New Delhi, 22 Jan.05: The 8th Biennial Conference of Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific (APLAP) which concluded today has decided to hold the 9th Conference of the APLAP in Wellington, New Zealand in September 2006. Sixty-eight Delegates/Observers from forty Parliaments/Legislatures attended the Conference which was hosted by the Parliament of India.

The Conference was inaugurated by the Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shri Somnath Chatterjee, on 18 January 2005. The Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Sardar Charanjit Singh Atwal, the Secretary-General of Lok Sabha, Shri G.C. Malhotra, President of APLAP, Shri R.C. Ahuja, and the Secretary of APLAP, Ms. Roslynn Membrey, addressed the participants at the inaugural function.

Inaugurating the Conference on 18 January 2005, Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Somnath Chatterjee said that the right to know and the right to information are crucial factors in a successful democratic system. An informed parliamentarian can be of immense help in the emergence of an informed democracy and an informed electorate can strengthen the edifice of democracy. Shri Chatterjee observed that the emergence of democracy as the most preferred and accepted system of governance across the world and the revolutionary growth in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are the most remarkable developments of the last quarter of the previous century. Information is seen as the greatest source of power in today’s world, he added.

Delivering the Keynote Address on 19 January 2005 in the First Session of the Conference, Shri G.C. Malhotra, Secretary-General, Lok Sabha stressed on the role of information in strengthening the democratic values. He said that as democracy has been the accepted form of governance, the resultant freedom of thought and expression, expansion of educational facilities and increase in the production of recorded knowledge, has led to a rapid growth of libraries and information centers the world over.

The Conference which met in Six Sessions deliberated on the main Theme "Changing Dimensions of Parliamentary Library and Information Services in the Third Millennium". The remaining five Sessions were devoted to five related themes, viz. "Research and Reference Services for Members"; "Library Services for Members"; "Bringing Parliament Nearer to the People: Communicating Parliament"; "IT in Parliamentary Library and Information Services"; and "Changing Dimensions of Library and Information Services in India". The Keynote Addresses on the above themes were delivered by Ms. Katherine Close (New Zealand); Ms. Roslynn Membrey (Australia); Shri N.K. Sapra (India); Dr. Karl-Min Ku (Chinese Taipei); and Dr. Jagdish Arora (India), respectively.

Country Papers/other papers presented by the Delegates/eminent librarians from New Delhi delineated the operational dynamics of Library and Information Management in their Parliaments/Legislatures. The discussions centering on the main theme focused on sharing of experiences and identifying areas of common concern which warranted concerted action in the new Millennium.

The APLAP Executive Committee requested the Presiding Officers of the Parliaments of the Asia-Pacific region to support the work of the APLAP and individual Parliamentary Libraries in their endeavours. The Executive Committee of the APLAP expressed its profound gratitude to the Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shri Somnath Chatterjee, for his kind support in hosting the Conference and also thanked all Presiding Officers of the Member/participating Legislatures for nominating Delegates/ Observers to the New Delhi Conference.

The Conference, which commenced with the observance of one minute's silence in memory of the victims of the recent Tsunami devastation, also adopted a Condolence Resolution in this regard.

The New Delhi Conference has been a major milestone in furthering the objectives of the Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific.

Dr. Karl-Min Ku (Chinese Taipei), Ms. Katherine Close (New Zealand) and Ms Azeemunnisa Khan (Malaysia) have been elected as the new President and the Vice-Presidents of the Pacific and the Asian Region respectively for the period 2005-2006. Ms. Roslynn Membrey (Australia) and Ms. Rasieli Bau (Fiji) are the new Secretary and Treasurer respectively.