Welcome to the knowledge economy.

In the new Millennium, nations and organisations will find that the next competitive edge lies in the skilful management and application of knowledge. Individuals must have the ability and commitment to lifelong learning. For one compelling reason: knowledge empowers.

In the New Economy where the harnessing of knowledge in more efficient and effective ways becomes a critical success factor, the National Library Board takes on a new strategic role.

The traditional roles of a library remain relevant. First, as a repository of knowledge, measured by the comprehensiveness and depth of collection. Second, providing access to this vast storehouse, as measured by the number of users, the frequency and volume of access, and the comprehensiveness of its geographical outreach. Third, as a knowledge guide, helping to structure, classify, organise and index this knowledge, to help users know what is there, and to help them find it.

Additionally, the Board has positioned itself to support the information needs of the different segments. Much more than a roomful of books, special facilities and collections are in place to provide fresh insights, self-discovery and engaging interactions to make each visit to the library an innovative learning experience. Currently, the Board has one regional library, 16 community libraries and 41 community children's libraries.

With the growth of information and communication technologies, content has emerged in new forms and our challenge has been to move from the single mediumof print to a combination of print, sound, video and graphics. The public library system has been transformed into an island-wide information infrastructure backed by a sophisticated IT backbone. Through the Internet, users can access our catalogues and information databases, and make online transactions. At the Toa Payoh Community Library, we have a 430 sq m training centre that provides three levels of Internet training to the general public.

The needs of library users have changed. The Board's challenge is to anticipate and respond to the present and future needs of our users. The library must be at the heart of where people work and play. This is the vision for library@orchard, a new concept lifestyle library and the first of its kind in Singapore. We have created a stimulating environment - a place for people to recharge, listen to music, catch up on reading over a cup of coffee. In short, a trendy place for young people and to keep them coming back for more.

The National Library Board has also been redefining its roles as a library, forging many partnerships with other prestigious institutions locally and internationally including the Singapore Management University, National Library of China, the Shanghai Library, the Russian State Library, and the British Library. Our partnerships with other libraries have helped to extend the Board's own knowledge boundaries.

The National Library Board has all the ingredients in place to set the stage for a booming knowledge economy. This is our contribution to Singaporeans - a world-class library network to expand our learning capacity to thrive in the New Economy.


National Library Board


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