Saturday, September 30, 2006

Podcast: Dreaming Of Better Days

This is my 3rd rock-instrumental, titled "Dreaming Of Better Days":

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"How it was done", over at MyRightBrain.

BTW, I'm wasn't dreaming of this "Better Days" though, LOL. The title of the song alludes to thinking about positive things ahead. It's supposed to be a feel-good song.

I wonder if my life would have taken a different path if things like GarageBand had been available when I was a kid. While a Mac is not cheap, it's definitely much more affordable compared to setups like this:

[Image source:]

Those are guitar effect pedals, btw. They're called "pedals" because you step on them to turn the effect on/ off. In essence, an electric guitar sounds just like any steel string acoustic guitar (i.e. folk guitar). You get the different sounds and effects from the electric guitar with various effect pedals (the amplifiers also play a part, and the guitar pickups). I still can't get over how many cool guitar effects one can get from GarageBand. Shaun (whom I recently learnt, played the guitar too) will probably drool over that setup.

Speaking of equipment... There is no certainty that access to equipment would result in a young person's continued pursuit and development in an activity (like playing the electric guitar). But it's a certainty that lack of access would mean the young person never develops beyond the basics, or even discover their interest and potential talent in the first place.

One could say that the issue is of "Access".

I know what the regular readers of this blog are thinking: "There he goes again, alluding to libraries". Yeah, there's certainly the connection but I wasn't referring to reading or libraries per se, but about Learning and Life Choices. I'll expand on this in another post.

For now, I'll be Dreaming of Better Days (corny right? Heh)

RamblingLibrarian's Podcasts:
My Odeo Podcast

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The Library Association of Singapore now has a blog!

Here it is, the blog of the Library Association of Singapore (LAS)! Singapore Libraries Bulletin Blog (
We are making use of the weblog platform with the aim of being more interactive, as members can add their comments to the articles posted as soon as they read it. We hope LAS members will enjoy the Bulletin in this form. We invite your comments and your feedback!

Here's the feed -->

Now I can update the space reserved for LAS in this list used during the blog course organised by LAS : )

Their blog wasn't created because of the blog course per se. I don't have that kind of influence. I suspect it has to do with the overall momentum that has been steadily building up. LAS has long considered using an online forum as part of their website, before blogs came onto the scene. Recently, LAS decided to stop printing hardcopies of the Singapore Libraries Bulletin (SLB) newsletter.

About two weeks back, Pin Pin (chair of the LAS Editorial Committee, of which I'm a member) informed the committee that LAS has given her the go-ahead to start a blog. She and I met to explore ideas, and almost overnight she created a working blog using Wordpress. A few emails later, minor changes were made and the SLB blog is in business.

Moving over to a blog platform made a lot of sense, especially since the newsletter would no longer be printed. Afterall, the primary objective of the newsletter was to highlight library-related events in Singapore, and now they could have a forum of sorts for free (by using free blog hosting service). Usual advantages of using a blog applies -- like having a searchable online archive for SLB content (a print archive would still be needed, and we're sorting this one out). The money and time saved by not producing the printed newsletter could be used for other LAS activities.

Oh, I have to add that Pin Pin did all the work in setting up the SLB blog -- from choosing the design, posting the initial content, and making subsequent refinements. There might be some tweaking of the SLB blog over the next few months. So far, it looks pretty good as far as I'm concerned.

[See also: Tommorrow.SG]

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CNET establishes presence in Second Life

Maybe NLB could go rustle up a few LindeX and do something like this (via Steve Rubel):
CNET has expanded its presence online with a new virtual outpost inside Second Life. The space includes a building that looks like CNET's offices in San Francisco offices.

What does it mean, and how would it work for libraries?

Well I presume you're past the introduction stage and have some basic understanding of how Second Life works (not that I'm an expert though). In essence, it's like constructing another library branch/ outlet in this virtual location called "Second Life". Your users can choose to visit this branch by logging in to Second Life, and teleporting to that branch location.

What services will you find in that branch? I think I'll explore that in another post. But what do you think? : )

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Two slightly different ways of promoting libraries & reading

It's interesting how popular Singaporean bloggers, Mr. Brown mr brown* and Mr. Miyagi are promoting reading & libraries in slightly different ways. Here is Brown's reason on why it's better to read a book on a Sunday night; Miyagi says he learnt alot about himself on the 13th floor of the National Library.

[* I was informed that "mr brown" is spelt in lower case. thanks!]

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Book promotion via YouTube

Dang! Someone beat me to it! I mean about using Youtube to feature a video done in the style of movie-trailers to promote a book (via HighBrowseOnline). Uh, I don't mean "beat me to promoting my book". I meant for library books of course.

I bet if NLB gets a Macbook Pro for staff to experiment, creative sparks will fly. Maybe we could do something like this - Why Gorillas Aren't Allowed In The Library.

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What if libraries organised their collection by Colours?

What if libraries organised their collection by the colours of the book covers? Via Bibliobibuli, who's based in Malaysia.

Incidentally, here's another blogger from across the Causeway: Daphne, whose fulltime job is a writer at Star Mag, is organising a Children's Book Fest and is thinking about "What a Children's Book Fest Shouldn't Be" (good luck with the event, Daphne).

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Can anyone run out of Gmail space?

I thought with Gmail, the answer to the question above would be 'No'. I was wrong. Apparently Ross Mayfield has reached his (current) 2768 MB storage limit!

