NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Audio Books in Selected Public Libraries

Mr Scott Sorochak, Chief Executive Officer, BookCrossing.com, placing a BookCross@SG book in an SMRT taxi to mark the launch of the initiative. Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive, NLB, looks on.

A father and daughter share quality bonding time at the inaugural ‘10,000 Fathers Reading!’ initiative organised by NLB and the Centre of Fathering.

A total of 4,411 audio book titles in the four official languages were selected, acquired, catalogued, processed and delivered. The audio book lending service was launched at Central Lending Library, Jurong Regional Library, Tampines Regional Library and Woodlands Regional Library in June 2007.

BookCross@SG

Ms Tay Ai Cheng (left), Senior Director, Public Library Services, NLB, comforts staff at the closing of library@orchard.

Guest-of-Honour, Mr Teo Chee Hean (left), Minister for Defence and Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive, NLB, unveiling the official cover for the anthology of short stories selected at the launch of READ! Singapore.

Dino, the ‘I Love My Library’ mascot, makes its rounds at the public libraries as part of the ‘Customer Appreciation Day’ celebrations.

A young participant tries her hand at drawing on the ‘Graffiti Wall’ at the 8th Asian Children’s Festival held at the National Library Building.

In partnership with BookCrossing.com, NLB launched BookCross@SG (BCSG) on 3 July 2007, making Singapore the first official BookCrossing country. Scott Sorochak, Chief Executive of BC.com was the Guest-of-Honour. The island-wide initiative allows readers to ‘read and release’ books and aims to promote a self-sustaining learning community in Singapore. Targeting readers between the age of 17 and 40 years, BCSG books are placed at more than 2,000 official ‘hotspots’ around Singapore, including selected roaming SMRT taxis, Café Galilee outlets and Café Cartel outlets, for anyone to bring home. Each book is tagged with a BCSG logo, a unique ID number and sticker. Readers who pick them up will be asked to register themselves online so other BookCrossers can also track the books’ journey through different readers or share a review of their ‘catch’. A total of two social events organised exclusively for bookcrossers and four meet-up sessions were held during the year.

10,000 Fathers Reading!

10,000 Fathers Reading! is a nationwide initiative organised by NLB and the Centre For Fathering. It aims to act as a catalyst to involve fathers in their children’s development and to foster father-child bonding through reading. This initiative was launched on Father’s Day, 17 June 2007 by Minister of State for Education and Manpower, Mr Gan Kim Yong. Both fathers and children enjoyed a fun-filled day of activities and reading at the event. 10,000 fathers each collected a reading kit and started on their reading-bonding journey over a 3-month period. Following the launch, fathers and children attended programmes, workshops and activities organised by NLB and its partners.

library@orchard Moving On

After eight years of service, library@orchard, NLB’s first niche library, moved out of Ngee Ann City on 30 November 2007. A first-ever initiative was the setting up of a library blog for the relocation as well as a party at the library to mark the last day of operation.

eNotification and Alert Service

NLB has always welcomed new technology in its mission to serve the public better. To this end, we launched the eNotification service via SMS or emails for Date Due reminders, notification on the cost of lost and damaged items, reservation collection notices, membership expiry notices and confirmation of item returns.

CAMPAIGNS

READ! Singapore 2007

READ! Singapore 2007 was officially launched on 24 May 2007 by Minister for Defence, Mr Teo Chee Hean at the National Library Building. More than 300 guests, who attended the launch, were entertained with dramatisations of the selected short stories. A half-day ‘Reading Fiesta’ was also held on the same day following the launch. Activities such as book discussion sessions and roadshows were held at various public and institutional locations. Eleven reading carnivals were also held at different community clubs throughout the island. The campaign ended in August, reaching out to 24,000 participants. As a prelude to READ! Singapore 2008, the programme ‘Share your Favourite Book With The Whole Nation’ was launched on 26 December 2007 to encourage Singaporeans to send in recommendations of their favourite books.

Customer Appreciation Day Celebrations

On 26 May 2007, NLB celebrated ‘I Love My Library and My Library Loves Me - Customer Appreciation Day’. Activities were held at public libraries around the island. Among them were storytelling performances, Treasure Hunt and Customer Appreciation Day Specials.

