Kylie Moloney from the ANU Pacific Manuscripts Bureau recently travelled to Kiribati to undertake a strengthening project at the Kiribati National Library and Archive.
The Kiribati National Archive includes genealogies, land and colonial records that are at risk because of storm surges, cyclones, damp storage and tropical pests. Staff at the Kiribati National Archive have received only minimal archival administration training, are overwhelmed by land enquiries, and struggle to keep up with the legal obligations of a National collecting institution.
To address this, the Pacific Development and Conversation Trust in New Zealand awarded the ANU Manuscripts Bureau a grant to work with local staff to ensure the preservation and longevity of these important national documents.
Ms Moloney says the aim of the project is to protect the historical records of Kiribati by upskilling local staff.
“People are always at the heart of any project like this. The Kiribati National Library and Archive is staffed by 10 people – and giving this team the skills they need will ensure the archives are administered properly and protected for the long term” said Ms Moloney.
“The grant works like a cultural exchange – we get the unique opportunity to learn about Kiribati’s culture and history and we provide archival administration training, infrastructure, and new technological equipment. Another important part of the project is to promote the value of library and archive resources amongst the local community, especially young people who are the future of Kiribati”.
“Libraries and archives play an important role in the peaceful and social development of Pacific Island peoples. Libraries and archives provide documentary evidence and knowledge about the past and can assist people in developing identities and ownership.”
“The Kiribati National Archive collections will enable i-Kiribati to discover their common heritage. I feel proud to work alongside passionate i-Kiribati people as we strengthen the National Archive collection and make it more accessible to the public, especially young children and spark their pride in this national treasure” said Ms Moloney.
As part of the grant Kiribati National Archive staff will visit the Fiji National Archives in August this year to undertake archive administration training in a regional institution. The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau will continue to work with the Kiribati National Library and Archive staff to develop archive policies and procedures and lobby the Government of Kiribati for further support and resources.
Please contact Kylie Moloney firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information regarding the Kiribati National Library and Archive project or the ANU Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.
This story originally appeared on the College of Asia and the Pacific website