How does one reach 2768 MB worth of mails? Well I'm learning how, from this post. Ross must have some HUGE attachments in his mailbox. Sorry, I don't mean to make fun of Ross (I don't know Ross personally). He wrote that he didn't think it could happen either, but it did. Ross is asking for suggestions on how to manage his Gmail account. I would suggest deleting mails, but I think he has considered that and it's not his preferred option.

Over at the Gmail login page, there's a line that says:
Lots of space - Over 2768.716619 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.

Maybe now the Gmail team has to change that statement to "... you'll never need to delete another message (unless you've reached the limit)".

I don't know about you, but I rather ENJOY deleting mails that I don't need. One less thing to worry about with each delete button I hit.

Sure, I keep lots of mails and file them under folders and labels. But in truth, I hardly re-read the mails. Mostly filing them away is to satisfy this sense of "what if I need it later?" feeling. Nowadays, I'm more comfortable with using the delete button.

My thinking is that I can't possibly read or remember every single thing there is in the world. And I don't need to. What if I accidentally delete the mail? Well, if it's important enough, the sender will contact me again. If the sender doesn't, I'd probably kick myself but it won't be the end of life as I know it.

Gmail is still the best free web-based email I've used. I'm nowhere near the current storage limit. And when I am, I'll do the little "Delete Dance" on my keyboard.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Podcast: August Nights (2006)

Ok, so I don't play like this guy, FunTwo (if you've not seen his rendition of Pachelbel's Canon, do yourself a favour and go watch it! Even Siva's raving about it, LOL)

But the video inspired me to pick up my guitar and just TRY to do something. Which eventually came up as this:

powered by ODEO

[Here's the post at MyRightBrain with a screenshot of the GarageBand tracks and a few additional notes]

My playing is absolutely nowhere as good the Funtwo kid. He demonstrates almost the entire range of speed-playing techniques -- sweeps, pull-offs, hammering, speed-picking... and did it all in one take. I'm just thankful for things like GarageBand, which allows me to edit and splice my recordings, thereby allowing me to get by with my passable playing.

RamblingLibrarian's Podcasts:
My Odeo Podcast

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Podcast: Red Umbrella Reprise 2006 (musical collaboration)

I blogged about Singaporean Singer-songwriter, Frederick Lin, after my FIJ alerted me about his blog. In that post, I mentioned about not his CC license not allowing modifications. I wanted to add an electric guitar track to one of his songs. From my trackback link to his blog, Frederick discovered my post and he graciously gave me permission, with a request that I let him listen to it after I'm done.

I'm happy to say he didn't object to my amateur effort, so here it is -- "Red Umbrella Reprise 2006":

powered by ODEO

Frederick's piano piece has not been modified at all. It's still the mainstay of the song. I've only added a guitar track, a percussion track, and incidentals.

About 15 years ago, there was a song by two singers (Sting and Bryan Adams?) where the recorded their respective vocal parts separately. Both singers never met for the recording of the song. Their recordings were seamlessly mixed together. When their song was released, that fact was one of its selling point.

For "Red Umbrella Reprise 2006", I'm reminded of how far technology has progressed, where the same thing could be done (recording, mixing, publishing) with relatively inexpensive equipment, and by two strangers. In my case, I don't even have specialised training on mixing and recording. The outcome is pretty OK, imho.

Heh, my first musical collaboration. Thanks for sharing, Frederick. :)

RamblingLibrarian's Podcasts:
My Odeo Podcast

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Don't be Phished by the (Inter)Net

Thanks to Beverly of Sugargrove Public library, I learnt about this potential bug in Google's Public Search service, from the NewsForge website -- "Google Public Service Search makes for easy phishing", September 15, 2006.

I tried to verify the information by checking the Official Google Blog, but they don't seem to have posted anything on that. In anycase, the alert is a good reminder of the potential hazards of Internet technology. It might be a good thing for us to be paranoid when it comes to giving out data like passwords, user IDs.

There are useful resources on how to avoid being scammed, or actions to take when you think you have been tricked (like this one).

My general consideration when registering for any online service is this -- "What's the potential damage to me if I give out this information". I would imagine the worse case scenario (e.g. someone has broken into my account) and think about the probable effects. If I'm not prepared to suffer those consequences, then I won't provide that information or even sign up for the service.

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Introduction to Second Life

If you're curious about Second Life but would rather watch an introduction of sorts, check out Kevin's "Second Life Adventure", where he provides a narrated slideshow of his initial foray into the virtual game world. Hmm, Kevin, why are you exploring the "SM" culture instead of working your buns off completing your PhD? LOL

Also thanks to Kevin for highlighting a video on how a guitar is built virtually for the Second Life environment (I've linked to the Quicktime version). In his post, Kevin also mentions something about guns. Ah, boys will be boys... (hey Kevin, how can I try out one myself?!)

I've created an avatar for myself in Second Life, but unlike Kevin, I've not gone beyond the orientation island part yet (btw, I cannot understand why the designers of Second Life allow you to strip your virtual character, i.e. Avatar, of clothes and then urge you not to walk around bare-assed, heh).

If you're familiar with First-Person Shooter games, you'll be able to pick up the controls in Second Life easily. Here's what I've learnt so far (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):
  • You can customise your avatar on aspects like body shape, face shape (down to shape of your nose, eyes, cheeks, chin), skin colour, hair-styles (or choose to be bald), clothes, undergarments (yeah, you read me correct!)
  • To navigate to places, you can walk, fly, or Teleport your avatar to locations if you know the coordinates or via something called SLurls (i.e. URLs for Second Life locations).
  • Your avatar, i.e. You, can touch and move virtual objects
  • You can pick up something called "scripts" (think of them as computer codes) that allow your virtual character to perform more complex actions, like dancing.
  • Typing onto your keyboard will display the text on screen. That's akin to speaking aloud and those hear you can "hear" you. Or you can choose to initiate private Instant Messenging with your online contacts.

