country. Like most of the people of Argentina, these new archivists are not inclined to move away from their families. They are especially deterred from settling in Buenos Aires because it is the most expensive city in South America to live in. On the other hand, agencies of the central government are reluctant to allow any of their employees to take long leaves of absence in order to enroll for training in archival administration in Cordoba. As possible solutions to this situation, we will propose intensive training courses conducted in Buenos Aires by archival experts who live there and by professors of the Cordoba archival school who will be paid to stay for some time in Buenos Aires; basic archival training by correspondence under the supervision of the archival school at Cordoba; and internships at the National Archives for students of the archival school at Cordoba. The best way to solve the problem is to create a second archival school, this one in Buenos Aires - and we will work for that objective, too.

 

Government policies affecting the development and growth of libraries in Southeast Asia - a discussion

OPEN FORUM

First session : Government Policies Affecting the Development and Growth of Libraries in Southeast Asia
Chairman : Mr. A.S. Nasution, Head, Indonesian Delegation
Speakers : Miss Mastini Hardjo-Prakoso, Indonesia
Mr. D.E.K. Wijasuriya, Malaysia
Mr. Koh Thong Ngee, Singapore
Mrs. Amporn Punsri, Thailand
Mr. Rufo Q. Buenviaje, Philippines
Rapporteur : Miss Leonor B. Gregorio

Mr. Nasution: We will start exactly at five o'clock so that we can end the session at six o'clock.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I may appeal to your sense of cooperation to make our conference a success by agreeing to a readjustment of schedule. On this program it is 4:30-5:30 open forum. We have to make it now 5:00-6:00 open forum.

The rules by which I'll try to conduct the session depends on the number of questions raised. If there are more than ten questions, the questions should be written on slips of paper and passed on to me so that I can distribute them to the various speakers. If there are less than ten, I think we will ask the honorable delegates to do it orally. Will that be all right?

May I now ask who would like to ask questions on the papers that were just presented?

Or, should we do it otherwise? Would you please write on a piece of paper the questions that you would like to ask, taking into account that you please write your name on the piece of paper and the addressee of the question--I mean to which delegate is it addressed?

We will allow five minutes for you to please write it down on this note paper?

Miss Sunio: May I direct this question to the Singapore speaker: are all libraries in Singapore under the National Library? You said you have a National Library system in Singapore. I would like to know if all the libraries in Singapore are under the National Library.

Mr. Nasution: Would the delegate from Singapore answer the question? You have three minutes.

Mr. Koh: As I recall a national library system is a system providing public library services as well as national library services to the people. We call it a system because it has got a number of libraries suitably located in the various housing estates and also it has mobile libraries serving the whole nation. The other libraries such as the libraries attached to the institutes of higher learning are not under the National Library system.

Miss Kline: I want to know how does it come that librarians in the Philippines accept without rebellion the idea-not only the idea-the practice that is in this paper, the old idea of accountability, that the librarian is financially accountable for all the books that are lost and as I understand they don't get their salary if the books are not returned. How come librarians in the Philippines are willing to work under that kind of system?

Mr. Nasution: Fortunately, this question is not addressed to me. I'll pass it on to Mr. Buenviaje.

Mr. Buenviaje: Well actually, first, it is a policy. It is a policy that involves not only librarians but all employees who are responsible for government property. And so, in so far as clearing property accountability I think it is applied uniformly whether you are a librarian, whether you are a division chief, whether as a matter of fact you are a commissioner or in whatever position in the organization. So you will have to be subject to clearance. Subjecting yourself to clearance involves certain procedures. We have to follow these procedures because without following procedures and regulations, we may not be properly cleared. If the regulations are applied, then you've got to pay, because anybody who is responsible for property must be responsible for the money value of it if he is not cleared. Clearance is given only when you have complied with the requirements. Although you have lost almost everything so long as you can justify the loss, you will be cleared. It is the Auditor-General who clears you. His decision is final and it is a decision, it is not a mere opinion. He belongs to a separate commission of the government.

Miss Kline: Does this not then bring about a condition in which librarians chain the books to the shelves, lock the glass doors and don't let the children take books home?

