While the dot.com era is gone, the basic forces of the New Economy
are still around. The New Economy is about transformation, new business
models, innovation and customerisation at an unprecedented scale.
It is about reinventing our companies to create new value and to
compete in the future. It is an economy where intellectual capital
replaces physical capital and assets as the key driver of growth.
The challenge lies in our ability to do things faster and in more
innovative and creative ways.
Our Government has focused its efforts on developing our human
capital by investing in a learning nation. Lifelong learning will
ensure that our people will be equipped with the right know-how
and knowledge to stay relevant in the competitive economy. The acquisition
of knowledge through learning can, thus, no longer be confined to
formal institutions and learning environments.
Libraries play an important role in quenching the thirst for knowledge
and encouraging its absorption and application. However, in the
New Economy, the role of libraries as an important knowledge provider
has been challenged. The rapid growth of information and the fast
pace at which it becomes obsolete coupled with the complexity of
knowledge and its representation in many new forms beyond the book
are contributing factors.
In Singapore, we have reinvented our libraries as vital and creative
learning spaces providing our citizenry with a lifestyle choice.
We have strengthened our position as a social institution supporting
lifelong learning. We have transformed our libraries into a world-class
library system to encourage learning and discovery. Libraries@Singapore
have set in place an enabling infrastructure to promote learning
in a multitude of ways. We have forged links with local and international
libraries and industry partners to augment our collection and services.
Our libraries have become public spaces where people come to reflect,
interact and learn either individually or collectively. Our modern
facilities and rich reservoir of knowledge attract people from all
walks of life to the library. Our extensive network of physical
public libraries act as "street corner universities" providing
universal access to information and thereby supporting wealth creation
in the New Economy.
The library system has a distinct part to play in the advancement
of every citizen, regardless of age and background. Our social inclusion
strategy involves narrowing any technological divide across society
by providing facilities and info-literacy training to create a more
IT and info-savvy society. We strive to bridge any disparities amongst
the information haves and have-nots. Our citizens can enjoy the
facilities and services and experience life in the digital era at
We have placed emphasis on literacy and have through the myriad
of programmes and activities, promoted reading, learning and information
and IT literacy to the masses - from children to adults and senior
citizens. Our users were introduced to emerging trends through programmes
such as Life Sciences@the Courtyard and IT@orchard. KIDS Discover@Marine
Parade allows kids to explore and learn in a fun, innovative and
interactive manner. The Asian Children's Festival attracted international
participation and instilled a lifelong interest in reading, literary
arts and culture.
We continued to preserve the past for future generations to understand
and learn about our cultural and literary heritage. We have continued
to adopt new technology to further enhance our business operations
and improve the quality of our services, thus making it convenient
and accessible to all. Through the application of digital technologies,
our users gained rapid access to rich sources and experienced new
forms of reading, intellectual and cultural exchange.
All these resulted in some 21 million people visiting our libraries
and borrowing over 25 million items. Our libraries will play an
even greater role in supporting a nation of learners. Libraries@Singapore
will remain both the physical and virtual portal of choice that
nourishes the citizenry with information and knowledge that inspires
discovery, exploration, adoption and learning. We will strive to
foster an enquiring and open mind and nurture a passion for learning
among our citizenry.
In the 21st century, Libraries@Singapore will strive
to impart KNOWLEDGE and spur the IMAGINATION of our citizens and
open their minds to endless POSSIBILITIES. KNOWLEDGE, IMAGINATION
and POSSIBILITIES will be the common touchstones for all segments
of the population.