Library customers visit the library for different reasons. Some come to look for books and journals, either to read or to borrow them. Some come to study and do research, either alone or in a group. Others come to have discussions or meetings in the library. People also come to use the free services and facilities offered by the library.

In the past, traditionally, it is expected everyone to be quiet when they enter a library. You will also see librarians or library assistants walking around to ensure that people do not talk loudly in the library. Those who come to the library also expect it to be a quiet place where they can study in peace.

As time goes by, study habits also change. Now people want to discuss in the library. Some even expect that food also allowed to be brought in the library. Others hope the library to open 24 hours a day.

For the IIUM Library, it tries to fulfil all the different study styles of its customers.  The library has created two study zones that are clearly marked with appropriate signs. The Silent Study Zones is an area where silence must be observed so as not to distract or disturb individuals who want to study in silence. For those in a study group mode, the library has set up the Group Study Zone that allows a certain degree of audible group discussion.


The library has also established an area called Learning Common for students to meet and discuss. The areas selected are equipped with a raised floor and furnished with “Japanese tables” and mounted glass board for scribbling of discussion notes. The area is becoming a hit with the library customers.


It is the responsibility of all library customers to select the study area that best fits their study style so as not to disturb or be disturbed by others. The IIUM Library continues to strive to fulfil the expectations of its customers given the nature of how information and knowledge are now stored, accessed and updated electronically. It also strives to change in line with the rapid change of the learning and study styles of its customers.

Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.


The Use of Social Media in IIUM Library

Years after the millennium see the shift of website displays from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. Web 2.0 refers to the use of technology that goes beyond portraying and viewing of information to a more interactive feedback to the information provided. This is made possible by the provision of networking web sites like Facebook (FB), Twitter, wikis, Youtube, video sharing, web applications, blogs and many more within the organisations’ web pages. These mediums, known as Social Media, act as the instrument of communication between the website providers and their users or viewers; and also communication medium between the users. For the IIUM library, the social media provides more opportunity to reach its customers, promote its services, and give its customers chances to interact with the Library and each other in a more direct and informal manner.

IIUM Library’s rendezvous with social media starts with the use of Facebook in March 2010. To date the FB page which is famously known as “The Official IIUM Library” has attracted more than 9,400 “friends”. The friends comprise of the current IIUM students, staff, lecturers, alumni and also the public who are interested in IIUM Library and the information that are provided within the FB Page. Since its inception, The Official IIUM Library FB has updated its friends with news about the Library and also on any valuable information which are deemed valuable for research.


The Library’s social media is maintained by the Library’s Publication and Promotion Committee. The Committee’s five members take turns on a weekly basis to update and answer any enquiries within the FB Page. In middle of 2013, the IIUM Web Steering Committee requested that all agencies in IIUM, be it Kulliyyah, Divisions, Centres, etc., to come up with at least four social media within their homepages. Due to that, the Publication and Promotion Committee had a long deliberation on which social media to be adopted by the Library. The factors considered are the usability, attractiveness to customers and ease of maintenance. Due to this, the Committee has added three more social media, namely Twitter, Instagram and Blog to the existing Facebook. All of these media can be accessed through the Library Homepage and the Library Research Gateway page.

Twitter is chosen on the basis that not everybody prefers or has an FB account. To customers without FB account, they can interact with the Library using their Twitter account. Similar to FB, the Library’s Twitter which is known as IIUM Library @LibIIUM, provides library customers with updates on the Library services and anything that has to do with research. Since it was set up in middle of July 2013, it has caught the attention of 73 “followers”. The Committee hopes to attract more followers once extensive promotion is done on the existence of the Twitter page.


Instagram is an excellent medium to those who prefer information in a pictorial format. The Library has been using Instagram since end of July 2013 to pose pictures of the library and the services, facilities and collection it has. To date the Library’s Instagram, known as IIUM_Library, has more than 50 “followers”. In the future, the Library will put up pictures on upcoming events, behind the scene photos, library customers, visitors and many more on Instagram.


The IIUM Library Blog is a space where the Library can place more information in an article format for the reading pleasure of its readers. Readers on the other hand can raise questions and comments to the articles to ensure better understanding on the subject matter. The blog also provides links to other research sites that are deemed valuable to be shared to all. The blog was set up in early of October and the Publication and Promotion Committee is still in the learning stage on how to properly handle a blog. It is hope that as time goes by, the blog will capture the attention of the library customers and be highly valued by them.


The use of Social Media by IIUM Library has helped it tremendously in marketing its services, facilities and collections. Other than that, it has helped to overcome problems since library customers are now more direct and sincere in notifying the library of their satisfaction and dissatisfaction on anything related to the library. To the IIUM Library, Social Media has definitely helped it to be more humane in its offer of services and over time it is hope that library and customers will work together in “building” a better library for the benefit of current and future generations of IIUM Library customers.


Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.


“The backbone of any institution of higher learning must be its library” – Istac Illuminated.

The above statement is a well-said one to sum up the position of ISTAC library, now officially known as Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Library (SMNA Library). The naming ceremony on 22 May 2012 recognized the effort of the prominent philosopher and scholar who, as Director-General of ISTAC from 1987-2002, started the library collection in 1987.


SMNA Library is situated at Taman Duta, in the middle of the architectural wonder that is ISTAC, perched at the hillside amidst tree-shaded area where the sound of fountain water and birdsongs mixed harmoniously to transport visitors to Alhambra-like experience. The entrance to the library is accessible through the courtyard where a fountain stands, which in Islamic architectural philosophy signifies heart as the reservoir of serene contemplation.



