READ! Singapore 2012 “Bridges” Young Readers and Mobile Users

Release Date : 15 Jun 2012

Singapore, 15 June 2012 – Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts launched READ! Singapore 2012 with a new theme – “Bridges” at the Woodlands Regional Library. The programme has been expanded to include young readers from 7 to 14 years old. The National Library Board (NLB) is planning to involve students to form a Youth Book Selection Committee to cater to these young readers. In addition, the mobile application for users to access selected novels, stories and poems from READ! Singapore, MobileRead, is expanded to Android users.

Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer of NLB shares, “READ! Singapore has grown from strength to strength. Since its inception in 2005, more than 215,000 participants have been touched by the programme. It has also become more inclusive by drawing in volunteer welfare groups, grassroots organisations and the community. It has helped to build more interest in reading for leisure and knowledge.”

READ! Singapore 2012's theme, “Bridges” aims to link people of different cultures and backgrounds. The READ! Singapore Steering Committee has carefully chosen eight international and local novels, 12 short stories and four poems connecting people of different cultures based on this theme. The selected short stories and poems are published as anthologies in the four official languages and will be made available at 24 public libraries.

NLB will be establishing a Youth Book Selection Committee to cultivate the love for literary arts and promote the reading culture among the young. Comprising 12 Upper Secondary and Junior College students, the committee will select books for young readers for READ! Singapore 2013.

The selected students forming this committee will be readers who are passionate about reading, can communicate and interact well with younger readers. They will also be responsible for deciding suitable books in the four official languages. They will also serve as reading ambassadors in promoting the joy of reading and appreciation for literature across cultures. They will also take part in reading carnivals and activities to nurture more young readers.

NLB and Nanyang Polytechnic students and lecturers have developed the Android version of NLB's MobileRead application. This will enable them to read selected works on the move. Interest in MobileRead has been strong with over 63,000 eBooks download by iPhone and iPad users since its launch last June. Mobile users can also check for READ! Singapore event updates.

Readers can expect a wide array of exciting activities this year. Students can participate in a flash fiction competition to write a short story in just 500 words or less. Families can also participate in a carnival and come dressed up as their favourite book characters, design their own superheroes and create eBooks among other activities. The public can also look forward to storytelling sessions by celebrity and local author, Edmund Chen in July. Renowned American author and award-winning storyteller Margaret Read Macdonald will be in town in August to conduct storytelling sessions for children, workshops for adults and deliver a talk on the inventiveness of Southeast Asian folktales.

Convalescing patients, the elderly and visually challenged can also enjoy stories and poems. NLB will be distributing 3,000 audio books of selected works in the four official languages to 120 organisations including the voluntary welfare organisations, hospitals and reading clubs for seniors. Representatives from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and the SWAMI Home received the audio books during the event.