Working Hand-in-Hand

The National Library Board aims to be the cornerstone of life-long learning. To that end, collaborative and synergistic links with local and international organisations are not an option but a necessity. Over the past year, the Board has actively forged ties with many and streamlined its own management practices. The delivery of information services to its various publics will be swift and efficient.

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Signing of Agreements

The Board actively boosted its expansive range of information. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Singapore Management University (SMU) in September 1999. The Board would help plan, establish and manage library and information services for SMU, as well as provide SMU access to its extensive collections and information services, both locally and internationally. Other areas of cooperation under the MOU included organising joint seminars, workshops and courses in the business and management fields.

Hot on its heels was the signing of agreements on implementation details of cooperation with the National Library of China and Shanghai Library in December 1999. The signing of these agreements would facilitate access by Singaporeans to the collections and services of these two libraries. These agreements included the provision of library materials, document delivery and inter-library loans, information search and packaging, and mirroring of websites. It will also substantially strengthen the scope of Chinese reference and business services offered by the National Reference Library.

The Board also embarked on projects to provide consultancy services to libraries. Among these were libraries of the Ministry of Information and The Arts, the Ministry of Manpower and Civil Defence Academy. The range of consulting services included automation of library operations, cataloguing, advice on staffing, training staff to manage the library, and collection development.

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Regional Alliance

In the New Economy, knowledge shared is knowledge gained. Recognising this, the Board hosted the 6th National Libraries Group-Southeast Asia (NLG-SEA) meeting in April 1999 for directors and delegates of the national libraries of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The 10 national libraries signed a declaration for greater cooperation and mutual sharing within the NLG-SEA.

In conjunction with the event, the Board also conducted the fellowship programme for Top Library Professionals from ASEAN. It was attended by directors of national libraries and presidents of library associations from nine ASEAN countries and Cambodia.

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Local Initiatives

The Board continued its efforts to encourage learning in schools and among the public. Following its successful inaugural Book Sale last year, the Board held a second Book Sale in July 1999. It occupied a 2,500 sq m hall at the Singapore Expo. More than 100,000 visitors attended the Book Sale, and bought 250,000 volumes of library books and magazines in all languages.

In December 1999, NLB held a Millennium Book Exhibition at the National Library to showcase a selection of the century's best books, award-winning titles, and significant Singapore books published since the independence.

The inaugural NLB/Ministry of Education (MOE) School Library Conference was held in September 1999. It was attended by some 900 school principals, heads of department, MOE headquarter's staff and school librarians.

The conference focused on Information Services and Management in the New Millennium. The revamped Student Virtual Community was successfully launched at the conference. The Student Virtual Community encourages continuous learning, sharing of ideas, creative thinking and interaction among students. The service was accessible through the Internet. It was a success that recorded an average of 300 new registrants every month since its launch.   

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In Search of Excellence

It has always been the Board's aim to progressively enhance learning and quality standards. It therefore came as no surprise when the Board won the Silver Award at the National Quality Control Circle Convention 1999.

In the tradition of excellence, a system-wide library audit was launched in February 1999 to evaluate collections, understand library needs and identify performance gaps. The audit included a programme of 12 visits to community libraries. During these visits, questionnaires were administered to staff to gather information on perceived strengths and weaknesses. Debrief sessions were held at the end of visits. The audit led to a review and updating of policies on renewal of overdue books, registration, basic subscription, and multimedia service.

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