Second Life is basically a virtual meeting/ gaming space represented in a graphical 3-D format, and modeled closely to real life (or what they call your "First Life"). For instance, let's say Kevin and I and a few other people we know in real life have arranged to meet in Second Life. We could set the date/ time, agree on the coordinates, login and teleport to the agreed location.

And why would we want to meet in Second Life? For one, we might be in different locations/ countries so meeting in a virtual environment is much more feasible. Second, having a graphic interface enhances the interactions. You see your friends and contacts in their customised appearances (down to body shapes, clothings, accessories etc.)

In an earlier post, I posited that it's only a matter of time before more libraries entered Second Life. Having explored Second Life, I still stand by that assertion but I think it will take a much longer time for more libraries/ librarians to get involved. The main reason is really the amount of time that librarians have to "invest" to properly understand and exploit the Second Life environment.

Ah, but once librarians are able to do that, imagine the possibilities! I mean, let's start with Library Conferences, where we get to listen/ interact with the speakers and participants. And while we're at it, we could have workshops on topics like "Controlling your Second Life Avatar 101", "How to organise library events in Second Life", or "Case studies on outreach programmes to Second Lifers".

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Singapore National Anthem, sung beautifully

[This post was originally published on 17 Sept 2006 and titled, "Singapore National Anthem, sung by a Japanese. However, it was sung by a Singaporean and I've had to correct a whole lot of other mistakes. Post is retitled, "Singapore National Anthem, sung beautifully", as suggested by Siva ;) ]

My FIJ (Friend in Japan), who's sitting out a typhoon at home, alerted me to this video posted at

It was a soccer friendly-match, held in Japan, between a Japanese and Singaporean team. The videos were posted around 9th Aug 2006. The video shows the opening segment of the friendly match with a young Japanese woman* giving an excellent rendition of Singapore's National Anthem, sung by Singaporean Ms. Oliva Ong.

I don't have other details about the match though. Anyway, I'm blogging it for the anthem than the match. Man, I have goosebumps listening to it! It's rather moving that one country's National Anthem is being sung with talent and respect by someone from another country*.
[*Update: Thanks to TakChek, who clarified that the singer is Japanese Singaporean Ms. Oliva Ong. It doesn't negate the fact that it was sung beautifully :) CORRECTION - Olivia Ong is Singaporean]

Here's the Youtube Video of Japan's National Anthem, sung by a Ms. Yuki Koyanagi, at the same differnt match. I think you might not quite catch the melody, so check out this other Youtube video (it's a segment taken off the NHK broadcasting service. My FIJ also referred me to this webpage, where there's a MIDI version of Japan's National Anthem, as well as the lyrics and other information.

My father, like many of his generation born around 1930s and who lived through the Japanese Occupation, likes to tell us how he and his peers have sung three four different national anthems in their lifetimes -- God Save the King (under British rule), Kimigayo (during the Japanese Occupation), Negaraku (when Singapore was part of Malaysia), and finally, Majulah Singapura (when Singapore separated from Malaysia and gained Independence in 1965).

Incidentally, I've been exploring the videos in Youtube for the last few days. Blogged about some interesting stuff over at MyRightBrain, in case you're interested:
- “Draw Your Style” - Shiseido TV commercial
- Sand Art Performance
- How to make Tim-Tam Truffles, by Su-Yin
- I.M.P.S - The Relentless (scroll to the bottom for the Youtube videos)

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's only a matter of time before (more) libraries enter Second Life

Learnt via Preetam about Harvard Law School and Harvard Extension School jointly offering a course called CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion. Be sure to watch their video-trailer to get a glimpse of how the course will be conducted. The exciting part is that classroom activities will also take place via Second Life.

Seems I could participate without being officially registered as a student, i.e. as Participant At-Large, but you won't be able to participate in the classroom activities in Second Life.

It should be noted that some librarians are already creating library environments in Second Life, as mentioned in this earlier post. I shall try going into Second Life to seek them out. Any leads?

Incidentally, I tried registering with Second Life and seems "RamblingLibrarian" isn't available. Wonder if someone else has already hijacked the name and worse, wreaking havoc, heh.

I also wonder if library schools would start doing what Harvard Law as done, i.e. offer a course via Second Life. Maybe they should explore with using blogs as collaborative tools for class participation (if not already done so). In fact, I wonder if they are currently including things like applications and implication of blogs and social media in the library curriculum.

Singapore War Heroine, Elizabeth Choy, passes on

[Update 17 Sept: Here are more resources about Mrs. Choy, at ASK!]

Not everyone's blogging about the IMF/ World Bank meet though. This week, Singapore mourns the passing of Elizabeth Choy. Siva remembers her as a legend among his peers in school back in 1973, but its for something simplier (worth reading his post for the useful links and articles, including an audio interview of Mrs. Choy).

I think alot of people know her better as War Heroine. Relatively few might know that that she was Singapore's first woman legislator, and she headed the Singapore School for the Blind after leaving politics.

