Japan Library Association

The Japan Library Association

The Japan Library Association (JLA), founded in 1892, was continuously promoted the development of libraries and librarianship, and its activities has been supported by countless dedicated librarians for over 100 years. JLA represents all type of libraries and related organizations in Japan and consists of 6,700 individual members and 2,800 institutional members. In 2001, JLA held its 87th All-Japan Library Conference.

JLAfs mission consists of four basic policies;
  • to be the national information center for all libraries and librarians in Japan
  • to be an education, training, and career development center for librarians
  • to cooperate and coordinate all kinds of libraries and library organizations
  • to promote and support international relations activities.

Many regional library associations are affiliated with JLA and have their own various activities for libraries in local prefectures and cities.

JLA has been the Japanese national association member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) since 1929 and took a major role of holding the IFLA Tokyo Conference in 1986.

Organization and structure

The JLAfs headquarters is in its six-story JLA building in Tokyo. Its office carries out the resolutions made by the Council, the Board of Councilors and the Board of Directors. The Council is the highest deliberative body of the JLA, which meets once a year to review the associationfs budget and other important business matters. The Board of Councilors consists of representatives elected from among regular members and decides the associationfs management policies and budgetary matters. The Board of Councilors also elects members of the Board of Directors, which is the major administrative element of the JLA. Although the chairman of the Board of Directors is actually the official representative of the JLA, there is also a president of the Association who represents the social role of JLA.


There are about 25 Committees and working groups on library policies, library management, copyright, intellectual freedom, bibliography, preservation and conservation, services for the handicapped, publications, library services for children and young adults, international relations, etc.


Membership categories
  • Individual
  • Institutional (A,B,C class)
  • Sponsor
Membership benefits
  • A free copy of monthly Library Journal, Toshokan Zasshi
  • Discount for JLA publications (individual member)
  • Voting privilege in election (individual member)
  • 2`7 free copies of new JLA publications based on the A,B,C class categories (institutional member)


An average of 20 new monographs are published each year. The main JLA publications are:
Basic Subject Headings (BSH Kihon Kenmei Hyomokuhyo)
Guide to Japanese Reference Books (Nihon no Sankotosho)
JLA Librarianfs Glossary (Toshokan Yogoshu)
JLA Librarianfs Handbook (Toshokan Handobukku)
Library Journal (Toshokan Zasshi), monthly
Libraries Today (Gendai no Toshokan), quarterly
Library Yearbook (Toshokan Nenkan)
Nippon Cataloging Rules (NCR Nihon Mokuroku Kisoku)
Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC Nihon Jusshin Bunruiho)
Standard Catalog of Selected Books (Sentei Tosho Somokuroku)
Statistics on Libraries in Japan (Nihon no Toshokan), annual

The Library

The Library collects only materials on library and library information science, and holds about 10,000 monographs and 2,300 titles of periodicals, including conference proceedings, reports of committee meetings, annual reports of public libraries, architectural plans and booklets of various libraries. The Library is open to the public as well as JLA members. Only members can borrow books, though the reference and photocopy services are available to general public.

All-Japan Library Conference

The All-Japan Library Conference is held annually in different cities around Japan and is hosted by prefectural library and regional communities. For three days in October each year over 2000 librarians participate in meetings, workshops, exhibitions, and enjoy cultural events. The Library Architecture Award is granted, and a Commendation Ceremony is held for long-term distinguished service.

The Library Architecture Award

The Library Architecture Award was established in 1985, and is awarded to library buildings for excellence of design and the most functional library services.

Brief History

1892 Founded under the name of Nippon Bunko Kyokai
1906 The first All-Japan Library Conference
1907 Started publication of the monthly journal, gToshokan Zasshih
1908 Changed the name to the Japan Library Association
1914 Started book selection for the standard catalog for public and school libraries
1929 Joined IFLA
Published Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC)
1941 Celebrated the 50th Anniversary
1950 Enacted the Library Law
1952 Rejoined IFLA
1953 Published Nippon Cataloging Rules (NCR)
Published Statistics on Libraries in Japan
1954 Adopted eA Statement of Intellectual Freedom in Librariesf
1956 Published Basic Subject Headings (BSH)
1963 Started Publication of quarterly journal, Gendai no Toshokan
1971 Established eThe Library Dayf (April 30th)
1972 Published White Paper of Library
1973 Built JLA building in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
1980 Approved the eCode of Ethics for Librariansf
1981 Started the distribution of Japan MARC (MT of the Japanese national bibliography of the National Diet Library)
1982 Published Library Yearbook
1985 Founded JLA Library Architecture Award
1986 The 52nd IFLA General Conference held in Tokyo
1988 Started distribution of J-BISC (CD-ROM of the Japanese National Bibliography of the National Diet Library)
1989 Published The Mission and Objectives of Public Library: the Commentary Notes
1990 Started Seminars for the Development of Town/Village Libraries
1992 Celebrated the 100th Anniversary
1998 Moved to the newly-built JLA building in Chuo-ku, Tokyo