Local publishers urged to submit works to State Library to fulfil legal obligation

Dr Rashidah showing a publication submitted by a publisher.

SIBU, Oct 12: Pustaka Sarawak is calling on local publishers to submit copies of their publications to the Legal Deposit Collection of the State Library which is a requirement under the state library ordinance.

Pustaka Negeri chief executive officer Dr Rashidah Bolhassan in saying this at a press conference here today to announce the official opening of Sibu Library on Oct 21, revealed Sarawak is the first state in the country which has made it a legal requirement for publishers to surrender their publications to the state library.

Sabah would be the next to follow suit.

“Under our ordinance, a publisher can be fined up to RM3,000 for not surrendering their publications to us. However we have yet to fully enforce the law. At the moment we are educating them in a positive manner so that they are aware of the requirement. This is a win-win situation,” she said.

Dr Rashidah highlighted the purpose of the legal deposit was to preserve the intellectual heritage of the state.

“The publication can either be in print or digital format. Our goal is to preserve them in our archive for future generations. If we don’t preserve them, they might be lost in no time,” she said.

She said publications which the publishers had to submit could either be in the form of a book or a one-piece work as long as they are meant for the masses to read.

Meanwhile, Dr Rashidah disclosed Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg would officiate at the official opening of Sibu Library on Oct 21.

“Due to the requirement to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP), we are limiting attendance to 250 guests only. During the ceremony, the Chief Minister will also present awards to recognise libraries in the state which have met the International Federation of Library Standard,” she added.

A total of 65 libraries in the state had entered consideration for the awards, and 10 would be shortlisted.

The main award is the Chief Minister’s Public Library Award.

Touching on Sibu Library, Dr Rashidah said it was built to complement Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Library.

“We are complementing the service provided by SMC Library but we have a higher level of information needs. Our service is especially to help new researchers from institutions of higher learning,” she said.

On the lack of reading material, she said the library was engaging with the local community in the selection of the right kinds of books to stock the library with.

Sibu Library has registered about 5,810 members since its soft opening on Sept 14. — DayakDaily