In early 2024, Asia Study Grant recipient Dr Anita Dewi spent four weeks exploring the Library’s Indonesian collection  for her project ‘Libraries, librarianship, and librarians in Indonesia: The past and present’. In this blog, hear about her research, the types of material she used and her time at the Library.

Woman wearing a dot print shirt, glasses and a black head scarf holding some booklets in an aisle of shelves

Within the Indonesian collection 

Currently a Lecturer in Information Studies, Anita has a background in linguistics, information management and librarianship, and came to the Library to extend her research into the area of professional identity.  

‘I wanted to research at the National Library (NLA) because I knew that it has rich and comprehensive Indonesian collections ... relevant and invaluable for my research project.’ 

Once she got to the Library, Anita was ‘amazed by the comprehensiveness of NLA sources’. With over 200,000 volumes of monographs, 5,000 serial and 250 newspaper titles plus several thousand reels of microfilm and sheets of microfiche within the Indonesian collection, she had to narrow down what material she needed. In the end, she decided to focus her research on three specific areas, though she hopes to come back to ‘dig deeper’ into ‘a long wish list of sources’.

Long shelves of books and other print material with regular orange signs

Anita's three areas of research 

The first area she looked at was ‘general information and conceptualisation’ of libraries and librarianship over time.  

‘I found that definitions and conceptualisations of libraries, librarianship and librarians in Indonesia evolve across time. Some of the contributing factors include librarianship education, library associations, and publications in the sector.’  

Second, she explored the government regulation of libraries. 

‘Having read through Indonesian regulation sources held in the NLA ... it is clear that the Indonesian government takes librarians, librarianship and libraries seriously. Some indicators include the Indonesian National Library positioning, Heads of National Library appointments, and nation-wide policies and strategies across time.’ 

The third and final area of Anita’s research focused on ‘how libraries and librarianship in Indonesia have evolved and been adaptive in the digital era’.  

‘I also discovered that through a “digital libraries” approach, Indonesian libraries and librarians play important roles across the nation in the digital era.’

Woman wearing a dot print shirt, glasses and a black head scarf holding an open booklet and smiling

Taking her research to new audiences 

With her time at the Library finished for now, she plans to use her findings, as well as two other research projects of hers, to create a ‘coherent research series, which will have a significant impact on the discipline area of librarianship (information studies), the positioning of libraries, and the professional identity of librarians’.   

Specifically, she plans to share her findings with ‘a broader audience in English, as discussion and publication on the topic to date has been mostly done in the Indonesian language’. This will ‘allow information on the topic to be read and understood by a wider audience of international scope’. 

New horizons 

Looking back on the experience, Anita describes the Asia Study Grants as not just a way of ‘finding answers to a proposed study on a focused topic’, but they ‘also open new horizon’ with new ‘ideas and opportunities for further research’. In short: 

‘I highly recommend the NLA Asia Study Grants program to my fellow researchers!’ 

Learn more about the Library’s fellowships, scholarships and grants.