ASSOCIATES (vol. 1, no. 3, March 1995) -

Table of Contents

                     TRAINING IN THE ISLANDS
                      Prof. Joanne Tarpley
               Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Library
                       University of Guam
The Pacific Islands Association of Libraries and Archives (PIALA)
emerged in 1991 as a response to the challenges facing those
charged with providing information services in the far-flung
islands of Micronesia.  PIALA, a non-profit association, is
comprised mainly of librarians and technicians working in
libraries, archives and museums throughout the Western Pacific, but
also includes many members from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the
United States and the South Pacific.
The Pacific Ocean occupies one-third of the earth's surface.
Micronesia, a collection of island groups in the north Pacific, is
made up of the archipelagos of the Marianas, Carolines, Marshalls,
Kiribati (Gilberts) and the island nation of Nauru.  In all, there
are 2,106 islands scattered across an area of 4,497,686 square
miles but comprising only 1,104 square miles of land with a total
population of about one-third of a million people (1).
Island librarians face numerous challenges.  Remote locations mean
increased costs for all library and office materials.  Mail and
shipping can be notoriously unreliable, slow and costly.  On most
islands, the basic infrastructure is still developing.  Consistent
power supply is not guaranteed; telephone service can be erratic.
Networking within one's own village, much less the island or the
region is difficult, to say the least.  Those working in island
libraries are frequently untrained, often overworked and have
limited opportunities for training or attendance at professional
PIALA's primary goals are to encourage cooperation and resource
sharing; provide a forum for the discussion of issues of mutual
interest and to offer continuing education (2).  Annual conferences
have been held each year since 1991 at a different locale within
Micronesia (3).  Membership in the organization has risen steadily
with 163 members currently on the list.  A newsletter is issued
regularly, usually three times a year, to keep members informed of
activities, projects and upcoming events.  PIALA has published a
Directory of Libraries, Archives and Museums in Micronesia and a
Union List of Serials in the Libraries of Micronesia is in process.
The 1994 PIALA Conference was held in November on the island of
Guam.  The most developed island within the Western Pacific and the
home of the University of Guam, this location afforded the
opportunity for a greatly expanded conference and the possibility
of a pre-conference workshop.
Evaluation forms collected from previous PIALA conferences stressed
the desire from paraprofessionals for more instruction.
Recognizing this need for hands-on training for technicians and
others running small libraries in the region, the PIALA '94
Planning Committee approached Dr. Harry Uyehara, Librarian at the
Guam Community College, former Dean of the RFK Library at the
University of Guam and a former professor at the University of
Hawaii School of Library Science.
Dr. Uyehara obliged with a two-day workshop on Collection
Development for Small Libraries.  Aimed at technicians, this how-to
workshop focussed on the six elements of the collection development
process:  community analysis, policy-making, selection,
acquisition, weeding and evaluation.
Knowing what patrons want and need is critical to a library's
success.  With this in mind, participants were shown how to prepare
and develop a community analysis profile to be used as a guide to
a collection development plan.  Sources of statistical data, such
as Census or local government reports, and non-statistical
community information, such as community organizations, were
described.  However, statistics do not always reflect reality.
Quite often, national reporting sources do not cover the
island nations of the Pacific.  The design of individualized
community-wide questionnaires and in-house surveys that take local
culture into account was discussed.
Because a collection development policy is critical to the
systematic development of a library's collection, major elements
necessary for inclusion in most library policies were outlined.  An
institution's mission, goals and objectives should be clearly
stated.  Intellectual freedom and access statements should also be
Central to the collection development policy is materials
selection.  A philosophical statement on the aim of the library's
collection to meet the needs of the library's target population
must be created.  A general outline of how selections are made, who
is involved and responsible, and how decisions are reached should
be included.  Also, criteria for selection should be listed.  A
resource section of materials selection aids and review media was
Acquisition problems unique to the region were discussed at length.
Acquiring or even finding out about local and regional publications
can be the most difficult task for a Pacific librarian.  PIALA
hopes to help in this area by establishing focal points within
each political entity who can report on local publishing efforts
through the PIALA Newsletter.
Collection development involves maintenance.  Thus, weeding plays
an integral role.   A library should not be rated so much by the
amount of material on the shelves but rather the quality of what
resides there.  A policy statement should include explanations for
weeding and the criteria used.  Standard guidelines for weeding
by subject were outlined.  This topic was of particular pertinence
for libraries in the region who frequently find themselves on the
receiving end of good-intentioned donations of discards from
Stateside libraries.
Finally, collection development involves collection evaluation.
Inventory is a natural first step as it provides the necessary
documentation for analysis.  An inventory will reveal a
collection's strengths and weaknesses.  After the inventory, a
thorough collection evaluation can be done.  A comparison of one's
collection against generally accepted selection tools can point out
any gaps.
Plans for PIALA's 1995 annual conference are underway.  This year's
site will be Yap, the most traditional island within the Federated
States of Micronesia.  A two-day workshop on small library
management will be offered.
PIALA membership and a subscription to its Newsletter can be
secured for US $20.00.  For more information, please contact the
author at: or by mail at the University of
Guam, RFK Library, Mangilao, Guam 96923.  US postal rates
(1)  Wang, Chih.  "Micronesia Area Research Center (MARC)"
          _Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science_.
          v. 50, supp. 13.  p.277.  Marcel Dekker.  1992.
(2)  Cohen, Arlene.  "The Pacific Islands Association of Libraries
          and Archives (PIALA)  Formed in the Pacific Islands."
          _FID News Bulletin_.  v. 42 (Dec. 1992).  pp.285-86.
(3)  Tarpley, Joanne.  "Pacific Islands Association of Libraries
          and Archives Conference."  _Third World Libraries_.
          v.4  (Fall, 1993).  pp.63-64.  Article on PIALA '94
          submitted for publication.