Drop Everything and Read

The Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) campaign, with the aim to engage all Singaporeans in recreational reading, was organised again in 2007. It was held from 26 May to 8 July 2007 to capitalise on the school holidays. The borrowing limit for library members was doubled during this period.

Speak Good English Movement 2007

The Speak Good English Movement aims to encourage Singaporeans to speak Standard English in their daily lives. The Guest-of-Honour at the launch at Timbre Music Bistro was Rear Admiral (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Minister of State for Education. As youth was the key target audience this year, post-65 Members of Parliament Mr Hri Kumar, Mrs Josephine Teo, Mr Zaqy Mohamad and Dr Lam Pin Min were present as special guests. Over the year, the movement reached out to youth with its weekly Rock Your World programmes at Timbre. The movement also expanded its use of new media to reach this audience. Aside from revamping its website - www.goodenglish.org.sg - and connecting with youth through its Rock Your World Youtube channel and Facebook group, it also collaborated with STOMP and Youth.Sg to make resources available to those with a desire to improve their English. For the first time, the movement produced an English Language resource book - English As It is Broken - together with the Ministry of Education, The Straits Times and Pan Pacific Publishing. This book was on Singapore’s non-fiction best-sellers list for more than half a year and sold over 20,000 copies.

Speak Mandarin Campaign 2007

The Speak Mandarin Campaign used the theme of sports to kick off this year’s campaign – a move riding on the increasing interest in China and the Beijing Olympics 2008. Launched in November 2007 at an indoor soccer venue by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, this year’s campaign featured a new tagline ‘Speak Mandarin – Are You Game?’ or ‘讲华语 , 你肯吗?’. The tagline appears on Comfort Delgro buses, SMRT posters and is also featured regularly in STOMP! and The Straits Times to create awareness and continuity for the campaign. ‘华语 COOL’ remains as the brand identity that is now familiar and popular among Chinese Singaporeans. The campaign also promotes Mandarin as an enjoyable, fun and a living language via Culture and The Arts, Design and Lifestyle. Twenty activists were newly appointed, including Team Singapore sportsmen and other prominent personalities. Along with them, 30 partner organisations are supporting the campaign with a suite of sponsorships and initiatives.

Asian Children’s Festival 2007

The 8th Asian Children’s Festival (ACF) was launched by Ms Denise Phua, Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC, at The Plaza, National Library Building on 17 November 2007. The anchor festival event, KidsASIA!, opened right after the launch. The entire Plaza was converted into a huge festival carnival ground with four activity zones for children and their families for two days. As part of the festival, an all night slumber party was held for 30 children from our Junior Reading Clubs on the same day. The children were given a night tour of the Singapore Art Museum and then brought back to the National Library Building for an evening of poetry slam, interactive comedy and literary games. The programme ended the next morning with a sunrise yoga session. The nine day festival also featured fringe programmes for children at the public libraries. ACF 2007 closed on 25 November with the signature MRT Read-n-Ride event for 400 kidsREAD children.

OUTREACH TO CHILDREN

Publications for Children

A variety of publications had been developed in the last financial year to specifically reach out to the children and the parents of these children.

  1. ‘The Tale of the Missing Tail and other Original Singapore Stories’ is a collection of 19 original stories written by NLB staff in the four official languages.
  2. ‘Heritage Tales: Treasures from Singapore’ is an annotated bibliography compiled for the Asian Children’s Festival. It supplements the 2005 Bibliography on Singapore Children’s Literature by listing down more recent titles of local children’s literature and included a segment on writings by children for children.
  3. Parenting Pathfinders are resource guides that provide parents with websites and resources on various subjects like how to engage reluctant readers, health and nutrition, and behavior management.
  4. ‘Hooked On Tales’ is a new, quarterly 12-page newsletter produced by the Public Library Services Children’s Librarians for primary school children. It covers great reads, library happenings and author interviews that would interest the young mind. Children can also send in recommendations and apply to be Cub Reporters on reading events in their schools.
  5. Annotated Birthday Bibliography features books on the birthday theme, works of authors born in a particular month and other major literary events or happenings.

