Yap's report on the 7th Shanghai International Library Forum

The 7th Shanghai International Library Forum (SILF) held in Shanghai Library, Shanghai, China from July 9-11, 2014 attracted about 400 delegates from 26 countries. A total of 46 papers were accepted including my paper entitled, “Introduction of e-reserves at the De La Salle University – Manila Libraries.” The theme for this biennial event is “Libraries in the Transition Era: New Space • New Services • New Experience.” Participants may choose to attend from six subthemes of the forum divided among four parallel-sessions. The subthemes are as follows: (1) the role of and challenges to libraries in the context of digital humanities, (2) library services and management in the big data era, (3) the orientation and development of physical libraries in the network society, (4) diversified library services and core competitiveness, (5) skill requirements and career vision of librarians in the omni-media age, and (6) reading for all and libraries.


The first day was intended for the registration. The second day was the start of the actual event. The opening ceremony was attended by the high officials of the municipality of Shanghai, representatives from the Department of Public Culture of the Ministry of Culture, Shanghai Library Governing Board, National Library of China and Shanghai Library. Two IFLA presidents gave keynote speeches, Ms. Sinikka Sipila provided an update of the IFLA Trend Report and Ms. Ingrid Parent who delivered a message on bridging cultures and communities in a digital world. Six plenary sessions were held on the second day. Speakers from China, Mauritius, Romania, Poland and Russia were engaging and enthusiastic. The most memorable for me was the speaker from Singapore, Ms. Tay Ai Cheng who spoke about the innovative service concepts in the public libraries in Singapore. The highlight of her presentation was the mall libraries. A banquet dinner served as the welcome reception of the event.

The third day was devoted to the parallel sessions. Right after the sessions, the closing ceremony was held. A video presentation which featured the event’s summary was shown to the audience. Participants were also invited to a closing dinner. A copy of the participants list and a DVD containing the event’s highlights were distributed to the attendees. Before we bid goodbye, all participants were given a chance to watch a circus show courtesy of the SILF organizers.


In Singapore, they renovate and restore their public libraries every five years. They adopted the design thinking process wherein they ask what the users want and they try to incorporate and find a way to accept all suggestions given by their patrons. Librarians from Singapore’s mall libraries also roam to check patrons who are in need of help.

In China, they adopt to the recent trends and utilize a mobile text and voice messaging communication app called WeChat to communicate with their patrons. WeChat is a mobile app developed in China.

Public libraries in China, particularly the Shanghai Library have their own "makerspaces”. It is a creative space in the library where users can create, invent, and learn. They have 3D printers where students and researchers can design products and print them. A makerspace is also a space where patrons can collaborate and share programming tools.

On my visit to the Shanghai Library, the Readers’ Services of DLSU may adopt to have its own
IDSmart Bookshower. It is a refrigerator-like machine where a fan softly blows the pages of the book to clean it from any germs. Moreover, the multimedia section of the Shanghai Library has a number of tablets for all its users. As DLSU Libraries embark on more digital resources, this could be another project that the library should consider.  

- Joseph Yap
(Associate Librarian, Information-Reference)