Here's a link to a Singapore Infopedia article about Mrs. Choy, written by my colleague and fellow Liblogarian, Bonny (aka Saigon Tai-tai -- yeah, she's finally come clean with her blogging past unlike when we first started The Memory Tree).

Mrs. Choy passed on at the age of 96. That's a long time to live. And lived well, by all accounts.

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This Singapore librarian's take on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Singapore

I always enjoy Rana's take on issues happening in Singapore (he hails from India, btw). Like this post on the Straits Times coverage of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings being held in Singapore now. I like it because (1) I get a glimpse of how events in Singapore are perceived by a non-Singaporean, (2) it's articulated in a rational way, (3) and it adds on to what I've read from our local news.

As an employee of the NLB, the Singapore IMF meetings means a chance for this particular group of overseas delegates to see our public libraries and National Library first hand. I'd love to know what they think of our libraries (both good and bad points). Maybe they might make the connection (or reinforce the notion) that the development of a country's economy and the development of its public libraries go hand in hand.

I'm not saying anything new really. Without a doubt, the development of a country's economy -- job creation and income generation for its citizens -- comes first. Without wealth in society, a vibrant public library system just cannot be sustained. What I'm saying is that the planning of a country's public library system cannot be done as an afterthought to its economic development.

For Singapore, we're fortunate there has been continuity in the development of our public libraries since the early days when Sir Stamford Raffles suggested there should be one, then followed by the conscientious implementation of Library 2000, and now the on-going efforts with Library 2010. Hmm... I realised the NLB website ought to have a more easily accessible section on the history of Singapore's National Library and Public Libraries (I'll submit this via our Staff Suggestion system).

While I have done my Economics 101 in school, I'm no economist and my understanding of what the World Bank does is sketchy at best. Recently I read one of their brochure. I think it was called "10 Things You Didn't Know About the World Bank". In it, it covered 10 major aspects of their work (now I know their main mission is "to eradicate proverty poverty").

But I suspect the general association most Singaporeans have of the IMF/ World Bank meetings is characterised by words like "protests" and "demonstrations". Attention is inevitably drawn to how the Singapore organisers and authorities have blacklisted some activists and it doesn't help when the IMF/ World Bank came out to say the host has not honoured the agreement in undertaking the organising of the meeting (well, concessions have been made and World Bank is reportedly pleased).

While the above was happening, I was wondering why it is only during IMF/ World Bank meetings that the activitists can meet the IMF / World Bank delegates. Couldn't there be virtual meetings? Then IMF/ World Bank can directly control who is allowed "entry" to the discussions. Or why not IMF/ World Bank organise special meetings with individual groups? Go meet the activists rather than the other way around.

Perhaps all this is really a spin -- by Straits Times, by IMF/ World Bank, by the activists and lobby groups, by the Singapore Government.

Yesterday I walked passed past the area where the meetings are held. Security was tight. I saw Gurkhas armed with automatic weapons. But it wasn't oppressive and frankly, I felt assured that security is being taken in a serious and professional manner.

A friend asked me if I agreed or disagreed with the restrictions on the activists and Singapore's long standing ban on public demonstrations.

Of the former, I'm certain the decision wasn't made lightly. Singapore knows the world is watching on how it handles the event and they would've avoided negative publicty if they could help it. Of the latter, I said that's a fact of life in Singapore which I've accepted, and in truth, public demonstrations have a way of getting rowdy and violent and I'd rather avoid that.

In my own rambling way, I'm saying I agree with whatever is deemed necessary by the organisers to ensure the safety of our guests and Singaporeans. Someone's got to make the call. Whatever my views and beliefs, my butt is not on the line.

Ultimately, we have to look at whether the objectives and intent of the IMF/ World Bank meetings are met. I don't think the meetings are organised just so that demonstrations and protests can be held.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Deaf-initely Boleh!" - Being 'Deaf' doesn't mean 'Less'

[UPDATE 31 Dec 06: I've since learned that "Hearing Impaired" is not a preferred term. I should use "Deaf" or "Hard of Hearing". Thanks.]

Received an email from Alvan Yap. He reads my ramblings from time to time. Alvan decided to email me because he discovered about sgLEAD (an advocacy blog some colleagues and I started) and sent me some words of encouragement. Thanks Alvan, for the kind words.

Incidentally, Alvan was a High Browse Online winner for his review of Kazuo Ishiguro's 'The Remains of the Day'. He also has a blog (, where he says he's "Deaf/ hearing-impaired; who is both oral and signing".

Deaf-initely Boleh!He's in the organising committee with the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), with NLB, for an upcoming carnival in December 2006. Details at the Deaf-initely Boleh! website (

I'll be inviting Alvan to join the sgLEAD mailing list.

I remembering reading an article that says deafness is something that will afflict almost all of us, as we get older. For a brief period, I experienced what it was like to lose one's hearing, if only partially.

For almost three months, I couldn't hear very well with my left ear. The doctor diagnosed it to be blocked by mucus, as a result of my cold (the mouth-ear-throat are all connected). I recovered from my cold but my left ear continued to be blocked.

I vaguely remember the strange feeling of only hearing things from one side properly. My body coordination went a little out of whack. I also vaguely remember asking people to repeat themselves more than once. Some people got very irritated with that. Such as impatient hawkers with very good business during lunch time.

Eventually it cleared. I've since forgotten what it felt like not to be able to hear fully. For some people though, deafness is something they have to live with. And they've learnt to live with it well.