Mr. Buenviaje: This should not lead to a situation like that. I think all librarians are responsible enough. When you are given that responsibility, you see to it that books will not be lost. In other words you exercise some diligence and care. Now when after exercising such diligence and care you still find that you lost something then you say, "I hereby apply for relief of loss because of these reasons...." There must be a reason because without it you will be accountable.

Miss Hagger: What is the situation with regards the universities and colleges? I did not get that point in the paper. Is the situation in the universities and colleges the same in this matter of accountability?

Mr. Buenviaje: Actually I have not touched on accountability of state colleges and universities because I am not really aware of the situations therein. Still there are some regulations I think which govern property or property accountability in state-owned colleges and universities.

Mr. Nasution: Miss Feliciano?

Miss Feliciano: Property accountability only pertains to government librarians and those which are financed by government money. It does not pertain to any private or corporation library or private business library. Secondly, property accountability depends upon the book value and book value depreciates year after year. There is a pending bill which may be incorporated in the Revised Administrative Code wherein accountability will be reduced up to 15 per cent only of the book value. Does that answer your question? Thank you.

Miss Hagger: Does it cost the treasury more to implement this compulsory system than it would to write off the few hundred boots without going through all this procedure?

Mr. Buenviaje: These things cannot just be written off. There should be a good reason why this should be done. Procedure is followed to put some kind of order to the system. Understand that although we are exempted from this we cannot just be exempted. You've got to fill some forms and say, "I am exempted from this because of this regulation." Then you sign. It is just trying to put things in order. As you know the government is run on paper. Transactions must be recorded.

Mr. Nasution: May I announce that the Secretariat requests that all open forum discussants identify themselves? I agree with that.

Miss Sunio: I would like to comment on property responsibility in the state colleges. In our college we have an inventory of library books every year and we make a list of all our losses. We have not paid a single cent although we have lost many books. The President recommends to the Auditor that our reasons for losing the books are very reasonable. The Auditor goes to the Auditor-General and we are not requested to pay. So we are free from paying any losses in our library. This is the Philippine Normal College. Also when I was with the high school library we also did not pay a single cent although we lost so many books. We had so many students; our principal went to the Auditor and we were excused. It depends upon the Auditor of the office where the librarian is working.

Mr. Buenviaje: I would like to comment further on that. Of course librarians are not always asked to pay. If you go through all these formalities of exempting yourself from payment then you don't pay anything. It is just a matter of following procedures. That's why I say that even if you lose the whole library, if you can justify the loss and if they approve of it, you don't have to pay.

Mr. Hafenrichter: I would like, Mr. Chairman, if you were able to perhaps make a very rapid consensus of the speakers at Your side on this one point which touches on property accountability. I think this has relevance to the comments given by the Honorable Minister this morning when he was stating that we've got to change our methods of thinking. Our ancient methods must give way to new and renovated methods. The procedures which have this binding impact tend to hamper the end utilization which is service. If there were any discussions within any of the nations within the Southeast Asian area regarding an acceptable annual percentage of loss as revealed in an inventory, it would probably then be possible to put this forward to the government in order that government can change the regulations and convert-towards some kind of annual percentage of reasonable loss. This would do away with our picture of a librarian with keys in hand, opening the cases, putting a few books out, letting people get acquainted. And that's how we solve that, isn't it? I'd appreciate if any discussion has come to the knowledge of the delegates offering papers as they view the legal history that they've been tracing for us. Has there been any discussion, any mention, has anybody ever raised the issue? Can we convert towards some kind of acceptable, reasonable, percentage of acceptable fair wear and tear?

Mr. Nasution: Marina?

Miss Dayrit: In the University of the Philippines, we have convinced the authorities that 3 per cent of the' circulation figures are acceptable losses. So we have never paid for any lost books in the University, although we go through the process of inventory as required by the Administrative Code. I think that 3 per cent of the circulation figures which amounts to around two million in our library is a big percentage.

Mr. Nasution: I think that we have discussed this matter from all aspects. The honorable delegate from the United States has put forward a very useful proposal to collect an annual percentage of lost books--acceptable losses--so that it can be put forward to the government to change the regulations. I think that is good. In our country, in Indonesia, it is almost the same as the Philippines in regard to old books, torn-out and worn-out books.

Mr. Chan: May I make further comment regarding this accountability. I think this patient has been looked at by each country itself. For example, in the National Library of Singapore, we are not required to do stock taking every year. It is not a procedure of our library system. And certainly I think if you are going to put a percentage you are going to restrict the library.

