Release Date : 19 Jun 2010
Dr Varaprasad, Chief Executive, National Library Board
Ladies and Gentlemen
Boys and Girls
1. It gives me great pleasure to join you at the launch of Quest II.
2. The short video we just enjoyed was only four minutes long, but it well captures the achievements of Quest over the past year. Quest has been a phenomenal success. What started as a humble attempt to encourage boys to read - has truly exceeded expectations!
3. Quest seeks to cultivate a love for reading among young readers, particularly boys aged 7 – 12 years old. As many parents here would know, trying to motivate a reluctant reader can be frustrating. The team at the Public Libraries studied the leisure and reading habits of boys and found that they enjoy collecting trading cards and, that they mostly prefer reading adventure and fantasy stories as well as comic books.
4. Quest embodies all these things, unfolding its story through trading cards, manga and gameplay. Introduced in June 2009, Quest was an instant hit. A year on, it has attracted close to 74,000 participants with about 1.5 million cards produced. As of May 2010, 2.2 million book loans have been generated by Quest.
5. Besides the impressive numbers, there are many heart-warming anecdotes. I was told that a 10-year-old boy, Guang Ming, an ardent fan of Quest, had wanted to complete the entire set of 60 Quest cards. He visited the libraries week after week to borrow books and redeem his cards. Unfortunately, he was unable to collect the full set. Sensing his disappointment, Guang Ming's parents wrote to NLB to seek help in fulfilling his birthday wish. Much to his delight, our staff prepared a special kit which included the full set of Quest cards and presented it to Guang Ming on his birthday!
6. So popular is Quest that parents in kiasuparent.com have apparently been swapping Quest cards for their children! I hope they are encouraging their children to read too!
7. To further engage Quest fans, an art competition was held in March this year where participants were invited to send in their drawings of the Rain Dragon, one of the main characters in Quest II. We received a total of 75 entries, from participants as young as 7-year-old to adults in their 40s!
8. To recognize this creative, child-centric initiative, the NLB team which came up with Quest won the NLB Innovation Award as well as the in-house Black Box Competition. Beyond NLB, I'm proud to say that Quest is also a semi-finalist for the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration & Management Innovation Awards, the results of which will be known later this year.
9. With Quest II, the team has upped the ante. Quest II will see more collaboration with schools. The Quest II website to be launched in July will allow Quest fans to check out the latest reading promotions, Quest-related competitions and outreach activities.
10. The Quest team is also giving away a wide array of limited edition Quest collectibles such as caps, tumblers, T-shirts and stickers for Ez-link cards. The team will also be reaching out to the gaming community at the upcoming Game2Read, an event which will be held on 26 June at The Plaza of the National Library Building. At Game2Read, children can look forward to a series of Quest activities, as well as gaming competitions and book discussions.
11. With so much going on, I am sure children will be thrilled with Quest II. I encourage Quest participants to share with all your friends not just the fun of collecting Quest cards, but the joy of reading as well. Besides NLB's vast collection of children's library books, our team of accomplished children's librarians runs a host of exciting programmes which promote reading, storytelling and children's publications. Not many people know that the author of Quest is our very own children's librarian, Felicia Chan, who did a wonderful job in putting together enchanting stories for Quest I and II.
12. In closing, I commend the National Library Board and the organising committee for their creativity in making the library relevant to young lives. I am very proud of the effort you have put in to make Quest a success. Albert Einstein once said - “Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.” I believe this also applies to our efforts at NLB. To bring the pleasure of reading to children is the value of Quest. Core to NLB's mission must be the quest to spark the imagination of our children and cultivate in them, an abiding love for reading. If we succeed in this, we will give them the keys to knowledge and a command of the language that will open many doors for them in life. We must not lose sight of this quest. I wish all of you an enjoyable day and a wonderful weekend ahead!