I'd love to discuss with Alvan and other like-minded Singaporeans how to make libraries more relevant to the hearing-impaired Deaf. Insights to some basic questions would be needed, e.g. Do People with Hearing Impairment who are Hard of Hearing/ Deaf encounter difficulties in accessing the library's collection? What's their level of awareness in terms of library services? Do they use libraries at all?

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How librarianship has changed, according to Joyce Valenza

Liblogarian Joyce Valenza, who graduated from library school in 1976, shares her perspective on how (a librarian's) life has changed since she left library school. She sums it up in a very neat chart, on things like "Most Used Reference Sources", "How We Most Often Communicate", "Reference Service", "How we find out about Books and Other Materials", "How We Get News". Worth checking it out. Great chart for discussion.

BTW, I learnt about her post via Doug Johnson, who also shares his views on the issue.

Mm, 1976... that's 30 years since Joyce completed her library degree (Joyce must be what?... in her late-40s?)

I've only been in the profession for 10 years. I'll have to wait for another 20 years before I create a chart like Joyce's. Heh. Looking at Joyce's chart, it's clear that librarianship is an ever-evolving profession, but I suppose that's true for any profession nowadays.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Denver Public Library's podcasts (and Lansing's)

Senior Librarian, Cassi Pretlow, from Denver Public Library found my blog and informed me that they launched their podcast site recently, at (thanks, Cassi!)

She also adds that they are currently focusing on children's stories (available from the public domain) and will eventually add adult and teen content. In short, they recorded their readings of stuff without copyright restrictions, like some popular nursery rhymes.

I have listened to a few of their podcasts. Ah, Subscribed! All the readings were done by someone called "Mer". My compliments to Mer. She's got a nice voice. Is Mer a librarian?

Oh, wait... what's this? "Harry and the Potters Interview"? Heh.

Speaking of library podcasts, it's been sometime since I listened in to Lansing Library's. So I played this one and this one from their Teen News Blog. I believe they got their own teen library member (Emily) to read the review? Nice work, Emily. She sounded a bit shy but I think there's nothing wrong with that. She sound REAL, and I think that works for a teen-related blog. Emily ought read longer passages. She has a nice voice. OK, now I'm wondering who's Emily?

I also liked how they've inserted a consistent (and very snazzy) voice-over at the start and end of each of their podcast. It's the audio equivalent of a corporate logo. Nice idea.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Last will and testament of George Washington

Anyone interested in this?
"Last will and testament of George Washington, of Mount Vernon: The only authenticated copy, full and complete, embracing a schedule of his real estate, and explanatory notes thereto by the testator; to which is added important historical notes, biographical sketches, and anecdotes"
Details and downloads at the Archive.Org page.

Yup, it's this George Washington, in case you were wondering:

Image Source:

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thoughts on 'Managing A Library (or, "Why I don't blog so much about Managing Libraries")

Read this post from Connecting Librarian, which led me to T. Scott sharing his thoughts on management and decision-making from a library administrator's point of view. I found myself agreeing and emphathising with many of Scott's points. Like this one:
And you should assume that every decision will be criticized and misunderstood. This is an aspect of change management that I haven't seen discussed much in the libraryland blogs.

Certainly this paragraph most of all:
Figuring this out on a day-to-day basis is an art. It's never clearcut. I almost never know for certain that the decision that I'm making at any point in time is absolutely the right one... ... On the good days, I look at what we're accomplishing and I'm proud of the part that I get to play. On the other days, I put my head in my hands, grimacing at the bone-headed things that I've done. I have more good days than bad, which, I suppose, is what keeps me coming back.

I have often asked myself, "Have I done the right thing?"
Sometimes I ask the same of my bosses, heh :)

Sometimes I ask certain of my colleagues (bosses, peers or those in my team) that question about my actions. In the end, I think there are really three yardsticks of whether I've done the right thing as a manager, in the following order:
  1. The results achieved, as required by my employer;
  2. My continued employment by the organisation;
  3. A professional and cordial relationship with my colleagues (different from being "friends").

Perhaps the real yardstick is how others acknowledge your worth at the end of a given time period (i.e. we won't know it now, for only time will tell).

While I'm trained as a librarian, I was already in a managerial capacity when I started this blog, i.e. planning, leading, supervising. So why not call this blog 'Rambling Library Manager' from the start? Ah, you'll agree that Rambling Librarian sounds better : )

At that time, I'd considered blogging about the management of public libraries (I was directly managing up to three libraries at one time), e.g. thoughts about the day-to-day running of the library, general issues and concerns as a branch manager, that kind of stuff. In the end, I deliberately chose to blog about the public librarianship, rather than the management of libraries or of librarians.

So far, the closest I've ever blogged about that aspect of managing libraries was perhaps this Open Letter to my PLS librarian colleagues and this follow-up post titled Open Letter to My front-line staff. Note: The posts weren't directed to my colleagues (my blog is NOT for official communications). The posts were merely attempts at using the 'Open Letter' format as a blog-writing technique/ style of expression.

Blogging about the going-ons in managing a library was tricky. It touched on areas like the management of staff and dealing with customer issues, which were often confidential. I could blog about it from a general perspective (like the Open Letters) but there's only so much worth reading before it gets stale.

Anyway, I've shared before that Management and Librarianship are not mutually exclusive areas. Besides, posts about being/ becoming a public librarian and about happenings in the library would be more interesting and 'safer' to blog about.

It's oft said that "Management is more of an Art than an exact Science". It's true because in management, you are dealing with People -- individuals with different wants, needs, perceptions, personalities etc.

