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PENANG, 11 June 2024 – In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and evolving societal dynamics, libraries emerge as pivotal hubs of knowledge and innovation.

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Three esteemed public universities in the northern region, namely Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in collaboration with Elsevier, a global leader in scientific information and analytics company, today organised a pivotal event, which stands as a regional milestone, bringing together librarians and information science professionals from across Southeast Asia in the Southeast Asia (SEA) Libraries of the Future Summit 2024.

Held at G Hotel Gurney Penang, the summit's theme "Building the Library of Tomorrow: Sustainable Innovations for a Resilient Future" embodies the collective aspirations of librarians and information science professionals dedicated to driving and enduring progress in their field.

The Summit was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE), YB Datuk Ts. Mustapha Sakmud.

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In his speech, Mustapha highlighted that industry-academia partnerships set a new benchmark for driving innovation, advancing digital transformation, and empowering research within universities.

He expressed confidence that this summit would lay the foundation for future libraries by fostering an environment where emerging trends and innovative practices can thrive. Ultimately, this will enhance the research capabilities and impact of academic institutions.

“Academic libraries and librarians have played a crucial role in supporting research, research data management and promoting open access to knowledge.

“Thus, we must invest in sustainable digital repositories solutions and platforms that provide open access to academic research, ensuring that knowledge is freely available to all. By doing so, we contribute to the global exchange of information and support the advancement of science and scholarship,” he said.

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He also emphasised that building the library of tomorrow requires a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation.

He stressed further on continuous learning and adaptation as essential elements for building libraries of tomorrow amidst today's VUCA scenarios - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.

Meanwhile, Regional Director of Elsevier Southeast Asia, Omar Malik expressed his pride in collaborating with USM, UniMAP and UUM as it exemplifies how diverse strengths can unite to create a roadmap for future-proofing libraries against evolving challenges. This partnership highlights their critical role in shaping education's future through community engagement.

“Today's summit is part of the Higher Education Electronic Resources Consortium (KONSEPt) capacity-building programme for Malaysia; emphasizing collective commitment towards enhancing library professional skills, crucially empowering them towards meeting institutional goals while supporting universities' research objectives.

“In addition to investing in capacity building programmes aimed at nurturing library communities worldwide through Elsevier’s broader Library Futures Programme, this initiative lays the groundwork for libraries worldwide to thrive while leading into the digital age,” he said.

Also present were the USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed; UniMAP Chief Librarian, Mazmin Mat Akhir representing the UniMAP Vice-Chancellor; UUM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr. Mohd Fo’ad Sakdan; USM Chief Librarian, Arinawati Ayob; UUM Chief Librarian, Professor Dr. Che Azlan Taib; Chief Librarians and Librarians of the Academic Libraries of Southeast Asia.

Present at the same event was the USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, who delivered a keynote address titled “Libraries as Catalysts for Sustainable Research Innovation.”

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi & Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

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