kidsREAD Growing Strong and Stretching Out

Young members of NLB’s kidsREAD club performing at the inaugural kidsREAD Volunteer Appreciation Day.

kidsREAD programme, with the support of Tote Board, Council for Third Age and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, will roll out its programmes for the next five years till March 2012. Over the past four years since its inception in 2004, kidsREAD has reached out to over 5,000 children with the aid of over 1,800 volunteers in 85 reading clubs set up islandwide. kidsREAD clubs have not only grown in numbers but also widened its reach. This year, the kidsREAD programme was set up at a second special organisation – the Down Syndrome Association. Run by parent volunteers, the programme attracted an overwhelming number of children who were interested to sign up. Sunbeam Place became the second children’s home after Gracehaven to run the kidsREAD programme in July 2007.

To thank volunteers and organisations for their support of the kidsREAD programme, a Volunteer Appreciation Day was held on 28 April 2007. Three types of awards were given out, namely the ‘Bronze Award’ for volunteers who have served for more than a year and a half, ‘Friend of kidsREAD Award’ for the clubs and schools that have supported the programme for over two years, and ‘Star of kidsREAD Award’ which is meant for outstanding volunteers who have furthered the cause of kidsREAD. Hundred and eight volunteers were given the ‘Bronze Award’, 26 were awarded ‘Friend of kidsREAD’ and 10 were awarded ‘Star of kidsREAD’. St Anthony’s Primary School’s kidsREAD club students performed ‘How Singapore got its name’ for the event. A total of 180 people consisting of representatives from the self-help groups, volunteers and parents attended the event.

Junior Reading Ambassadors

This is an inaugural programme in which children from primary schools were selected to be NLB’s ambassadors for promoting reading and libraries. Thirteen children, aged 9 to 12, were chosen to be Junior Reading Ambassadors (JRAs) amongst many who participated in the library’s Reading Bear programme, proving themselves to be avid readers and wanting to share the love of reading with their peers. The JRAs went through a training camp to learn more about library services, different genres and good authors, storytelling and story dramatisation and how to handle media interviews. They appeared at many public platforms to talk about the benefits of reading, conducted buddy reading, attended media interviews and hosted major children’s events. They also inducted younger children in their schools about reading and the use of the library.

Pilot Run of Read and Reap Project

The objective of this project is to provide accessible reading materials in public spaces so as to spark the desire to read and to create platforms for engaged conversations and creative contributions. Interesting and thought-provoking excerpts from fiction and non-fiction books were selected and made prominent via posters, postcards and online forums to generate discussions, reviews and expression from the public. Accompanying the excerpts are recommended related reads by librarians and self-expression questions posed to readers to share their opinions, feelings and beliefs. A pilot was conducted with schools, libraries and a couple of public service divisions in August 2007. This pilot featured a toolkit of activities that the organisation or school could use to facilitate further discussions on the featured excerpt.

Happy Birthday Programme

This is a year-long project that started from January 2008 which targets young library patrons up to 12 years of age. It is a birthday celebration through a series of activities at the libraries and via the Mobile Library Service. Activities planned for the programme include:

  1. Birthday Bash – a quarterly celebration at a regional library for patrons from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 5 to 10 years.
  2. Birthday Card – this can be redeemed at all public libraries with loan receipts
  3. Birthday Corner at the Library – to showcase dedications, wishes and photos of the birthday celebrations with the aim of creating a social space for bonding with library patrons
  4. Birthday Bibliography – featuring books on the birthday theme, works of authors born in a particular month and other major literary events or happenings.