I relooked at this Short Reading List for Managers that I posted at RoughNotes back in 2004. Might be worth revisiting those books again. I'm sure I'll gain new perspectives since the last time I read them.

In that same post, I wrote that "management is a lonely business". It still is, but I guess successful managers are those who don't necessarily create or reinforce that statement, but simply accept it as the nature of the work.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gaming in Libraries: Computer game titles available at NLB

Kevin left a comment in this earlier post, asking if NLB would experiment with bringing in gaming events to its libraries. I replied that my colleagues and I do visit this issue on and off. We are keeping an eye on how the issue of gaming in libraries develop.

"Gaming events" could be in the form of LAN Parties (briefly described in this OCLC article). A simple start to "Gaming in Libraries" would be to make game software titles available for loan (as reported in this article; see also this blog entry by John Scalzo).

The NLB already offers certain software titles for loan (you'll need to sign up for the Premium membership service). Such titles have been available for several years now, just that NLB doesn't make a big deal out of it. Some feel it should (there are arguments for and against, which could be discussed in a future blog post).

For now, here are some tips on how NLB library members can check for the availability of computer game titles from the NLB catalogue:

#1 - Search by Subject - One way is to (a) select "Subject by Subject" and (b) type in "computer games software"
screenshot_NLB Catalogue.jpg
Searching by subject is useful when you wish to browse through the list of items. IMPORTANT: You have to use the specific term/ phrase (or what we librarians call "subject heading") or else you won't get the results you want.

#2 - Keyword Search - Another way is to use the Search By Keyword feature, where you combine words and phrases to obtain a list for browsing, or to pinpoint to specific titles in mind. In this example, I typed in "call of duty software" since I had a specific title in mind and wanted to focus the search to "software" and filter out books. Here's the screen shot of the results page:
screenshot_NLB Catalogue - Call of Duty

If you are interested in more search tips, read this this page from the NLB website. Or you can always ASK a librarian (there are many ways to do this now -- via email (, enquiry forms, leave a comment at the ASK! blog, meet the librarian face-to-face...)

So, will NLB or any library introduce more than just computer software titles to their collection? It really depends. Behind any 'Yes' or 'No' answer, there are a few general considerations, for instance, the library's objectives, its budget, its policy for collection development (which support its objectives), and customer needs.

Here's a simple illustration -- if the library's objective was simply to "attain the highest loan statistics", one could easily convert the entire library to stock only game titles, including XBox and PlayStation titles. Heck, I'd even throw in the Xbox and Playstation machine for loan. I'm sure it will be a very empty library, with all the items constantly on loan. However, life isn't that simple. Most libraries support some higher aim, like "promotion of reading and literacy". So there has to be a balance. You get the picture.

Of course one can choose to have a complicated view of things, or just account for a few key considerations and then simply experiment. Depends on the institutional culture I suppose.

I think what's stopping the wider adoption of Gaming in Libraries is the lack of concrete measures for the outcomes from implementing "gaming". For instance, nowadays it's relatively easy for most libraries (bar those in the under-developed nations) to set up a LAN Game Centre in its premises. I'm sure it will be fully utilised, especially by teenagers. But how would we really know if those teens would be 'learning' more, nevermind if they end up 'reading' more?

That being said, I'm sure as more research is done in this area, and as the idea of "Gaming in Libraries" gain wider acceptance among librarians, library administrators and library customers, things will change.

What might be critical is the development of the Games themselves. Take the game, "Call Of Duty" (reviewed at RoughNotes). I'm a big fan of the game (albeit an old title) because it has that authentic learning element. It's fun, it's exciting, and it reinforces what I've read about the Normandy invasion, leading to Hitler's defeat.

My gut feel is that "Gaming in Libraries" isn't a matter of "IF" but "WHEN". Admittedly, I make this statement based on a superficial understanding of the overall developments of 'Gaming in Libraries'. Still, I've read blog posts about World of Warcraft and Second Life, and I can't help but feel some critical mass is building up. Maybe not within months. My guess is within the next 5 years.

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Chapman Sticks, Warr Guitar and all that (Fusion) Jazz

I learnt about this music DVD from a High Browse Online review:

NLB Call No.: 782.42166 KIN [ART]
Format: DVD
Music Village at the Library@Esplanade
Click here for item availability

What really got me interested in the DVD was this initial comment in the blog post, about "Chapman Sticks".

A what?!

It's a musical instrument. This is what a Chapman Stick looks like:

Some screenshots from the "deja VROOOM" DVD:
Chapman Stick - King Crimson: Deja Vroom (1) Chapman Stick - King Crimson: Deja Vroom (2)

From the Wikipedia entry and other websites, I learnt that:
  • Emmett Chapman invented it in 1969. He wrote this 1987 article, "The evolution of a musical art" (posted at Stick.Com).
  • The instrument is sometimes referred to as "The Stick". Players could be called "Stickists".
  • They use the tapping technique for the Chapman Stick ("sticking" would sound rather odd).
  • There's a similar instrument called the Warr Guitar, named after its inventor, Mark Warr (do we call people who play the Warr Guitar "Warrists"? Sounds fierce, heh).
Greg Howard demonstrates how the Chapman Stick is played:

The High Browse Online review wrote highly of one of the featured musician called Bill Bruford. I learnt that he's a drummer. Here's a screenshot of his drum improvisation in the DVD:
Bruford - King Crimson: Deja Vroom
It's not a very long segment (unfortunately).

