A library is an enchanting place that ignites imagination. A treasure trove offering boundless knowledge, thoughts and ideas. A sanctuary to refresh the mind and soul. Where one learns, discovers and grows.
By doing what we do with passion and constantly enhancing our services and programmes, we create new opportunities. Opportunities for the present generation. Opportunities for future generations. Making It Happen.
These are exciting times for libraries. In Singapore, the library continues to be a well-loved public institution with 36 million visits in FY 2011. At the same time, a wealth of information is instantly and constantly available on a range of mobile devices. Our visitors are getting more discerning about their reading and information needs. They also expect good, quick and efficient service from us. Increasingly, we see greater public interest in co-developing programmes and services. These trends offer both challenges and opportunities for us.
The National Library Board (NLB) has stayed ahead by continuously scanning the environment and anticipating new patterns in our customers’ lifestyle, expectations and needs. We have been able to respond quickly by embracing a culture of innovation and inventiveness. More importantly, this culture of pioneering new initiatives and service improvements has been part of our organisational DNA.
It has been another eventful year for NLB. Our visitors have been reading voraciously and our book and audio-visual loans have gone up to 37 million. This year, we had close to 9 million visits to our digital library.
This year we have also brought the total number of public libraries up to 24 with the opening of Clementi Public Library. It is the first public library to have Interactive Digital Storytelling Kiosks. We also laid the ground for the upcoming library@orchard which is targeted to be opened in 2014. Through the DEAR@Community membership scheme, we collaborated with more than 600 partners including grassroots organisations and educational centres to create additional channels for the public to loan library books.
While growing our network of libraries, we have not forgotten those who may not be able to make regular visits to the libraries. Molly, our mobile library bus, brings books and audio-visual materials closer to their doorstep. We relaunched Molly with 3,000 carefully selected items, iPads, and an in-built book drop. It is also equipped with a ramp for the wheelchair-bound. So far, Molly has served more than 230,000 users from 400 organisations including special education schools, volunteer welfare organisations and homes.
Since the launch of our eResources in 2005, we have steadily expanded the range of products and services. We have amassed an eBook collection of 2.2 million. This year, we added two microsites: PictureSG with 18,000 images of Singapore and BookSG with more than 15,000 books and magazines of yesteryear. Our readers also have a wider choice of digitised Chinese novels, poetry, travelogues and magazines published between 1950 and 1970, which were donated by the Youth Book Company and the World Book Company. Besides English language newspapers, researchers can now look up past issues of the Lianhe Zaobao, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nanyang Siang Pau, Berita Harian, and Tamil Murasu at NewspaperSG.
We launched the Singapore Memory Project in August 2011 with a target to collect five million memories by 2015. This initiative enables Singaporeans to play an active role in co-creating a shared narrative of our nation. We have started strongly with a collection of 300,000 memories. More than 90 partners have come onboard to lend their support. Beyond the numbers, we are developing a treasure trove of life experiences authored by ordinary Singaporeans. The stories, photographs and videos will provide future generations with insights into how Singapore has evolved. It will also be a collective gift from us to them.
To enhance the appreciation of our heritage, we continued with our series of exhibitions focusing on literary pioneers of Singapore. This year, we organised exhibitions showcasing the literary works of award-winning writers Yao Zi, Abdul Ghani Hamid and P Krishnan. To acquaint our visitors with the rich history behind Singapore roads, we launched the Stories Behind Singapore Streets exhibition. To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the battle for Singapore, two exhibitions, Four Days in February: Adam Park the Last Battle and Images of Internment: The Eye and Art of William Haxworth were held. These exhibitions depicted the harsh conditions of war and the courage and resilience of the human spirit.
Our annual signature reading initiative, READ! Singapore has grown in strength and touched more than 215,000 people. To cater to an increasing number of mobile users, we launched the MobileRead application. So far, 63,000 READ! Singapore eBooks have been downloaded by iPhone users. We continue to encourage children and youth to read through innovative programmes such as Quest and Conquest, which are bundled with games and comics. Our kidsREAD programme conducted at 120 clubs has benefited 16,000 children from low income families.
Our volunteer engagement and outreach programmes such as Project Deliver Me, Molly our mobile library, reading and language promotion campaigns have been instrumental in connecting us with our diverse audience.
We have forged fruitful collaborations and professional exchanges with many foreign partners. These have allowed us to emulate best practices and create new pathways to deliver quality resources and services. A key highlight of 2011 included the renewal of our partnership with the National Library of New Zealand on the development of digital library services for schools and the professional capabilities of our staff.
We are also honoured to be given the opportunity to host the 79th International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ World Library and Information Congress, which will be held in August 2013. We look forward to hosting more than 3,000 delegates from all over the world, who will come to Singapore to explore and chart the future directions for libraries.
