CONSAL has held an international conference every two to three years. This is no mean feat for an organization with no financial resources and no formal secretariat.
CONSAL provides a forum for professional contact and exchange. This is an important function of a professional body and there are a number of international organizations which are formed for this very purpose. Some examples are the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA) and the International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa (formerly the International Congress of Orientalists).
CONSAL promotes the continuing education of librarians in the region. Many librarians in Southeast Asia still suffer from low status, as a consequence of which they do not have the benefit of overseas travel and attendance at international conferences. CONSAL brings an international professional event to each member country in turn and provides an opportunity for exposure to new ideas and new developments.
CONSAL contributes to the literature of librarianship. CONSAL's published proceedings are the main source of information on library development in Southeast Asia. The country reports presented at each congress document library development in the countries of the region while the papers presented provide thoughtful discussion and analysis of professional issues.
Regional projects completed to date include:
- Masterlist of Southeast Asia Microfilms, edited by Winarti Partaningrat, 1978.
- Directory of Librarians in Southeast Asia, edited by Marina G. Dayrit and Namnama P.Hidalgo, 1980.
- Southeast Asian Microfilms Newsletter, 1972-93, edited by Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.