King Crimsom's "deja VROOOM" (that's three "O"s) isn't all about the Chapman Stick. It's Fusion Jazz I think, a musical genre that I not really familiar with. I always tell myself it's important to force myself to explore things that don't normally fall within my immediate preference. I won't like everything I try of course, but in this case, the DVD is quite a gem.

Oh, and here's an observation about the review of library materials on the Web: Simply publishing information about the library item don't necessarily result in the use/ loan of the item. What might make a difference is the discussion (comments, feedback, complaints, compliments etc.) about it.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

John Kirriemuir, on "Digital Games and Digital Libraries"

Thanks to Kenneth for this link, which led me to John Kirriemuir's powerpoint presentation (4 MB) on "Digital Games and Digital Libraries" (made available via Bill MacKenty).

Coherent, informative slides and surprisingly self-explanatory (for a powerpoint slide). Worth taking a look indeed. Of particular interest to me was Slide 43 onwards - "Impact - 12 Areas where libraries and digital games collide":
  • Slide 44 - Preservation (Since 1992, "every video game distributed in France must send in two copies to the French national library", Bibliothèque Nationale de France [Translated site])
  • Slide 45 - "Keep kids quiet in public libraries" (So true!)
  • Slide 46 - "Get people into the (public) library"
  • Slide 48 - "Circulating support materials" (Kirriemuir suggests that "when people play digital games, they use a wide variety of materials")
  • Slide 49 - On the use and abuse of library (IT) network
  • Slide 55 - Possibility of "Mobile library catalogue access"
  • Slides 64, 65 and 66 shows the interfaces for Google, WorldCat, and World of Warcraft. The first 2 were designed to be as simple as possibe while the last one shows much complexity. I think the implication is that the Gamer Generation will be more used to complexity and can handle alot more information than we can when it comes to information delivery.
  • Slide 72: Second Life as the librarians online game of choice; "Libraries being built by groups of people"; "BBC holds concerts within Second Life" (see also slides 74 to 78)
  • Slide 79 & 80: "10 Attributes of a game player"
  • Slide 83 (final slide): "Summary and Pointers"
I noticed the librarians in Second Life are all sexy (the women) and hunks (the men). It figures. Who wouldn't want their avatar to look better? Incidentally, I managed to google for John Kirriemuir's blog, at

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The Youth.SG podcasts

I learnt of the Youth.SG podcasts only recently. My favourites are definitely their inaugural podcast "Yi Qing wins her first pageant", and the follow-up "Another bad pick-up line from Yi Qing".

"Yi Qing wins her first pageant"

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Listen to the part on the "bad pickup line that a girl can say to a guy", i.e. "Hey you've got great legs, what..."; I think the rest of the folks were trying hard not to laugh and disrupt the recording. But I say they should have just let loose, heh.

"Another bad pick-up line from Yi Qing"

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This one features a bad pick-up line, from a guy to a girl. I found it funny, I don't know why.

The rest of the podcasts can be heard/ subscribed via this link.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Library Etiquette: Hogging of table & seat

[Opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Library Board]

A reader of my blog (let's call him/ her "J") alerted me to this discussion thread in 'J' asked for my views "regarding people doing this in the library" and also on "the library's stand with regards to this issue".

(Source of image:

I advised 'J' that anyone who wishes to obtain an official comment for any library-related matter could contact the library -- try this online contact form via the NLB website. As per organisational policy, I am not in any capacity to provide any official comment on library policy. However, I shared with 'J' my personal opinions on the matter. I've expanded my reply here, as well as comments on the forum discussion itself:

Leaving one's belongings on the table and going off for an extended period of time -- that's clearly being inconsiderate to others. Period.

Perhaps the person(s) who reserved the items in that manner did not do it out of malice. It might be a case of not being mindful of the feelings of our actions upon others. But that's precisely the meaning of being inconsiderate.

That person(s) risk their belongings being stolen (if I'm not mistaken, there's a MP3 player at the bottom right of the picture). And they won't be able to fault anyone other than themselves for leaving their belongings unattended. As the police slogan once went, "Low crime does not mean no crime".

There's a remark in the forum calling the culprits "Ch** B** Kias" (let's just say it's like calling you a 4-letter word). I feel namecalling is uncalled for. Highlighting the issue in a public forum is OK but being uncouth and rude doesn't solve anything. It would only make matters worse.

For anyone who really feel strongly about the uncivic behaviour in libraries, well be an advocate for the library. Not through rude name-calling or verbal attacks in forums, but through engagement and dialogue. Sometimes, just pointing out the issue is all we can do for the time being.

Maybe the longer term solution is for the more civic -minded students to try and educate their fellow students in schools. E.g. public discussions during school assemblies, student-led forums, class discussions, awareness campaigns etc. If any student or teacher is reading this and would like to try this out, I'd be more than happy to work with you on this.

Oh, finally, there was this particular post in the thread that I found quite funny (quoted here verbatim):
Last time when me and my friend went to the library while finding seats. the librarian told us his getting a seat for us and we are wondering how. Then he suddenly bring in the "Holy Transparent Box" and throw everything on the table into the box!, all of us was shock.

Then they write something on a piece of paper. i went to look at it and it says "please call XXXXXXXXX (a number) to redeem your belongings".

Pretty cool huh

And in the thread there was this clarification about the "Holy Transparent Box":
A transparent box, just a normal cube, there was sun light shining through it tat time, and that box saves us

Now I don't know if it was really a "librarian" who carried out the said act. Or whether it was really done at all. As I said, you can write in to the library to clarify. But LOL - "Holy Transparent Box" indeed!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Thoughts on George Yeo guest-blogging for local blogger

This is interesting. George Yeo publishes a post as a guest. Non-Singaporean readers might be wondering, "Who's George Yeo?"