These achievements were made possible by the passion, dedication and tireless efforts of our colleagues. Thus, it is with pride that we received the Singapore Quality Award. This is the second time that we have bagged this award which recognises the overall strength of NLB as an organisation, and in particular, our customer-centric culture and leadership in service innovation.
Moving ahead, we strive to deliver a good library experience for all our customers by enhancing customer engagement and increasing collaboration with partners. As knowledge sources rapidly become more complex, NLB’s library spaces, collections and resources provide our customers with the assurance that they have the means for lifelong learning. Our customers are our most important partners in our journey to improve. It is by involving, consulting and co-creating with our customers that NLB hopes to continue being a well-loved public service.
Ms Yeoh Chee Yan
Mrs Elaine Ng
Chief Executive Officer
FY2011/2012 was exciting in every way. Not only did we welcome our 24th public library complete with an extensive collection of resources and innovative services, we also relaunched our mobile library bus that revitalises the reading and learning experience. Our users can be assured there will always be great reads around the corner, ready to stimulate conversations and encourage contemplation.
Residents of the South West region can now enjoy exciting new library services right in their neighbourhood with the opening of the Clementi Public Library on 23 April 2011. It features first-of-its-kind Interactive Digital Storytelling Kiosks that enable children to watch their favourite tales come to life.
Our beloved Molly, the mobile library bus, has undergone a facelift. Apart from a specially curated collection of 3,000 books and audio-visual materials, Molly-reloaded also comes equipped with new features including eight iPads to facilitate easy access to our eResources.
Standing for Drop Everything And Read, DEAR@Community makes it possible for educational centres as well as social, welfare and community organisations to start their own mini library with up to 2,000 books.
We have come a long way with a wide range of reading initiatives, from the endearing kidsREAD programme to the engaging READ! Singapore. At the heart of these initiatives is our commitment to develop new and innovative programmes that cultivate lifelong learning.
Launched in 2004 to promote the joy of reading among children from low income families, the kidsREAD programme celebrated its annual Volunteer Appreciation Day on 28 October 2011 to thank volunteers for their support and dedication.
Children have benefited from kidsread
Themed “Reading – Your Very First Gift to Your Child”, 10,000 & More Fathers Reading! 2011 launched on 4 June 2011 reinforced how fathers can spend quality time with their children through their favourite reads. Fathers were encouraged to pen and share their thoughts on books that they have read with their young ones.
A fantasy story and collectible card programme, Quest encourages children, particularly boys, aged between 7 and 12 years to explore the fun side of reading. Some 175,000 children read the storyline, with over 3.4 million card redemptions and more than 4.5 million book loans.
Readers aged 10 to 15 also have their share of fun with Conquest, an interactive reading programme incorporating board games. Since its launch in November 2011, the programme has reached out to more than 4,700 youths through the redemption of over 44,000 starter packs.
READ! Singapore 2011 launched MobileRead, a free iPhone application that allows book lovers to read on the go by providing access to a collection of stories selected from past editions of the annual reading initiative.
Read! Singapore ebooks have been downloaded
Book lovers did their part for the environment while sharing their love of reading on 15 and 16 April 2011 at Book Exchange 2011. More than 77,000 books changed hands over the two days.
Book lovers participated in Book Exchange 2011
At the annual Charity Book Donation held on 22 July 2011, 96 non-profit organisations and voluntary welfare organisations such as the Pathlight School, Ramakrishna Mission and Singapore Prison Service received 47,000 library books and magazines.
Used books and magazines at the library book sale
We are living in an increasingly connected world. New technologies have changed the way we live, work and learn. At NLB, we provide our users with online resources which they can access, anytime, anywhere.
Our eResources (eresources.nlb.gov.sg) provide users with access to a wide variety of eBooks, eMagazines, music tracks, eNewspaper and eComics.
Readers can look forward to a wider selection of bilingual books, dictionaries and magazines with the sealing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Shanghai Book Company (Pte) Limited on 21 February 2012.
The International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (iPRES) was jointly organised with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 1 to 4 November 2011 to share best practices and latest trends.
Fans of local music can search for their favourite tunes from as far back as the 1940s with the help of MusicSG (music.nl.sg). Users will be able to gain valuable insights into music genres that are unique to Singapore.
Through NewspaperSG (newspapers.nl.sg), users can digitally access a total of 28 newspaper titles from Singapore and Malaya dating back to 1831. Newspapers in the four official languages, including The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Berita Harian and Tamil Murasu, are available.
