I may well be the least qualified to talk about the history of the East Asia Resource Group of Australia (EALRGA), given my short work history in East Asian libraries in Australia since 2007. Only after reading Andrew Gosling's address on the 30th anniversary of EALRGA I did discover that EALRGA is already in its 36th year since its establishment in 1977.
Andrew stated that "Considering the small number of East Asian librarians in Australia that [thirty years] is a real achievement. EALRGA has depended on a few dedicated librarians, mainly current and former staff." We are blessed that in recent years we continue to have a lot of former staff who are always available to seek advice from and be our EALRGA encyclopaedia at any time. Today we have dedicated librarians with a scope of interest from East Asia to South East Asia to engage in the many conversations around best practice.
The ongoing challenges of limited resources, changes in organizational environments, and how scholarly information resources are to be preserved and communicated have not slowed down the pace of EALRGA. Indeed the past two years have been eventful, especially on conversations between East Asian libraries resources users and librarians in forums of ASAA, CSAA, JSAA, and KSAA. The release of the White Paper of Australia in the Asian Century last year brought a new wave of awareness and momentum for Asian knowledge and gave new opportunities to groups like ASAA and ALIA to contribute their responses to the public.
While the group of newly elected committee members has begun the conversation on how to strengthen communication to facilitate exchange and collaboration among those who are interested in East Asian Library Resource in Australia, it will be a challenge for us all to match all that have been achieved by the previous Committee.
Especial thanks to Bick-har Yeung for her vision of implementing a sound structure for EALRGA. This will benefit the long term sustainability of the Group. Bick-har brought to the group regular annual meetings and continuous presence in major conferences in the past two years. She quietly nudged everyone she could to move the group forward and things really happened. We resurrected the constitution (established in 1977) so that Committee members are re-selected every two years. In this round we have a diverse group consisting of librarians from Melbourne and Canberra, with broad and inclusive representation on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean librarianship!
I would like to thank Wan Wong. Even though she moved out of the East Asian library arena from the NLA for a while, she still supports the group and works many hours to maintain our bank account, digitized all EALRGA newsletters from issue 1 in Nov 1978, and organised migration of the EALRGA website to the current URL domain. Also thanks to Michelle Hall for stepping in to be the Newsletter editor for last year.
The passion of the ex-committee member is contagious, it will and has already infected the incoming group for a delightful start with the Annual General Meeting held on 22 July.
Please check out the Minutes of the meeting for the various initiatives that will come and we look forward to active sharing and participations on EALRGA conversations and activities from a broader community.
The Australian National University Library
Andrew Gosling, "Thirtieth Anniversary of the East Asian Library Resources Group of Australia", East Asian Library Resources Group of Australia Newsletter 53 (December 2008),