We would strenuously urge that you reconsider the proposed elimination of Japanese, Korean and cuts to the Chinese and Indonesian collection strategy and the closure of the Asian Reading Room at the National Library of Australia.
Why is this important?
The NLA’s strength in Asia-related resources has always been a magnet, world-wide, drawing academics and researchers to Australia. It put Australia on the map internationally as a major centre for Asian Studies. The significance of this for Australia, the region and the world is self-evident.
In more recent years of budget cuts, most university libraries throughout Australia have ceased collecting in Asian languages with the rationale that the NLA would provide central resources that we all could access. If this ceases to be the case, Asian Studies and the important, hard-won centrality of Australia’s role as a bridge between East and West will be permanently and irretrievably damaged. For that reason, we would urge you to reconsider the proposed new policy, collection strategy and the closure of the Asian Reading Room, long a mecca for international scholars and a place where Asian Australians have felt at home in the NLA since the Colombo Plan and for decades afterward.
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