Leaf through historical and even rare titles in the comfort of your home through BookSG (sgebooks.nl.sg), a collection of books and printed materials digitised from the National Library’s collections. Apart from selected works from the British Library’s Oriental and India Office Collection, you can also take your pick from the recently added Chinese collections published by the Youth Book Company and the World Book Company.
Books and magazines on BookSG
PictureSG (pictures.nl.sg) allows users to view 18,000 photographs and artworks on Singapore’s major events and places. Users can tag the images with descriptive key words that help others to locate the images easily.
Images available on PictureSG
It is by learning about our past that we can make meaningful contributions to shape the future. Holding this belief close to our hearts, we rolled out thought-provoking exhibitions and kicked off the heart-stirring Singapore Memory Project this year.
Visitors learnt about the life and contributions of Yao Zi (姚紫), a celebrated novelist, essayist and editor of early Singapore, at the Yao Zi: His Literary Journey (姚紫 – 文学历程) exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Singapore Literature Society on 9 October 2011.
Our readers were brought on a literary journey when the works of media veteran, P Krishnan, took centre stage at the
P Krishnan Exhibition: His Literary Journey, which was launched on 10 March 2012.
At the Abdul Ghani Hamid: Mata & Hati exhibition launched on 3 December 2011, Singaporeans got acquainted with the journey and works of Abdul Ghani Hamid, an acclaimed author and poet on the local literary scene.
The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a whole-of-nation movement to capture five million memories related to Singapore by 2015. The stories, photographs and videos will be a collective gift to future generations of Singaporeans. A conference titled “When Nations Remember” held on 28 November 2011 recognised the efforts of our partners and over 100 volunteers, known as Memory Corps, towards this initiative.
Memories contributed since August 2011
Singaporeans learnt the origins of some of our streets, as well as our early history and multicultural heritage at the Stories Behind Singapore Streets exhibition, launched on 11 January 2012. Apart from featuring street names dedicated to prominent people who have played a key role in making Singapore what it is today, the exhibition also highlighted early names of Singapore in the 14th and 15th century, pre-Raffles Singapore, the Raffles Town Plan and the post-colonial period after Singapore’s independence in 1965.
Street names featured
The Four Days in February: Adam Park the Last Battle and Images of Internment: The Eye & Art of William Haxworth exhibitions brought to life the harsh conditions of war and the resilience of our forefathers. The exhibitions, held in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the battle for Singapore, reminded Singaporeans of a difficult period in our nation’s past and the invaluable lessons drawn from it.
Working hand in hand with our partners, we seek to inspire a nation of learners through various enriching learning opportunities spanning from language campaigns to community outreach programmes.
Launched in September 2011 with a new tagline of “How You Speak Makes a Difference”, the Speak Good English Movement 2011 encouraged all Singaporeans to be good role models of English to children around them. As part of the movement, the Jurong Regional Library was transformed into a buzzing “Speak Good English Carnival” on 10 and 11 September 2011, where children, youths and parents picked up useful tips on speaking standard English through fun and interesting activities.
Back for the 32nd time in July 2011, the Speak Mandarin Campaign stirred youths’ interest and participation through a theme song contest and a short video clip competition.
The Tamil Language Council spiced up the month of April 2011 with a series of events, organised as part of the Tamil Language Festival. Through debates, drama competitions, a family day and more, participants were encouraged to use the Tamil language in their daily lives.
For the month of July 2011, Bulan Bahasa (Malay Language Month) piqued participants’ interest in the Malay language with storytelling sessions, traditional Malay dance performances and other interesting activities.
Displays on mental health and mental wellness were set up at 23 libraries on 9 October 2011, in collaboration with Silver Ribbon (Singapore), as part of World Mental Health Day to raise awareness as well as to showcase our libraries’ collections on the topic.
The Arts and Books Exhibition at Yishun Public Library showcased the artwork of students from Huamin Primary School for a month, beginning 22 November 2011. With artworks ranging from ceramics to paper mache, the exhibition provided a platform for the student artists to present their artworks to the public.
NLB staff came together for a worthy cause – Walk for Rice and Active Day – on 16 September 2011. The meaningful and enriching walk brought the staff past heritage sites such as the Singapore Art Museum, National Museum, Fort Canning Park, Asian Civilisations Museum and National Archives.
NLB won the bid to host the first International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Singapore in August 2013. The eight-day event is expected to attract over 3,000 participants from more than 100 countries to discuss developments and trends in the library arena.
The Renewal of Arrangement on the Cooperation sealed with the National Library of New Zealand on 17 November 2011 paved the way for the development of digital library services for schools and staff attachments.
National Library Board
100 Victoria Street, #14-01
National Library Building,
Tel +65 6332 3133
Fax +65 6332 3233