Programmes for Children with Special Needs and their Caregivers

  1. Sign-n-Tell – A Partnership with the The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) We launched the 2007 Sign-n-Tell programme series at Bishan Community Library on 7 April 2007. This special story telling programme series by the corporate volunteers of HSBC catered to the hearing impaired as well as the general public. Using colourful costumes, props, sign language complemented with narration, the volunteers entertained more than 100 children and parents over the hour-long launch programme. Three more sessions were conducted at Bishan Community Library in June, September and December 2007.
  2. Live Inclusive Storytelling Animated UK Language Therapist and Storyteller, Ms Louise Coigley presented this workshop for more than 50 parents and teachers at the Bishan Community Library. Ms Coigley gave an insightful session about the Lis’n Tell techniques of storytelling. This approach would be particularly useful for parents and teachers who work with children and teenagers with special needs. The speaker also made many recommendations of good reads in our collection.
  3. Understanding the Nature and Needs of a Dyslexic Learner Ms Kimberly Loong, an Educational Therapist, gave an informative talk on how parents can identify the signs of dyslexia in their children. The benefits of early intervention are articulated at this session and tips on how parents can be involved in helping their children with dyslexia to improve their learning skills. The speaker provided many inspirational stories and examples to encourage parents in helping their children to overcome learning difficulties.

OUTREACH TO TEENS

Online Chat Event

The YO blog creates a unique youth presence within the library through connecting youths to relevant resources and provides an online channel to reach out and engage the teens.

Students working as a team to find information at the library in a game-based competition called ‘Prove It!’ organised by NLB.

The Services to Teens team, through the assistance of Goethe-Institut, organised an online chat event for a total of 57 teens in Germany and Singapore – specifically at the Urban Library Reutlingen and Stadtbibliothek Solingen in Germany, the Jurong Regional Library and Woodlands Regional Library in Singapore. There were altogether three chat rooms with a librarian in each to oversee the chat session. It was an opportunity for teens to get in touch with as well as share about each other’s culture and lifestyle. Singaporean teens were also able to showcase their creativity and multimedia skills via photograph slideshows on Singapore sights and sounds to their German peers.

YO Blog

The blog was set up with the aim of creating a unique youth presence (both virtual and physical) within the library. It aims to connect youths to useful and relevant resources and provides an online channel to reach out and engage teens. The blog name ‘YO’ can either stand for Youth Online or it can also be a common greeting used by youths today. The framework of the blog covers three key components: teen voices and views, teens in action and librarians’ voices. Youth volunteers were recruited to contribute and manage the blog contents and site together under the guidance of the librarians. The blog can be accessed via www.pl.sg.

Teen Fiction Reading Kit

A series of six fiction genre kits were introduced as part of the regular library enrichment workshop modules for secondary school students. For the year in review, 20 workshops were conducted, reaching out to 1,648 students.

Service Package for Reluctant Readers

A series of four popular non-fiction topics were developed as part of the regular library enrichment workshops. A total of seven sessions were conducted for 253 students.

Prove It!

In our game-based competition called Prove It!, students were challenged to seek information from credible sources. This contest was designed to enable students to acquire information literacy skills and to communicate, collaborate and work as a team to complete tasks within a time limit. The contest was targeted at students from secondary schools and attracted 52 teams consisting of 160 students from schools across Singapore.

OUTREACH TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND ADULTS

Behind the Scenes of King Lear and The Seagull

Mr Jeremy Adam, Producer of The Royal Shakespeare Company, gave a fascinating behind-the-scenes talk about the King Lear and The Seagull productions that opened in Singapore in July 2007. The programme attracted participants to library@esplanade who were treated to an insightful talk about the intricacies involved in creating these masterpieces on stage.

Circa2007: A Photographic Encounter with the Everyday

In conjunction with Singapore Art Show 2007, and in collaboration with Light Editions, NLB ran a mini photography series at library@orchard. This series come under the umbrella event known as Circa2007. The library edition of Circa2007 consisted of three photography talks by local and foreign renowned photographers and a photography exhibition by youths based on the theme of ‘Singaporean Singapore’. The exhibition at library@orchard ran till the end of August 2007.

Strike Up The Angklung and Kulintang!

The Angklung Kulintang Ensemble from Millennia Institute enthralled more than a hundred patrons at the library@esplanade on 18 August 2007. The Ensemble performed award-winning tunes from their recent participation in the Singapore Youth Festival. Woven into the performance was a short presentation on the historical aspects of how these instruments evolved. The techniques to play these instruments were also clearly explained at the session.

Up Close and Personal with Ms Gail Simone

The library, together with the American Embassy, invited prominent comic book author, Ms Gail Simone to Central Lending Library in December 2007 for an up-close-and-personal session. Covering topics from the creation of comic book characters to life in the industry itself, Ms Simone’s talk was engaging and enlightening.

