Let’s work together for development of reference libraries on museums

People visit the National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw on 16 July 2018. Photo: mna
People visit the National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw on 16 July 2018. Photo: MNA

By Mar Lar Aung (Culture)
For the sustainable progress and continued perfection of Myanma cultural heritages, more museums are being established and maintained. The museum is a building in which objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific interest are kept and shown to the public.
There are museums such as the National Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Arts and Sculpture Museum, the Scientific and Technological Museum, the Memorial Museum, the Religious Museum, and the Historical Museum.
There exists an atmosphere of the librarians and staff members, the researchers and the students surrounding this subject and that the reference libraries have come into existence.

Type of Libraries
There are four types of libraries such as the National Library, the University libraries, the School libraries, and the Public libraries. The reference libraries on museum are special libraries where relevant books are being collected in connection with the museum. The term “reference work” means to provide required information to the researchers in shortest possible time. In serving this purpose, it depends on the exhaustive reference books and the skill of the librarians. Therefore, the reference libraries and the librarians are the instruments in providing necessary data and information to the researchers.
A reference book means a book that contains facts and information, that one looks at when you need to find out something particular such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books compiled in alphabet, year, subject, or system. The books are accurate, brief and concise, which are updated from time to time, being printed by government departments, organizations and prestigious publishing houses.
The books could be categorized as (1) encyclopedia; (2) condensed; (3) dictionary; (4) handbook; (5) guide book; (6) autobiography; (7) map; (8) gazetteer (or) geography glossary; (9) reference; (10) summary of lists; totaling in ten items. The items from (1) to (8) are the straight reference books where the information could be obtained directly while the reference item (9) and item (10) mentioned information where to find the necessary facts in detailed.
Most of the reference library keeps the books that can be read in the library but cannot be borrowed.

Knowledge books
The Reference Library is a reference collection of materials relating to the arts, antiquities, and rare books and manuscripts, which supports the Museum in its mission to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. All relevant data and information on museum including digital records are maintained, which is being linked through online with other institutions.
At the open shelves library, the readers can get the book by themselves for use, and put the book back in proper place after reading it. The staff members of the library may also assist in putting back the book in appropriate place. Open shelves are the modern method of displaying the library collections with the purpose of removing barriers imposed to readers and providing free access to shelves where readers can choose by themselves the books they are interested in.
In a closed shelves library system, the reader can find a book through the catalogue with the assistance of the staff member. The purpose of the closed shelves area is to protect library material which, by virtue of its condition, format, value, subject content or illustration, is subject to damage, mutilation or theft on open shelves. The reader as well as the library staff members is required to exercise patience and restraint in dealing and relation with each other.
Myanmar Aquarium Fish Museum is located at the north of Yangon Zoological Garden and facing Kandawgyi Lake. It was opened on 1 October 1978, and the museum reference library was established in 1985.
In 1923–1924, the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B., B.S.) course was introduced at the old Rangoon College building at the site of the present Neurology Department of the Yangon General Hospital. The medical faculty museum and a library had initiated in 1923, and a medical faculty department was established in 1929 which was matured into Institute of Medicine (1) in 1964 along with a library. In the year 2000, the library is being upgraded and moved to four-storied building on Bo Gyoke Aung San Road near New Yangon Hospital.
The Drug Elimination Museum was opened with ceremony on 16 May 2002. It is located at the corner of Kyandaw Road and Hanthawady Road in Kamayut Township, Yangon. It is dedicated to the International Day against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking. The museum has three floors which contain exhibits on drug abuse and government efforts to contain the problem. The reference library is located on the third floor.
There are many museums in the regions and states under the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.

The National Museum
The National Museum (Yangon) was established at the Jubilee Hall on Shwedagon Pagoda Road in June 1952, and the museum was equipped with 2000 books. On 8 February 1970, it was moved to Pansodan Street. The new five stories National Museum has been opened on Pyay Road to public since 18 September 1996. It is attached with a reference library.
The National Library (Nay Pyi Taw) attached with a reference library is established in Ottara Thiri Township on 15 July 2015.
Many archeological research museums are established in Bagan; Sirikhitara (Hmawsar) Research Museum; Beiktano (Taundwingyi); Hanlin (Shwebo); Innwa; Tagaung (Tabeikkyin); Myauk-U (Rakhine), and these museums are equipped with reference libraries.
Many museums are attached with reference libraries, however, some museums are yet to equip with reference libraries.

Let’s work for more development
The librarians and the staff members of the museum reference libraries may collect more reference books including digital data and information, and lend assistance to the library users and researchers, which could further enhance and elevate the role of the reference libraries.
If and when we have good reference libraries, then we could uplift and upgrade the museums in the country.
The colorful and lively libraries are the wonderful places for the knowledge seekers including children, researchers and general public, and therefore, the librarians and the staff members have very important role to play such as extending patience and kindness towards the visitors along with the love and devotion on the library work.
More importantly, the readers and the staff members must maintain understanding and considerate toward each other, and also having esteemed to the writers of the books.
With the development and improvement of reference libraries, it is certain that the museum visitors and the researchers may have more clear knowledge over the artifact and relic of the museums. In conclusion, the author of the article would like to draw the kind attention of the librarians, the staff members, the researchers and the knowledge seekers and urge them to work hand in hand together for the development of reference libraries on museums.Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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