The collection of SMNA Library is special on its own. Besides general collection, it houses rare books and manuscripts in various languages from important Islamic civilizations such as Arabic and Persian. The collections dated as far back as 1197 A.D. The oldest manuscript is Kitab al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sina’at al-Tanjim (Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology) by Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni in Persian language.

Important rare books include translation of Qur’an in Latin language, with preface by the Christian reformer Martin Luther. It was the first attempt at Qur’an translation by Christians, and printed in 1543 A.D. in Basel, after much opposition that includes imprisonment, seizure and removal from office of those involved.

From the Malay world, SMNA Library has a lithograph copy of Hikayat ‘Abd Allah by ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Abdul Kadir Munsyi, printed in Singapore in 1849 A.D. Another rare copy is Hikayat Binatang, also by similar author, printed a few years before the aforementioned Hikayat in 1846 A.D.


                Apart from ordinary rules applied to other IIUM Libraries in Gombak, PJ and Kuantan, SMNA Library is somewhat different in that its services are provided only to postgraduates in pursuance of Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Undergraduates and outsiders who need to use the library collection must apply in writing with good reasons, supported by lecturers or organizations they represent.

For library members who need to consult special collections, including rare books and manuscripts, they may do so by filling certain forms at the library’s Information Counter. The condition of the materials will determine the availability of the original to be consulted by the requestor.

The SMNA welcomes all researchers on Islamic civilizations to make full use of the valuable and rare collections within.

By :
Najibah Bt. Abu Bakar,
Librarian, Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Library, ISTAC.

Current Trends in Library Research in the face of the Internet Juggernaut

By : Yusrina Abu Bakar
Senior Librarian
Head, Publication & Promotion Committee

In the era where information is at a person’s fingertips, the library
has been viewed, erroneously, as obsolete. This is because people are
turning to the Internet to search for information they want. To them, the
Internet is fast, convenient, and information can be gotten for free. That
is true but a library is far from being redundant. To continue attracting
customers to the library, IIUM library management continues to “change”
the library, be it the physical building and, more importantly, its services.
Discussed below are some of the trends seen in the library arena:

1. Web Scale Discovery Services
Internet users are always attracted to the single search box that a
search engine provides. They believe this single and powerful tool is
the “window” to search for all information on the internet. To compete
with this tool, many database providers are coming up with similar tools
known as Web Scale Discovery. Among known names are Common,
Ebsco Delivery Service (EDS), FAST, Primo, Encore, etc. Many libraries
now have this Google-like search box in their homepages. What the
“box” does is it searches in all the electronic resources that the Library
owned, be it the Library Catalogue, subscribed databases, in-house
databases, e-books, e-journals, digital library and many more.

The IIUM Library for example is having EDS, on a trial basis on its
homepage. If you feel that we should subscribe to this service, just email
your recommendation to your liaison librarian.

Research Gateway

2. Library on the Move
Information nowadays can be accessed via the mobile electronic devices
such as iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc.. What are so great about these devices
are the amount of storage and the applications that can be downloaded.
The library is also taking this opportunity to introduce library
applications to the market. IIUM Library has two of these applications
known as Bookmyne to access the Library Catalogue and also Mobile
Web to access the simplified version of the IIUM Library Homepage.
Now, library users can be constantly connected to the library.

bookmyne page

3. Institutional Repositories
Institutional Repository (IR) is a collection capturing and preserving
the intellectual output of an educational institution. Many universities
in Malaysia have their own IR in which the academic staff self deposit
their own writings and share it with the world (either in citation, abstract
or full text access). IIUM’s IR is known as IREP (IIUM Institutional
Repository) which could be accessed through the Library Homepage.
Researchers could browse through this collection and might contact or
visit the library to gain access to the full text of the writings found within.

4. Social Media
Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which
they create, share and exchange information, etc. in virtual communities
and networks. Among famous social media are Facebook, Twitter, blogs
and Instagram. The IIUM Library has its own Facebook page known as
The Official IIUM Library which was set up in October 2010. Though this
medium, the library disseminates updates and shares with its “friends”
on any information and news about the library and research resources.
Friends can also share any relevant information and queries which will
be responded immediately.

5. Digital Library
Digital Library (DL) is a collection of library’s print resources which are
digitized into electronic format. In IIUM Library, the collection comprises
of the IIUM Theses, Examination Papers, IIUM Publications, Islamic
Economic database, Islamic Law database, Manuscript and many more.
Users can search within the collection wherever they are in the world.
However, if they need to refer to the full content, they need to personally
visit the IIUM Library.

Research Gateway1

6. Purchase of More Electronic Resources
From year to year, the library is putting more emphasis on electronic
resources, either in the purchase or the development of digital content.
Databases, e-books, e-journals and digital library are more sought
after compared to the physical books or journals. The new generations
of users preferred these collections more since they can access them
anywhere, any time at their own convenience and pace. That is also why
library budget keeps increasing to fulfill this “new” demand.

Libraries throughout the world have definitely evolved especially with
the unstoppable attractiveness of the Web and the Net. The IIUM
Library is definitely moving towards the right path with the introduction
of new collections and services in ensuring that research done within
the Library building or online is kept abreast of the latest demands of
its users. IIUM Library hopes users would see that the advent of the
Internet would not spell the demise of the library.