Knowledge Empowers!

The National Library Board takes the lead in guiding, learning and showing how information is disseminated. Quickly. Efficiently. Seamlessly.

The past year has been a busy one for the Board. Library membership reached 1.76 million in 1999, a 10% increase from 1998, with almost one in every two Singaporeans being a member. A total of 19.7 million people visited the libraries in 1999, an increase of 8.5% from the previous year. By the end of FY1999, over 24.7 million items of library materials were borrowed. The NL.Line, the Board's website, recorded three million hits in 1999, a 58% increase over 1998.

Here are some key initiatives that the Board has embarked to navigate knowledge and empower individuals.

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Improving Skills

A well-planned library is of little use if users are not equipped to fruitfully exploit its capabilities. With a view to raising the skill and information literacy level of library users, the Board started the Information Literacy Programme (ILP). This programme teaches users how to tap library resources - database, reference tools, catalogue and the like effectively so that their library-going experience is a useful and meaningful one.

The National Reference Library conducted a total of 95 customised information literacy programmes for the Board's corporate clients and members of the public. A total of 1,377 individuals benefited from attending these programmes. They were equipped with skills to help them independently search for print, electronic and online resources. ONE Learning Place reached out to 51,000 people and taught them how to use the Internet.

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Cultivating Graciousness

As part of the Board's mission to cultivate a gracious society and enhance the learning ambience, a Library Manners Promotion was launched on 30 June 1999. The programme's objective was to cultivate library etiquette among the young. Children make up about 40% of the libraries' users each month. A Video CD entitled "NLB User Education and Library Manners 1999" was distributed to all primary and secondary schools to remind users about library manners. The message on library etiquette was aptly incorporated into this user-education video which provided an overview of the libraries' facilities and services. The two-week promotion attracted almost 11,000 calls of enquiry from the public. It has raised public awareness on library manners and the Board will continue its efforts in this area.

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Achieving Service Excellence

A Service Standards programme which sets standards for customer service, collections, facilities and programmes was launched in March 1999. This programme is part of the Board's efforts to instil a spirit of service excellence among all staff. A total of 68 service standards covering areas such as personal attire, handling customer complaints, publicising programmes and maintaining collections were set. All frontline staff have a copy of the Service Standards Manual for easy reference. This has led to improvements in the library's programmes and the facilities.

Programme attendance increased from 17% in 1998 to 20.4% in 1999. Of those who attended the programmes, 74.6% found the programmes interesting and informative.

There has also been consistent improvement in the queuing time at Self-Check machines in the past 4 years. In 1999, 81% of respondents said that they spent less then 10 minutes in the queue. This was an improvement from 1998 where only 78% of respondents indicated spending less than 10 minutes in the queue.

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Enchancing Collections

A library's collections are a testimony to its commitment of creating a well-developed knowledge ecology.The Board has actively sourced for new additions to enhance its collections.

In March 2000, the Board launched its Design Centre library collection, housed on Level Three of the National Reference Library at Stamford Road. A generous donation by the Trade and Development Board, it features 7,000 books, magazines and videos on all forms of design, such as architecture, calligraphy, fashion, painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, theatre and film. Designers, design students, and the business community would find this a treasure trove of ideas and industry aspirations.

Over the year, the Board also developed its Chinese Language Collections substantially. Many prominent titles on business, Chinese paleography, civilisation, history, arts, religion and literature were added.These titles cater to the needs of the businesses and researchers with specific interests in China. Some of the more prominent titles are:

Collection of Official Correspondences Between Qing China and Southeast Asian Countries

Collections of Genealogical Records of the Han Chinese

Beijing Library's Collection of Rare Chronicles of Prominent Persons

Dun Huang Manuscripts Collected by the National Library of China

Collections of Rare Edition Novels

A Collection of Chinese Folk Art

Veritable Records of Qing Dynasty

China External Trade Yearbook

China Economic System Reforms Yearbook

Shanghai Economic Yearbook

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