NLB Conferred Pinnacle Enabling Mark By SG Enable For Strong Inclusivity Efforts

In recognition of the National Library Board’s (NLB) strong and unwavering commitment towards inclusive hiring, and positive contributions to the community, NLB was accredited the Enabling Mark (Platinum) 2023 by SG Enable today, 5 May 2023, Friday.

NLB is the first and only public sector agency to be accredited this top national recognition at the Enabling Mark Awards Ceremony 2023. NLB received the Enabling Mark (Gold) accreditation in August 2021. The Platinum accreditation reaffirms NLB’s efforts under its LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025) Equaliser role to bridge societal gaps by empowering everyone with opportunities, including providing meaningful employment and externships to persons with disabilities (PwDs).

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Chair of the Enabling Mark Awards Panel, Mr Heng Chee How, said: “In awarding NLB the apex Enabling Mark (Platinum), the Panel took into account its systematic approach and sustained, outstanding efforts in actively championing and implementing disability inclusion as an employer. They have augmented their talent pipeline through the hiring of persons with disabilities, matching their strengths with the job requirements, and shaping jobs to best accommodate and enable such employees to assimilate, grow and thrive. They are an example worthy of emulation."

Culture of care

NLB has a strong ethos and culture of care for all, including its employees, interns and externs with disabilities. All its employees are given opportunities for growth and development, and their needs are catered for so that they can perform their roles well when serving the community. NLB will continue empowering everyone with opportunities as part of its accessibility masterplan to enhance inclusivity at its workplace, and to develop libraries and archives as safe spaces for all.

To better support employees with disabilities, all frontline staff and staff who work with colleagues with disabilities receive basic awareness training to equip them with the knowledge to better understand and support PwDs. There are now more than 55 NLB staff who are trained in basic disability inclusion to support the running of inclusive programmes. NLB plans to train up to another 150 staff over the next two years. NLB is also setting up a pool of Accessibility Champions including staff from non-frontline functions, such as those from the properties and facilities management and information technology teams who are involved in the development of accessibility projects. These members of staff will be trained to support and improve the accessibility of NLB’s digital and physical services for persons with physical, sensory and developmental disabilities.

Beyond strengthening the culture of care among employees, NLB takes a holistic approach in creating an inclusive and accessible environment for all. To this end, NLB actively works to ensure that premises, such as the newly-opened Punggol Regional Library, are wheelchair-friendly and accessible for both patrons and staff with physical disabilities, and also offer a range of accessible features such as the Accessible Collection with books for the disability community and their caregivers and Calm Pods that provide safe spaces for PwDs when needed.

Close collaboration with community partners for inclusive hiring and upskilling

NLB works closely with community partners, including social enterprises and non-profit organisations, to roll out initiatives that offer meaningful employment and externships to the disability community.

Since 2015, NLB has partnered disability-inclusive agencies, such as the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) and St. Andrew’s Autism School (SAAS) to identify and curate opportunities that are tailored to the strengths and abilities of PwDs. As one of NLB’s longstanding partners, ARC collaborated with NLB to set up a digital services centre at the Employability and Employment Centre at the Enabling Village, providing employment opportunities for persons with autism. This collaboration has since enabled about 30 PwDs from ARC to take up roles such as Digital Service Assistants at Enabling Village and Library Service Assistants at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library in the National Library Building. NLB will work with its partners to broaden the range of job roles for PwDs, including ones where they can gain customer service experience.

NLB has also been offering an externship programme since 2010 for PwDs to pick up skills and knowledge in various aspects of library operations, such as sorting, shelving and shelf-reading library materials, as well as attending to patrons’ enquiries in a safe and supportive environment. In 2022, NLB collaborated with the Rainbow Centre to train and upskill staff to support and work with volunteers with special needs to transition into employment through the NLB externship programme. This programme currently takes place at selected libraries such as the library@chinatown, The LLibrary at the Lifelong Learning Institute and Bukit Panjang Public Library. NLB has extended the externship programme for the operation of the Toy Library at the Punggol Regional Library, where students from MINDS Fernvale Gardens School clean and maintain the toys weekly. To date, NLB has worked with 133 externship volunteers, a two-fold increase since 2021, across 19 non-profit organisations and special education schools. Earlier this year, NLB started partnering the St Andrew’s Autism Centre to provide externships for PwD students in the processing of library materials at the Library Supply Centre.

Beyond partnering disability-inclusive agencies, NLB facilitates employment opportunities for PwDs within the larger community. One such example is the leasing of a space at Punggol Regional Library to Artease, a PwD-friendly café operator, that employs PwDs as full-time staff and provides internships. NLB also worked with a non-profit arts organisation, ART:DIS, to showcase and offer artworks created by PwDs for sale at the library.

NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “We always aim to create a welcoming environment at our libraries and archives for not only our patrons, but also all our staff, including our interns and externs with disabilities. The Enabling Mark (Platinum) 2023 is a strong endorsement of our efforts over the years, and encourages us to push on even more. Along with our partners, we will fulfil our LAB25 Equaliser role and contribute towards efforts to build a more inclusive society together.”

[Please refer to Annex A for the statistics on NLB’s efforts]


Continuous charting of the path ahead

NLB invites more partnerships with organisations and individuals to offer more fulfilling job and internship opportunities to the disability and special needs community. Organisations and individuals who are interested to come on board may e-mail NLB at

[Please refer to Annex B for examples of NLB’s initiatives to broaden accessibility for all.]


