Welcome Address by Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board at the Customer Appreciation Day 2011 on Thursday 1 September 2011, 7.30PM at the Central Public Library

Release Date : 01 Sep 2011

Our Valued Customers,

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good evening to you, and thank you for joining us at our sixth Customer Appreciation Day at the Central Public Library.

2. Tonight's festivities are all centred around one very important group of people – our patrons and supporters. Since 2006, we have been organising this annual event to thank our customers for their patronage over the years. Without your unwavering support, our libraries would be dull places and our collection of books, unread.

Libraries for Life

3. This year's theme for Customer Appreciation Day is “Libraries for Life”. This reflects our commitment to innovating our service offerings in order to stay relevant and serve the informational and learning needs of our library users.

Customers' support is crucial

4. Thus, it is encouraging to know that our efforts have not gone unnoticed. In July this year, Ms Linda Collins wrote of her positive experience at the Jurong Regional and the Clementi Public Libraries. Some time back, both Ms Carol Ang and Mrs Tay Yang Fern also wrote of the great collection at the Geylang East Public Library. Even though her home is not near the Geylang East Public Library, Ms Ang goes there often because, I quote, “it is the tidiest and the best organised library I have ever seen”. Mr Darren Lim echoes the same sentiments for the Ang Mo Kio Public Library and the library@esplanade. Since his retirement, Mr Lim says that he has found many gems in our collection.

5. This evening, we want to recognise and appreciate an important group of people. They are our Customer Role Models who have displayed and practised good library etiquette. They are committed to making our libraries excellent community learning spaces, and have set good examples for others to follow. They have shown how gracious and thoughtful behaviour in our libraries make the library-going experience fruitful and delightful for everyone. Through the efforts of our Customer Role Models, we hope to discourage behaviours such as sleeping, blocking of passageways and loud conversations on mobile phones in the library, and inculcate consideration for fellow users.

6. So far, our staff have had the pleasure of meeting our 43 Customer Role Models. Besides showing excellent library etiquette, some have gone a step further to assist fellow library patrons. Mr Loh Then Min at the Geylang East Public Library and Mr Moses Chua at Bukit Panjang Public Library are two such examples. Mr Loh worked with one of our non-Chinese speaking staff to help a Chinese speaking reader one evening, while Mr Chua shared his expertise with another reader who encountered problems with the Internet. We also have Mr Chew Poh Jin at Bukit Merah Public Library who offers plastic bags to his fellow borrowers to carry home their borrowed materials. Deserving special mention is Mdm Lee Boh Tan who visits Cheng San Public Library. She has been one of our Customer Role Models since 2009. Always ready with a helping hand, she is one of our best advocates of good library etiquette.

7. Another group we want to recognise tonight comprises the Top Borrowers in 2010. They include juniors, in two categories – children aged 0 to 6 years and 7 to 12 years, young people, adults, and seniors aged 60 and above. Your love for books exemplifies the reading habit we are trying to instill in all Singaporeans. This year, we are giving out five awards for the Top Borrowers from each age category, up from the three last year.

8. Tonight, we also want to recognise our reading clubs, or what we call our learning communities. We have 33 learning communities, 8 of which are for children and 25 are for young people and adults. These communities are assisted by 47 facilitators who are members of the public. Some of our learning communities are book-based, with book discussions being the main focus of their meetings, while other communities are activity-based and engage in experiential learning related to books and reading.

9. Later on, you will meet a group of our young helpers, our talented group of Junior Reading Ambassadors, who will be putting up a story dramatisation for our entertainment. They, too, have been actively spreading their love for reading and learning at our programmes and activities.

Celebrating Customer Appreciation Day with you

10. In celebration of Customer Appreciation Day this year, the National Library Board (NLB) will be organising a series of programmes and loan promotions at all our 24 public libraries. Among the highlights is the Drop Everything And Read programme, which doubles the loan quota for all library users during the period from 1 to 11 September 2011. You may find out more at the libraries near you.

Acknowledgement and thanks

11. Finally, I would like to thank all of you, our customers, for your support over the years. We will continue to develop our libraries to meet your information needs and provide equal access to knowledge for everyone.

12. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the Singapore Kindness Movement for their partnership and working with us on our library etiquette initiatives. Last, but not least, a big thank you goes to our Public Library Advisory Committee (PLAC) members, who are here with us this evening, for their tremendous support and contributions on public library matters. In particular, I would like to thank Mr Phua Kok Tee, Chairperson of NLB's Seniors' Panel, from the Singapore Action Group of Elders (SAGE), who has helped the public libraries reach out to seniors and, Mr Danny Yeo, for compering at our events and conducting talks.

13. I wish all of you an enjoyable evening.

14. Thank you.