National Library Board forms 19-member advisory panel to review library titles

SINGAPORE - An independent consultative panel has been formed to advise the National Library Board (NLB) in reviewing library materials.

In a statement on Wednesday, the NLB said it set up the panel from April 1 this year, to provide recommendations on materials that will reflect community views.

The Library Consultative Panel comprises 19 members from "a broad cross-section of society", said the NLB, and each member will serve a two-year term. The panel may also decide to seek views from the public through focus groups and interviews.

The move comes more than half a year after an uproar last July, when the NLB removed three children's titles which contained homosexual references. In the wake of that incident, it promised to set up a panel to evaluate potentially controversial titles.

One of the books removed, And Tango Makes Three, is about a male penguin couple raising a chick. Another, The White Swan Express, features two women, who are partners, adopting a baby.

The episode led to two petitions - one for and the other against the decision. Some writers and academics showed their displeasure by dropping out of NLB-related events.

The independent panel is chaired by Mrs Mildred Tan, managing director of Ernst and Young Advisory.

Said Mrs Tan: "Our libraries are public learning spaces for the community. They serve people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds, as well as diverse needs and interests. By providing perspectives from our experiences, I hope that this panel will enable NLB to come to balanced decisions in the review of library materials."

The other panel members are:

Ms Adeline Foo, author

Ms Asnida Daud, education technology officer at the Ministry of Education

Mr Chan Cheow Pong, associate news editor of Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao

Ms Claire Tham, author and partner at Hin Tat Augustine & Partners

Mr Danny Yeo, founder of Pure Talents

Ms Genevieve Low, undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University

Associate Professor Hadijah Rahmat, deputy head of the Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group at the National Institute of Education

Mr Imran Chng, senior manager of CPG Facilities Management

Ms Karen Sik, principal clinical psychologist at the Ministry of Social and Family Development

Dr Kumaran Rasappan, orthopaedic surgery resident at Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Mr Lim Chin Chuan, Transcab taxi driver

Ms Michelle Khoo, postgraduate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Mrs Penny Goh, partner and head of corporate real estate at Allen & Gledhill

Mr Raja Mohamad Maiden, managing director of Five Pillars

Dr Shanmugam K., head of programme (Tamil) at SIM University

Mr Su Zhangkai, Founder of Sprout Language Centre

Mr Tan Boon Khai, head of global procurement at CapitaLand

Ms Tan Ling Ling, clerk at Mayflower Primary School