Forum: Making libraries inclusive and conducive for all

The National Library building on July 23, 2018.
The National Library building on July 23, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Ms Kok Mei Hui, Ms Thahira Begum, Mr Christony Lau Pet Keong, Ms Dorothea Lim Hua-Fern and Mr Simon Foo for their feedback and suggestions (Making our libraries a second home for all; Encouraging a generation to read, both Jan 15; Stop treating libraries as playgrounds; Situate libraries with hospitals, Jan 22; and Enforce silence at library, Jan 24).

The National Library Board (NLB) works closely with the community and partners to co-create programmes and services that meet the evolving needs and aspirations of Singaporeans. Programmes such as kidsREAD, Project Deliver Me, WondeRead, Read @ Work and Externship Programme target different groups in the community. We also actively promote a regular reading habit among Singaporeans; for example, our libraries have dedicated spaces for parents to read with their children. This helps to inculcate a love for reading from a young age. We will continue to work with the community to ensure that our libraries remain inclusive.

As libraries are shared public spaces, everyone has a role to play in making libraries a conducive place for reading and learning. To encourage patrons to observe good library etiquette, we make regular public announcements and have displayed posters with the expected code of conduct prominently in our libraries. Our staff also advise patrons to lower their voices and to observe proper etiquette. We seek the cooperation of all patrons to be considerate so that libraries remain conducive spaces for reading, learning and bonding.

We have also stepped up our outreach efforts in recent years with the introduction of reading corners at Admiralty Medical Centre, Sengkang Community Hospital and St Andrew's Community Hospital. We welcome community partners, including hospitals, to work with us to set up such facilities where appropriate.

Currently, we are developing our next five-year plan for the libraries and archives (LAP25), which outlines NLB's strategic directions for next year to 2025. We are reaching out to the community, stakeholders and partners through various channels, including interviews, engagement sessions and public consultations, to gather feedback on LAP25. We welcome members of the public to join our LAP25 discussion. Interested participants can write in to us at lap25 @ nlb.gov.sg with their feedback and suggestions.

William Tan

Assistant Chief Executive, Corporate

National Library Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2020, with the headline 'Making libraries inclusive and conducive for all'. Subscribe