Mrs. Lim: Can Miss Mastini please tell us about her concept proposal for a future National Library of Indonesia?

Miss Mastini: It's a long story. I have a concept proposal to the government and the government has already nominated in 1961 the three libraries--I have it in my paper--that will be the nucleus of the National Library. Those are the Central Museum Library, the Library of Social and Political History, and the Office of the National Bibliography. The three nucleus fortunately are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, but in my proposal it would be ideal if the National Library will be directly under the State Secretariat like the National Archives of Indonesia, because if it is under the Department of Education and Culture the budget will be very restricted. So in my proposal, if the government agrees, the coming National Library of Indonesia will be under the State Secretariat. My concept proposal is firstly on the status of the national library. The second concept proposal is concerning the structure of the national library. I am doing this.

Mr. Nasution: This paper has no identification. "To any speaker: is there a need for Coordinated action on legal provisions for libraries in Southeast Asia?"

Mr. Wijasuriya: In my own view, no, simply because legal provision is essentially a national consideration, not regional.

Mr. Nasution: "To each speaker: are you satisfied with legal provisions you described? Mention the most important provisions still needed." Unidentified. Because it is to each speaker, I will ask you to answer.

Miss Mastini: Indonesia doesn't have a legal deposit law. And are you satisfied with legal provisions you described? I didn't describe it yet. (LAUGHTER)

Mr. Wijasuriya: I wish I could handle it in the same way., No, I don't think we are satisfied with the legal provisions we described. I think there is very much more to be done. But I hesitate to make any clever announcements at this stage.

Mr. Koh: In Singapore we have the provision for the deposit of books to the printers and publishers. The law requires that the publishers deposit five copies. Sometimes this could be very expensive for the publishers of multivolume works, but I still think that for the National Library and the two university libraries--of course, from the point of view of the libraries-.I think we are satisfied with it.
Now as for the most important provisions still needed, as I mentioned in my paper, we have a national library law but the law is not so enacted as to make it compulsory. It only regulates the activities and responsibilities of the National Library, but it does not make it compulsory for the other libraries to be brought under this national library act. But at the moment I cannot feel too strongly about whether we should bring all the libraries under this act. That is kind of difficult.

Mrs. Amporn: No, we don't have the legal provision, but we need to have, too.

Mr. Buenviaje: Well, actually the question here is, "Are you satisfied with the legal provisions that you described? Mention the most important provision still needed." Actually there are so many, I think. For one, the accountability of property. I think there should be more explicit regulations. So probably we have to make a study of what the practice is, say, in state universities which should be applied to all state universities; probably those that are now in force may have to be modified. For example, prices stated here are way back in 1958 so some sort of adjustment should be made. And also policies on government publications, for example. In this country we do not yet have a unified system of publication of government publications. There is a central government printer but actually this printer cannot print all government publications. We probably should have some kind of an office which deals with selling government publications aside and apart from the printing and publishing process. I think also there are some--these are of course personal opinions. There must, I think, be a more coordinated program for libraries in at least the government sector. As I have described, each of these libraries are under each different office so the only seeming tie-up between all of these government offices is the submission Of requisitions to the National Library, which is sometimes not enforced strictly, so probably this has to be more strictly enforced. Those are some of the things I have at the moment.

Mr. Nasution: This question is addressed to Mrs. Amporn Punsri from Thailand. "Table on Page 3: the class of positions is attractive. Is it successfully applied and give reasonable benefit to the librarian? Please tell us frankly." From Mrs. Hadian of Indonesia.

Mrs. Amporn: For the table on page 3, you ask about the benefit of the librarian. But I think as for the cost of living in Thailand--the salary scale here is all in baht, about 3 baht for 1 peso. I think it is not successful because the salary is so low. We need more salary than this for the cost of living now.

Mrs. Hadian: It is not successfully applied yet?

Mrs. Amporn: No.

Mrs. Hadian: Thank you.

Mr. Nasution: This is not a question, but a message from Mr. Rompas of Indonesia: "I wonder if all speakers have already the same definition and interpretation about the National Library. What does it mean, how is it organized, and how does it function. If we don't have the same meaning, I think we have to make it clear first." And then follows a message from Miss Yolanda Beh, SEAMEO Regional English Language Centre. Would you please come forward and read the message?

