Book lovers can now Grab-n-Go as new services are launched at National Library Building

Grab-n-Go enables patrons to check in and check out automatically when borrowing books. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - With the central public library's temporary closure, a new self-checkout service will be available at the National Library Building (NLB) in Victoria Street.

Called Grab-n-Go, it enables patrons to check in and check out automatically when borrowing books.

The pilot project is among replacement services that will be available when the Central Public Library closes from June 13 for its first full-fledged revamp since opening in 2005. It is slated to reopen in the first half of 2023.

The remaining levels in the NLB will function as per normal, from 10am to 9pm.

The other replacement services are reservation lockers at Basement 1, where patrons can pick up their reserved items, and a 24-hour book drop facility at Level 1. eResources can be accessed through the NLB Mobile app.

For children, The Little Book Box subscription service is offered, where patrons can choose to have books delivered to their homes for a fee.

Patrons can also visit other libraries in the vicinity, which include Toa Payoh Public Library, library@harbourfront and Geylang East Public Library.

Grab-n-Go will start from Wednesday (May 18) at the Level 5 Study Lounge, which is open from 9am to 9pm daily. It has a capacity of 50 people and stocks around 5,000 adult titles in fiction and non-fiction in the four official languages.

With the use of an ultra-high radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the books being borrowed will appear on a screen with its cover and title during check-out. Patrons need to scan their NRIC or NLB eCard, which will prompt a loan confirmation on the screen. A confirmation e-mail will then be sent to their e-mail address. There is a borrowing limit of eight books.

Library patron Anam Mukri, who had a chance to try out Grab-n-Go before the launch on Wednesday, said: "I think it is brilliant and seamless. Previously, when I used to borrow books, sometimes the barcode could not be detected or I would forget to scan it. This way, you definitely can't forget."

The 38-year-old marketing and communications lead also found NLB's efforts to go digital to be "extremely convenient".

Pamphlets on how to sign up for the NLB and PressReader apps are available at the study lounge.

NLB chief executive Ng Cher Pong said: "We are always keen to try new ways to enhance our patrons' experience at our libraries and archives.

"RFID technology has enabled self-checkouts at all our libraries, and now with the Grab-n-Go pilot, the checkout process will be automated, which will make it even more convenient for our patrons."

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Grab-n-Go is part of NLB's ongoing efforts to incorporate technology to enhance patrons' learning experience under its LAB25 (Library and Archives Blueprint 2025) plan.

Announced in October last year, the plan aims to reach a wider audience with digital focus on various areas. This includes the opening of Punggol Regional Library this year. It is the first fully inclusive library, pioneering integrated services for persons with disabilities, which will be progressively rolled out in libraries in other regions.

Nodes have also been introduced in selected shopping malls, where wallpapers and lift decals feature NLB's eResources, which can be accessed by scanning a QR code.

Marine Parade Public Library, which has closed for three years from May 9 for a revamp, offers a 24-hour book dispenser outside FairPrice Finest at Block 6 Marine Parade Central.

Alternatively, patrons can borrow and return books from mobile library (Molly) buses at Block 35 Marine Crescent Ville every first Sunday of the month from 1pm to 4pm, and Block 53 Marine Terrace every second Sunday of the month, except July 10, from 9am to noon.

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