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A library in your pocket

Ms Michelle Martin (left) enjoys browsing through the NLB Mobile app, while Ms Bharathi Rani Arunachalam (right) can find all the content she needs with it.
Ms Michelle Martin (left) enjoys browsing through the NLB Mobile app, while Ms Bharathi Rani Arunachalam (right) can find all the content she needs with it. PHOTOS: MONEYFM 89.3, BHARATHI RANI ARUNACHALAM

The world is your oyster with the NLB Mobile app

Busy as a bee but yearning good reads? Download the NLB Mobile app on your smart devices for that and much more.      

The NLB Mobile app lets readers:

  • Read eBooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers on the go for free;
  • Loan books via scanning the barcodes directly with the app;   
  • Place reservations for titles;
  • Make payment for fines and fees incurred for physical books; and
  • Be in the know about events at the libraries

Visit http://nlb.gov.sg/static/NLBMobileGuide for more information.

The National Reading Movement, which was launched in 2016, is a five-year campaign by the NLB to encourage everyone to Read More, Read Widely and Read Together. With the NLB Mobile app, you can have a library in your pocket to read anytime, anywhere. From fantasy novels to essential guides on diverse topics, there is something for everyone.

Not hitting the download button yet? Check out how the NLB Mobile app has benefited two National Reading Movement ambassadors — senior producer and presenter at MONEY FM 89.3 Michelle Martin; and Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer and Mediacorp actress and host Bharathi Rani Arunachalam.  

Q: What role did the library play in your growing-up years and what is its significance in your life now?

Michelle Martin: I first stepped into the library at age four thanks to my mother. I was already an avid reader, so to be told I could take any book home from those towering shelves was the equivalent of saying “help yourself” to a child in a chocolate factory.

Reading was as essential as breathing was to me as a child, and given that there was only limited pocket-money to spend on a book, a visit to the library was my lifeline!

I’m still filled with the thrill of possible discoveries when I step into the library today. I’m proud of our libraries and happy to encourage everyone to discover the joy of a visit — even a virtual one these days!

Prior to the NLB Mobile app, I was spending a small fortune on the Apple ibooks app. I am amazed at how massive and current the collection of eBooks available is.

Nine-and-a-half out of 10 times, I have found the book I wanted on NLB Mobile. It’s very easy to use, and a bonus is that I am never fined for a late return.

Q: Do share one or two anecdotes about how the NLB Mobile app has enriched your personal and professional life.

Michelle: Before a recent trip to South America, I maxed out my super-user eight-book limit to read up about the countries I was visiting. I prefer to borrow travel guides, and everything I needed, I found on the NLB Mobile app.

I love being able to reserve a book through NLB Mobile app and then go on with my life because I know once the book is available it automatically gets borrowed. One less thing to worry about is a good thing!

Q: What are your favourite features of the NLB Mobile app that you would recommend to readers? Why?

Michelle: I am always on the lookout for great reads to share with listeners, so I enjoy browsing the NLB Mobile app’s recommended reads.

I think being able to scan a book’s barcode yourself and check out a book through the NLB Mobile app is nifty; this means no queuing is needed at a library, just pick up a book, scan it and take it home.

A lifetime’s membership at our library is real treasure, and the NLB Mobile app enables you to fully experience that.

Q: How has your reading habit benefited you on a personal and professional level?

Michelle: You are, in part, the person you are because of the great books you read. Reading as a child showed me new worlds and ways that helped shape everything about me; from the way I think to the way I look at the world and the way I relate to people.

On a personal basis, I savour a beautifully worded phrase in a book, the way you would a beautiful piece of music at a concert. I derive a lot of joy from reading. On the professional front, I think grasping meaning from huge volumes of text quickly and being a critical reader is crucial for a journalist.

Q: As a National Reading Movement ambassador, who is your target audience?

Michelle: The National Reading Movement tries to reach as many people as possible, including professionals and senior citizens. The latter can benefit from the audio books borrowed for free through the NLB Mobile app. When you are a reader, you are never alone. And if you can't make it to a library, well, through the NLB Mobile app, the library is at your fingertips. 

Personally, busy professionals I know often share that anxious feeling that there just isn't time to read. That's when I whip out the NLB Mobile app and demonstrate how it turns my empty commute time into leisure reading time. I enjoy reading on the road and just before bedtime. Before I leave for a business trip, I always make sure I check out a couple of eBooks. The NLB Mobile app has saved me a lot of luggage space.

Q: What role did the library play in your growing-up years and what is its significance in your life now?

Bharathi Rani Arunachalam: I would say I grew up with the library. My mum was a staff member there when I was a kid, and I would be there practically the entire day during school holidays reading books and watching movies.

Q: Do share one or two anecdotes about how the NLB Mobile App has enriched your personal and professional life.

Bharathi: I don’t carry heavy and bulky books anymore. I have everything I need in my mobile phone, in the form of the NLB Mobile app.

Once, I needed some content at the very last minute, basically to enhance my teaching. I managed to get it through the NLB Mobile app without any hassle and without having to physically go down to the library. 

I use it frequently for leisure reading and for work — such as finding content to develop my modules. I am able to find almost everything I need, anytime and anywhere.

Q: What are your favourite features of the NLB Mobile app that you would recommend to readers? Why?

Bharathi: I love everything about the NLB Mobile app and I would strongly recommend that readers try it. Once they do that, I bet they will never look back.

Q: How has your reading habit benefited you on a personal and professional level?

Bharathi: I believe reading allows us to dream with our eyes open. It allows us to travel the world without moving an inch; it’s like taking a magical journey.

I have acquired a lot of knowledge by reading and I share it with my students in class to explain certain concepts.