Miss Beh: I thought you didn't want us to do that. (LAUGHTER) It is simply this: this report where we mention the RELC Library and Information Centre.

Mr. Nasution: So far we have run out of written questions. Any oral question? Mr. Ward from Unesco?

Mr. Ward: I typed this for CONSAL. I submitted this a long time ago.

Mr. Nasution: This is another tough question to be answered and unfortunately to me English is always without tears.

Recently the President has decreed that 66,000 primary schools throughout the country will get each a set of a hundred books. That project has to be finished in actually three months, but we managed to make it six months. Now, there are these problems to that very good decree of the President. No single title of Indonesian books has been published in copies of more than 5,000. To be frank about that, no division of the Department of Education and Culture has yet managed to collect an exact statistics of the number of primary schools. That is because the local populations always manage to establish primary schools on their own. The average number--they put it at 66,000 - - but I am more inclined to say that it is close to 80,000. Because as in the case of Central Borneo and Central Kalimantan, the statistics say 950, reality says 1,500 or a difference of 550. The third main problem, where can we get the paper in order to be able to print a hundred titles of 66,000 copies. I think we need about 700-800 tons of printing paper.

If you manage to overcome all these difficulties there is still the problem of how to distribute them. Where will be the terminal point of distribution? If the books are not in sets and we ask the publishers to publish the books and then send them on to the district heads in the provinces, do the district heads have the mechanism to put all the titles into sets and then send them on to schools? Because if we have to put the books into sets in Jakarta, there will arise the problem of go-downs, personnel, and then shipment. Fortunately or unfortunately, I may say I have been assigned to make the project a success. I have already told them frankly if we succeed only 50 per cent, we may be lucky. It will be my first job once I am back in Jakarta, to collect the team and then discuss the problems that will surely arise. Not that they may arise, but that surely will arise. In this case I ask for your prayers, not for your congratulations. Thank you very much, Mr. Ward.

Mr. Ward: Will you tell me how much money is involved?

Mr. Nasution: Actually that is one aspect that I haven't mentioned yet. It is 150 rupiahs per book which is about half the average price of books in Indonesia. Also that side has to be solved first. How to get an average price of 150 rupiahs for each book for this project. Maybe by lowering the number of average pages or by lowering the physical standard--I mean--not the standard printing paper, but we call it in Indonesia hahai-l don't know how it is called in English, it's Dutch, hahai--maybe Mr. Van Kuyk can translate that to me.

Mr. Van Kuyk: I don't know myself. I've not met the word.

Mr. Nasution: Huitfrei. Newsprint--I think that's it. Because I'm not a technician to know all the details, I'm sorry.

Father Suchan: Mr. Chairman, I've been working in the Philippines trying to promote children's books for a home library. I find that I think that although you have a big job you have a blessing in that the government is behind the program of distributing books to schools. We have 40,000 elementary schools in the Philippines and by law each one of them is to have a library. And in fact--we are not quite sure of the facts--but we know a great majority of them, at least a majority, do not have a library. And so when we put our heads together and try to solve this problem, it often seems that the government would do something very good if they would put out a decree such as this. But we don't know how you got that decree. Tell us please, what did you tell them to get that decree? To my mind it's wonderful and I'd like to work on one like it.

Mr. Nasution: I think I have to answer that modestly because I didn't do it. All we did was to get the President make a speech during International Book Year and he did it and we managed some way because of the cooperation of the State Secretariat to include books for the common man". And then another division of the department put a proposal forward so there was some money left out of the last year of International Book Year. It was money from the State Oil Company, I think. I am not sure. The President decided that it be used to build 6,000 schools and establish a library of 100 books in all primary schools, private- and government-owned without any discrimination, which number around 70,000 or 75,000 schools. All I can say once more is we hope we manage because if we don't manage we will not get the same sympathy again next year. Because the idea is once we start with 100 books and go on each year for maintenance and growth, and I am sure too of course as Miss Mastini said just now in number of titles produced annually, I may say without hesitation that according to the statistics we may be one of the lowest countries in the world, but this decision of the government will I hope improve the position of the private printing enterprises, because we have decided that all the books to be bought from this money should be books published by private enterprises. This time we will not include government publications.

