Singapore Budget 2014: Early Literacy Library with 60,000 books and AV items for pre-schoolers to open next month

The National Library Board (NLB) will be setting up its first Early Literacy Library at Jurong Library in April.

Speaking at the Committee of Supply debate on Monday, Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education Ms Sim Ann said the specialised library corner will feature over 60,000 books and audio-visual items in the four official languages which cater to children aged six and below.

Two other libraries, including one in Orchard and another in Sembawang, will also be opening later this year. Library@orchard will open with an innovative design in the later half of this year, while Sembawang Library will open on the fifth floor of Sun Plaza in the third quarter of this year. Sembawang Library will also be fitted out for inter-generational learning which aims to promote interaction between children and their parents or grandparents.

To reach out to more young readers, NLB, in partnership with the Early Childhood Development Agency, will be giving out reading toolkits for teachers and parents to start reading to their children as early as possible. To reach out to those not enrolled in pre-schools, NLB will also work with community and welfare group such as Mendaki and Sinda to distribute the starter kit to families. Free reading workships will also be organised to better equip parents through the use of simple pre-reading practices.

Two more mini mobile libraries which will go to about 160 schools, orphanages and welfare homes will be rolled out later this year, said Minister for Communication and Information Yaacob Ibrahim. These new "Mollies" will be smaller and be able to better navigate tight spaces, particularly facilities with smaller driveways, he said.

NLB will also be reaching out to those who find it difficult to travel to the library, including some seniors. Under the Read@Community scheme, NLB will help community groups to come forward at set up their own reading corners, close to people they serve. NLB will guide the selection of the right books to "meet the community's needs", while allowing the community to manage and operate the reading corners, said Ms Sim Ann.

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