Saturday, October 20, 2012

Official Opening of the National Library Building

Date of Issue: 1994-12-16
Denomination: 30c, 50c, & RM1
Stamp Size 28mm x 38mm
Perforation: 13
Paper: SPM watercoated phosphor coated
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Security Printers (M) Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia
Sheet Composition: 100 stamps
Designer: Image Promotions Sdn. Bhd.
Blank First Day Cover: 20c

Stamps in the Series

First Day Cover

Plans to set  up the Malaysian National National Library began in 1970. In 1978, a piece of land measuring 2.2 hectares along Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur was earmarked for the National Library Building.

In 1979, the Government appointed a team of consultants to undertake the National Library Building project. In 1982, the Government approved its initial design concept.

The design of the National Library reflects a truly Malaysian identity based on the traditional Malay head-gear - the tengkolok, which symbolizes a prestigious Malaysian culture.

The three Tengkolok shaped roofs meet together around an open-air amphitheatre courtyard to symbolise the unity of the country as well as the three main objectives of the National Library. Drawing inspiration from the country’s rich cultural heritage, the roof bears the songket design etched in blue tiles.

The arrangement of the open areas encourage the users to venture into all areas of the Library. The ambience of limitless space seeks to create an awakening of the intellectual faculties. The Skylight at the peak tends to provide a sense of infinite achievement in knowledge. There is also an open area within the five vaults of the atrium.

The seven floors of the library house various facilities available in the library. The pathway to these floors is linked by a striking staircase. Every level of the library accommodates a vast network of the library’s various services, collections and information. The library provides facilities for the handicapped as well.

A striking blend of traditional and contemporary architecture, the National Library has a floor space of 22,037 square metres and can accommodate 1,000 readers at any time, 400 staff and a collection of one million books.

Handwritten manuscripts in the Malay language represent an important part of the cultural wealth of the Malay people.

Since the early days, when the Malays first learned to write and particularly during the period when Islam penetrated into the Malay world bringing with it the Perso-Arabic script, and Jawi, thousands of manuscripts were written on materials such as parchment, lontor, treebark and also paper. The manuscripts covered a wide range of subject which reflect the rich culture and high intellectual achievement of the Malays. Various tales and hikayat, in prose or poetry, had been produced for the entertainment of the court and the ordinary man, Often the court and the nobility ordered genealogies, histories, customs and laws to be compiled by court scribes. Manuscripts on the teaching of Islam and Islam-related literature abound, attesting to the importance of Islam in the life of the Malays.

Many of the early Malay valuable manuscripts, are now housed in repositories outside the Malay world. Malay manuscripts in the hands of individuals were not cared for properly and thus exposed to various sources of deterioration such as insects and excess humidity level.

Recognizing the need to preserve the intellectual and cultural heritage of the Malays, the National Centre for Malay Manuscrpts was formally set up as a division in the National Library in 1985. Since then the National Library has continued to play its role in developing the largest Malay Manuscript collection in the world.

The application of computer in the National Library began with its involvement in MALMARC (Malaysian Machine Readable Catalogue) Project in 1978. The MALMARC system is Malaysia's largest centralised cataloguing service and was also responsible for maintaining the Malaysia National Bibliography and Union List of Serials Databases (PERPUNET). It is a joint project between libraries from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia and the National Library of Malaysia.

In 1982, a micro computer was purchased for the purpose of processing and the production of the Malaysian Newspaper Index. In 1985, the National Library started using the MINISIS software for the processing and production of Malaysia Periodicals Index. In 1988, the National Library purchased the Virginia Tech Library System (VTLS) running on the HP 3000 series 950 hardware. This system caters for the Cataloging, Acquisition and Fund Accounting, Serials Management, Online Public Access Catalogue and Circulation functions of the National Library. Online Services for the library users of the National Library began in 1989.

In keeping with the rapid progress in technology, a comprehensive multimedia collection ranging from audio and video cassettes, film, compact disc, slides to laser disc and CDROM, the most up-to-date media format today is made available for users.

In order to be in the forefront in providing current information services, the National Library subscribes to both local and internaitonal databases. It has also embarked on a project to set up a nationwide electronic library information network called "JARINGAN ILMU" (Knowledge Network). This system enables the various institutions to share information resources through the electronic library network.

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