With the official opening of Clementi Public Library (CMPL) on Saturday, 23 April 2011, it has brought the total number of public libraries in Singapore to 24.
The ChannelNewsAsia, 23 Apr 2011 quoted the Trade and Industry Minister, Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, who officiated the opening:
Speaking at the opening of the library, Mr Lim highlighted the importance of public libraries in Singapore's development.
"We must pay tribute to the library. It has been a very progressive organisation. Over the years, it has done so many brand new things and has been innovating in many ways to reach out to Singaporeans and improve their reading habits," he said.
Visitorship for Singapore's 24-strong network of public libraries is estimated at 13 million per year, while books loaned numbered 31 million, according to Mr Lim.
My colleagues should record his remarks as official compliments!
The NLB CE, Mrs Elaine Ng, adds:
"Libraries are social learning spaces that draw and unite people across all ages and cultures...the new services at the Clementi Public Library are part of our efforts to promote reading and make books and other information resources accessible to all our users."LINK
I discovered this blogger, quite likely a Singaporean, who was even more succinct:
The library opens today. Very popular, quite crowded but well managed.
Brief comment, but no less important. Ultimately, it's the residents who will be using the public library. Or not.
Over at the HardwareZone forum, there are even more succinct comments (Singaporean trademark? heh).
Here are pictures I took on the opening day (some shots show the obvious Before/ After scenes, as you'll see):
8.30am: The public were already asking if they could go into the library.
A view into the library, from the entrance:
The self-check machines are to the right (off picture):
Very cool looking book/ item displays:
One of the highlights of CMPL -- the Faces of Clementi showcase:
The Children's section:
Another highlight of CMPL -- the Digital Storytelling Kiosk. Selected eBooks and games (from Tumblebooks) are featured on this console.
All quiet on the library front... until the library-enthusiasts enter!
The Programme Zone (which is unusual for a mall library to have one; the space doubles up as a reading area when there are no programmes):
The magazine section:
The newspapers reading area:
Another highlight of CMPL -- Mystery Brown Bags. You pick a bag (you're not supposed to peek in to the bag), check out the item, then discover what's the book in the bag. When done reading, return the item with the bag via the bookdrop.
The picks are from library staff and volunteers. There are different themes each time. It's a way to target the lunch-time crowd who wish to read but can't stay in the library to browse and choose. Or those who wish to be surprised and expand their reading tastes.
In my view, what's cool is that it's a social experiment of sorts. For instance, how would readers take to the service? Would people return the bag (or just the book?) Will this encourage the busy lunch-time crowd to pick a book? What sort of problems will materialise, if any? What opportunities would be created from this?
Here's a shot of Friends of the Library being briefed and assigned duties for the opening:
And then, the Guest of Honour arrives...
... greeted with a thunderous welcome by students from Singapore Polytechnic, Japanese Taiko Drums club:
9.30am, thereabouts. The library opens to public. The place got busy and crowded in a matter of minutes.
Orderly crowd, as far as I could tell. Btw, the "aunties" will always be there but they were better-behaved this time. I couldn't resist mentioning that episode because I wanted to put the entire matter in context: those ungracious few probably numbered 10 or so, compared to the 31 million of civic-minded users who pass by the public library gates in FY2010. From that perspective, I'd say the vast majority of library users in Singapore are gracious people. I'm sure I speak for my colleagues when I say we thank them for it.
Not least, the Read and Reap initiative, offline (Web 2.0 in action, without the Tech!):