We thank Mr Terence Teo Li Yang and Mr Teo Kok Seah for their letters. We agree with them on the importance of reading and book clubs (Promote the importance and beauty of reading, Dec 20; Book clubs can help instil love for reading, Dec 25, 2018).
The National Library Board (NLB) has been actively promoting reading in various formats. Based on the National Reading Habits Study in 2016, Singaporeans continue to read widely and regularly, with 93 per cent of respondents indicating that they had read at least once in the past year.
Technology has changed the reading habits of Singaporeans, and we have been updating our offerings to support this. We have introduced digital services such as the NLB Mobile app (http://nlb.gov.sg/static/NLBMobileGuide/) to encourage more people to read and learn online.
Through the app, every patron has a library in his pocket. Patrons can now conveniently access over 480,000 eBooks and audio books, 7,400 eNewspaper and eMagazine titles from over 100 countries, as well as 7,000 online courses. Our comprehensive digital collection and the app have successfully increased readership, with loans almost doubling from about 1.6 million in 2017, to 3 million last year.
Our digital offerings complement our physical collections, which are still very popular with our patrons. Our libraries maintain a physical collection of 7.5 million books, magazines and audio-visual materials covering a wide range of subjects. We also have a suite of reading programmes, including book clubs for patrons of all ages, to complement and promote our resources.
We actively work with partners to deliver programmes that are of interest, and are relevant. Younger readers can enjoy rich multimedia reading experiences with technology such as immersive storytelling facilities. Adults and seniors can develop professionally and personally through workshops and online LyndaLibrary courses accessible via the NLB mobile app. We also hold many community and volunteer-run activities to take the joy of reading to more Singaporeans.
Our libraries continue to support Singaporeans in their reading and learning pursuits, in all stages of their lives. We hope that more people will join us in encouraging Singaporeans to be lifelong readers and learners.
Catherine Lau (Ms)
Assistant Chief Executive
Public Library Services
National Library Board