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About the National Library Board

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 29 libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore's history through its rich collections in Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services, and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

For more information, please visit the NLB website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.


About Enabling Mark

The Enabling Mark is a national-level-accreditation framework by SG Enable that benchmarks and recognises organisations for their best practices and outcomes in disability-inclusive employment. More information about the Enabling Mark is available at

For media enquiries, please contact:

Leong Jia Yi
Weber Shandwick
Tel: +65 9236 9646

Hoe I Yune
Weber Shandwick
Tel: +65 9324 2061


Annex A

Statistics on NLB’s Inclusive Initiatives

NLB’s Disability Inclusion Training Initiatives

  • To date, more than 55 NLB staff have been equipped with basic disability inclusion training.
  • NLB is looking to train up to 150 staff over the next two years, including staff from the corporate and business divisions who are involved in the development of accessibility projects.


Collaboration with community partners to provide externship and employment opportunities

  • In 2015, NLB signed a 5-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ARC to set up a digital services centre at the Enabling Village. The MOU has since been extended for another five years till November 2025.
  • To date, a total of 27 people on the autism spectrum from ARC have been employed as Digital Service Assistants at the Enabling Village or Library Service Assistants at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library in the National Library Building.
  • NLB is also working with SAAS to provide work experiences through volunteering opportunities at NLB’s Library Supply Centre.
  • NLB collaborated with Rainbow Centre in 2022 to train and upskill staff to support and work with volunteers with special needs to transition into employment through the NLB externship programme.
  • To date, 133 externship volunteers, double the number in 2021, across 19 non-profit organisations and special education schools, including Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore and Bizlink Centre Singapore Ltd, have benefitted from the programme.


Annex B

NLB’s Inclusive Initiatives for All



Punngol Regional Library

Two parent-child pairs and an individual with visual impairment at the Accessible Collection

Punggol Regional Library was the first library which brings to life the National Library Board’s (NLB) LAB25, a journey of constant innovation and experimentation. The library offers a range of new accessible features to cater to PwDs, including:

  • A collection of books and resources specially curated for persons with disabilities and caregivers
  • Assistive technology devices throughout the library
  • Calm Pods, which provide quiet and safe spaces for PwDs when needed
  • A toy library with regular and adaptive toys for children with disabilities and developmental delays to learn with
  • Wheelchair-accessible multimedia stations
    Microsoft Immersive Reader to help patrons improve their reading, including those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and more
  • Magnifier station that comes equipped with easy-to-use controls to magnify texts for persons with low vision and the elderly
  • An Accessible icon that will be marked on selected facilities and spaces to indicate that persons with disabilities will have priority to use them

NLB also actively engages our employees with disabilities to gather feedback on the accessible-technology prototypes for these features.

Accessible Membership

NLB created a new Accessible Membership for PwDs that can be enjoyed across all its public libraries. The membership provides an expanded scope of library services across all libraries for persons with disabilities, on top of basic library membership privileges.

Accessible Membership is open to persons with disabilities who are beneficiaries of eligible disability schemes and services funded by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), or who had attended or are currently attending government-funded Special Education (SPED) schools.

A person with Accessible Membership will be able to enjoy:

  1. A longer borrowing period (from 21 days to 42 days);
  2. A longer renewal period (from 21 days to 42 days);
  3. Free reservation of items (which costs $1.57 per item); and
  4. Priority access to accessible features in Punggol Regional Library.

The Calm Down to the Library space at Woodlands Regional Library

The Calm Down to the Library space at Woodlands Regional Library

The “Calm Down to the Library” area at Woodlands Regional Library is designed for children with autism and those with sensory needs. This sensory-friendly space is equipped with semi-enclosed spaces and padded floors to create a sanctuary for children with autism.

The space is open during the library’s operating hours. Families with children with autism are encouraged to visit the space during low-peak periods on Sundays to Thursdays from 6pm-8pm.

Sensory Storytime

NLB’s Sensory Storytime is a multisensorial storytelling programme tailored to engage with different senses. The session modifies the usual storytime programmes to make them more accessible to children with special needs.


These personalised one-to-one guided tours of library spaces and services led by staff cater to persons with autism, physical and intellectual disabilities, or visual impairment, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

MakeIT at Punggol Regional Library

MakeIT at Libraries is an NLB initiative that lets everyone learn about and try fabrication technologies that can bring your ideas to life. MakeIT spaces are available at all four regional libraries in Singapore, with the latest at Punggol Regional Library.

MakeIT at Punggol provides facilities and guidance for everyone to come and try their hand at tech-based fabrication technologies, such as 3D printers, digital cutters, robotics, and more. There will be maker programmes and facilities with more inclusive options and accessible features, as well as social good community projects in collaboration with partners such as Salvage Garden, a local maker community focused on low-cost bespoke solutions for persons with disabilities. MakeIT at Punggol will also host weekly meetups for Salvage Garden to share more about their objectives and welcome members of the public who would like to learn to do digital fabrication at NLB’s makerspaces and apply their newfound knowledge for a good cause.

All workshops and materials are available for free for NLB members, and members are welcome to work on their personal projects and ideas.