2024 National Library of Australia Asia Study Grant recipient – a reflection

Anita Dewi

I had opportunity to spend all February this year at the National Library of Australia (NLA) as an Asia Study Grant recipient. I felt so privileged! During the four-week period, I explored the NLA’s Indonesian collections, researching libraries, librarianship, and librarians in Indonesia – the past and present. Most resources I consulted were in Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language), so I found my Indonesian language competence very helpful. The NLA collections on this topic (and I’m sure also beyond) are amazingly comprehensive.

Given the limited time at the NLA, however, I had to narrow down my literature-based research project to focus on three areas: 1) conceptualisations of libraries and librarianship in Indonesia over time; 2) Indonesian government regulations of libraries; and 3) how libraries and librarianship in Indonesia have evolved across time and been adaptive in the digital era. One fact that I found very interesting is the involvement of Australian librarians in the development of library education since the nation’s early days (in the 1950s).

My next plan is to disseminate what I have discovered from this project to a broader audience in English, as most discussion on the topic has been predominantly in Bahasa Indonesia. I have also kept a ‘for later’ list of NLA resources, with the hope that I will get an opportunity to come back to NLA and explore further. One thing worth to mention here is that while the topic is not about Australia, the fact that Indonesia is the closest neighbour to Australia has made it important for us in Australia to understand this neighbouring country.

So, what’s in it for me? Well, the findings from my time at the NLA will add to findings from my other research projects, which should enable me to create a ‘coherent story’ under the umbrella of professional identity. This, I believe and hope, will bring about impact on the discipline and profession.

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