My virtual acquistions trip to Micronesia

My virtual acquistions trip to Micronesia
Traveling virtually to the Federated States of Micronesia
8 September 2011

Acquiring material from the Pacific Region is an important priority for the Library, but it is often hard to find out what is being published there. Late last year, I was given time to travel virtually to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) as a special  acquisitions project.  I was allowed one day a week for 3 months to complete my journey. No flights, visas, passports or resorts needed, from my desk with Black Mountain Tower in the background, in the beautiful National Library of Australia. The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has 607 islands spread across 2,500 kms. and has four states: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap (only 65 islands are inhabited). There are eight major indigenous languages, although English remains the official language of commerce. The country is very young with the 15-24 age group accounting for 50% of the population increase in the last decade. My first task was to compare our collection with those of other Australian libraries using the Libraries Australia database to look for publications about Micronesia or published in Micronesia that the National Library of Australia didn’t hold.

  • After some research to weed out duplicate entries, I found 16 that were listed as published in Micronesia and not held by the National Library of Australia, most were government publications.
  • Again, after removing some duplicates, I found 117 items about Micronesia published elsewhere and not held by the National Library of Australia. A few titles were published in Australia, including some cartographic materials. The remainder covered a diverse range of subjects including books on corals, diving and reefs, also others on history, church, flora and fauna, place name inventories and reference books. There were also a few works of fiction. A large percentage of the books were published in the U.S.A.

My findings were referred to Overseas Collection Development staff for a selection decision. One other main task was to identify any publications available only online for possible downloading and printing out or archiving.  This was interesting, I found 30 relevant websites, most were organisations, and a few commercial websites.  My favourite was The Island Food Community of Pohnpei.  One of its aims is to promote home-grown food to educate the people and to improve their health. Perhaps, like me, you might be tempted to learn about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this manmade city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization. Huge basalt pillars form the residences of kings and sorcerers. These remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored.

Nan Madol

Nan Madol (Credit - flickr user: ctsnow)

Find out more yourself from the publications listed in our catalogue or take a quick trip virtually -- try the FSM visitors website, there are plenty of great places to visit. Virtually yours, Elaine P. S. The best way to get to Micronesia is via Hawaii or Guam, Continental Airlines flies regularly to the 4 International airports.  Enjoy and remember to send me a virtual postcard!

Sunset

(Credit - flickr user: tata_aka_T)