Chinese Language: Rich Legacy or Traditional Burden

Held on 18 November 2007 at the National Library Building, the discussion attracted 250 participants. Three professors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong shared views on how Singapore could benefit from its Chinese heritage to ride on the growing importance of China and the Chinese language.

Bilang Puisi: Antara Eja dan Lafaz

In conjunction with the launch of the book, ‘Yang Bilang’, the discussion panel consisted of author-poet Rafaat Haji Hamzah, Cultural Medallion Award winner Isa Kamari and theatre activist Big Zulfadhli and was chaired by The Reading Group representative, Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. All the panel members gave their insights and provided their critiques on the book at this programme which was held on 12 January 2008 at the Bedok Community Library. The author then read a poem from his book at the close of the discussions.

Harvest Festival@WRL!

This programme was held in conjunction with the Harvest Festival that Indians celebrate in the month of January. Held on 12 January 2008 at the Woodlands Regional Library Programme Zone, young performers from the Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, ladies from the Maharashtrian Mandal Singapore and Mrs Vijaya Mohan, Guinness World Record holder for Rangoli design, contributed to the colourful and engaging programme. They performed village folk dances, did a presentation on Harvest Festival celebrations in Maharashtra, and did a Rangoli design demonstration on the traditional Harvest Festival claypot.

OUTREACH TO SENIORS

The Services for Seniors team supported outreach events targeted at seniors and looked at ways to better meet the needs of the seniors. For the year in review, they reached out to more than 11,000 seniors.

Learning Resource Kits and Publication

Nine learning resource kits were prepared on selected topics that interest the seniors in four languages. Some of these include:

  1. Money Matters (English)
  2. Golden Years (Malay)
  3. Women Writers (Tamil)
  4. Cookery/Healthy Lifestyle (Chinese)

Useful tips on different topics, taken from a selection of books, were included to enhance the learning experience. The learning resource kits were made available at all 22 public libraries.

Reading Promotion for Seniors

In conjunction with the Active Ageing Festival, NLB coordinated a system-wide reading promotion for seniors and gave away 1,500 goodie bags containing learning kits, magnifying sheets and soft foam balls.

Towards a Senior-Friendly Library

At the Toa Payoh Community Library’s Senior Citizens’ Room, more resources were made available for use by seniors. These included learning resource kits, community information, mental stimulating games such as chess, exercise balls and passport-sized magnifying sheets for reading purposes. Reading aids (passport-sized magnifying sheets) were also displayed for use at the newspaper corners at the public libraries.

Programmes and Library Tours

Five library orientation tours were conducted in Mandarin for 266 senior adults at Bishan Community Library and Tampines Regional Library. The tours aimed to help seniors get familiar with the services, facilities and collections of the respective libraries.

Collection Development

To guide collection development of titles that meet the reading interests and needs of seniors, a listing was drawn up on recommended English serial titles in areas such as Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Craftmaking, Travel, Food and Investment. There are future plans to prepare similar listings on recommendations for magazines in other languages.

Silver Industry Conference and Exhibition

A series of four books entitled ‘Letters from Grandma and Grandpa’ published in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, to share the wisdom of grandparents to their grandchildren.

Silver Industry Conference & Exhibition (SICEX) was a major nationwide event-cum-roadshow, supported by most organisations serving seniors. NLB’s booth attracted an estimated 9,000 visitors. During the two-day event, 911 books were loaned out. We received 1,494 enquiries and recruited 44 volunteers for kidsREAD.

Letters from Grandma and Grandpa

‘Letters from Grandma and Grandpa’ was launched on Grandparents’ Day, 25 November 2007 by Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office. Together with the Council For Third Age, 938LIVE, Berita Harian, Lianhe Zaobao and Tamil Murasu, NLB published a series of books in Singapore’s four official languages. The books, which carry a collection of letters from grandparents to their grandchildren, showcase the wisdom of the elder generation. Leaving a legacy for future generations to come, the initiative has created opportunities for inter-generational dialogue and the building of stronger family ties.