Miss Luwarsih: This gathering seems to love to discuss about law so I put one more question about that. One read with interest the paper of Mr. Wijasuriya which said here, on page 3, that in Sarawak and Sabah, even without the back-up of law, the service seems to go much better than in the other provinces provided or backed with law. Would you please try to tell us, Mr. Wijasuriya, the reasons or probable historical background why it works better there in Sabah and Sarawak?

Mr. Wijasuriya: Yes, thank you, Miss Luwarsih. It is really a question that is rather difficult to answer. This is the fact of the situation, true, that libraries in Sabah and Sarawak seem to have got ahead despite the fact that there is no legislative provision and as far as I am able to determine at this stage, they have no intention of considering any such legislation for some time. Now, this does not necessarily imply that we should abandon our efforts towards legislation in the other states. I have really not been able to determine at this stage what has been the real reason for this. I think it is clearly an area of far more detailed investigation before any kind of pronouncements can be made. I think what I would like to stress here despite this illogicality is that we need not just to go into legislation to give us the legislative base before we start our endeavours in this sector, but to go far beyond that, and not to assume that merely with the passing of legislative enactments we have completed the exercise. Really we have only begun. And this is really the point I was trying to make out. And this seeming illogicality should not be seen as a reason to abandon the legislative provision and forge ahead with library development. I would rather not advise that.

I know I didn't answer your question, but I don't know the answer myself.

Miss Luwarsih: Thank you.

Miss Sharifah: Mr. Chairman, I think it was more or less an historical reason why they are now where they are, because while they were under the British they were very much more well established than when the British left Peninsula Malaysia for instance. So we are just starting when they have gone that far on their own before they got their independence.

Mr. Wijasuriya: Well, the historical background certainly plays a part, but I of course don't wish to discuss this issue myself, because I feel that it is an area that needs to be studied in greater detail. Certainly the historical background Counts, and the British have done a lot in Sabah and Sarawak and the same did not take place in Peninsula Malaysia. This is a factor quite definitely, but I would hesitate to put this as the total situation.

Mr. Nasution: The lady from Malaysia, please?

Mrs. Nadarajah: I would like to pose a question to the delegate from Thailand. I refer to page 3, the second table on page 3 and the last column-which is indicated as ,remarks", where you state there are two categories of university librarians and the university librarian in fact is an instructor gets a salary scale which is well and above a university librarian who is purely a university librarian without teaching responsibility. It appears to me that there are tremendous benefits to be derived if a university librarian decides to establish a library school within the university and by that gain a tremendous increase in salary scale. I would like to ask not only from you but also from the other Thai delegates here to what extent is this really desirable?

Mrs. Amporn: Miss Suthilak, will you please answer the question?

Miss Suthilak: Could you repeat your question?

Mrs. Nadarajah: (Repeats the question.)

Miss Suthilak: So you mean, if we are satisfied with the salary scale here if we are lecturers and librarians? We are not satisfied with it. We do not want to hold both positions.

Mr. Nasution: The chief delegate from Thailand.

Mrs. Maenmas: Mr. Chairman, may I answer this rather awkward situation. We are not satisfied. And I think we are somehow, in trying to improve the status and get satisfactory, we get caught in our own trap and we are now trying to find out how we are going to get out of it. It's really a very long story and I think perhaps within these--I think perhaps that because teaching status, teaching staff is considered a little bit higher than regular civil servant and this just happened not so many years ago. Of course this creates some rather difficult situations. In many university libraries there is no such position as a librarian proper. Usually the teaching staff will carry both functions. It is only with some new universities now that they start separating and in starting to separate the teaching staff of the library school will carry academic status with some benefits also. The librarians would be under civil service. You see the teaching staff would be under university authority. There are two authorities. Many of the librarians would rather 'be in the teaching staff and carry the teaching load as well. So I think in actual practice as far as I remember there is not even one librarian under civil service. Most of them are teaching staff, carrying two functions. This, as said here, I don't think satisfied anybody.

Do I answer your question? Thank you very much.

Mr. Nasution: I think it is now six o'clock. We have accomplished our mission so far as the hour is concerned. May I thank you for your tolerance and may I ask your excuse for any shortcomings in the way I chaired this session. Thank you very much.

 


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