He's better known as Brigadier-General (BG) George Yeo, currently Singapore's Foreign Minister.

Some people chose to comment directly at the blog post (there were 10 comments when I last checked). Some chose to comment elsewhere, or linked/ long-tailed via trackbacks. Some posted their own opinions in their own blogs, as I have done so here.

That's how people can be 'engaged' using blogs. Detractors may say it's an example of how blogs can be abused, but I say "freedom of responsible speech". We are accountable for our own words; anonymity could be a fallacy.

It's not unexpected for people to link his act of guest-blogging to recent news about Singapore Government & New Media (partly mentioned here; see also this and this post from Damien).

Here's the thing -- it's probably more accurate to say that "Mr. George Yeo" guest-blogged, rather than refer to him as "BG George Yeo" (the BG title is associated with his official position, I think) or "Singapore Foreign Minister".

My logic is that he posted in his personal capacity, so we have to acknowledge that. Of course in his case, he's such a well-known public figure that it's near impossible for most to see him blog without associating him with his official post.

Anyway, whether we see that post as from George Yeo (Singaporean) or George Yeo (Singapore Foreign Minister), I think it's all good. Afterall, as Minister for Information and The Arts (as MICA was called then), he commissioned the landmark Library 2000 report, which served as the blueprint for transforming the public libraries and the National Library (see also, "Planning the Library of the Future - The Singapore Experience", paragraph captioned "PLANNING FOR THE LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE").

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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Art of Cooking & The Art of Blogging

Initially I took this post on Making Indomie Mi Goreng from Siva quite seriously. Was about to include it to my Creative Learning collection. But reading it again, I don't know. What do you think? :)
... slowly mix the four seasoning... It will initially look quite messy but after 77 seconds... Now, take out the mee from the boiling water (should be boiled for 3 min 19 sec)... Put an egg into the boiling water for 3 mins 24 sec... there are still white parts but continue to mix it for 2 min 11 sec... NOW, take out the egg (after 3 min 24 sec and should be 2/3 boiled)...
LOL. Did Siva's friend take a stopwatch and timed all that?

Well I didn't count the seconds when I did my "Egg + Leftover Cheese powder/ chili Flakes Sandwich".

Egg and Leftover-Cheese & Chilli Flakes SandwichA friend asked me, "What made you blog about the making of the Egg Sandwich?"

I explained that apart from creating a post for my Creative Learning collection (for a work-related project), there was no particular reason.

Maybe I wanted to record my spur-of-the-moment recipe for future reference. Also, what may seem frivolous could be useful information to another person. Worse that can happen is that I contribute to information overload (but that only makes Librarians ever more needed, heh).

But as I whack out this post on my Mac, I'm reminded how Blogging is about Conversations.

Take this earlier post from my FIJ, about Instant Cup Noodles. To most people in Singapore, the subject is nothing new. But then the post attracted the attention of this blogger who shared about the availability of Instant Noodle quick fix on Singapore Airlines.

Of course, that piece of information isn't particularly earth-shattering, and it's unverified from my point of view (I didn't ask when I last flew SQ). But potentially useful information nonetheless.

My point, after this ramble?

Cooking is an Art rather than a Science, as most people will agree. The same is true of Blogging as a cultural phenomenon.

We don't really need to verify or justify 'Art'.

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Media Release: Opening of Bishan Community Library

[Am posting this for my reference. Also, I've highlighted some interesting aspects the the Community Library, in bold, in paragraphs 5, 7 and 8]


[1 ] Singapore, 1 September 2006. Starting tomorrow, the 90,000-strong community of Bishan and Thomson will have a brand new community library literally at their doorstep.

[2] Bishan Community Library (BICL) will open its doors to the public on September 2, at 10 am, this being the 20th community library under the purview of the National Library Board (NLB). The 4,000 sqm. five-storey library with a start-up collection size of more than 180,000 books and audiovisual materials, is centrally located at Bishan Place in the heart of Bishan Central, fringed by Bishan Junction 8 Shopping Centre, the Bishan MRT Station and the CPF Bishan Service Centre, and is set to add to the vibrancy of the town centre. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs and Member of Parliament for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Mr Wong Kan Seng officiated the official opening ceremony today at 7.45 pm

[3] BICL will cater to a diverse community, comprising residents in the Bishan, Marymount and Thomson areas. Other target library users also include students and teachers from the 12 primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions, working adults in some 15 commercial organizations located in the library's vicinity, members of 11 voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), young families and senior citizens. Library users in these areas previously frequented the Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio Community Libraries.

[4] "Over the years, there have been numerous requests from residents in this area to have a community library in the vicinity. Other than responding to customer demand for a library in Bishan, BICL is also part of both the Library 2000 (L2000) and the Library 2010 (L2010) plans of the National Library Board. In line with the L2000 plan of providing convenient and accessible libraries, BICL will be an oasis of knowledge for the Bishan community. In addition, BICL will further serve to fulfil our L2010 vision of Libraries for Life, Knowledge for Success by providing conducive social learning spaces for the community to engage in their lifelong learning pursuits. With its comprehensive collection and robust programming to bring knowledge alive, we are confident that BICL will be a magnet for residents of all age groups and with different information needs." said Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive, NLB.

[5] Demonstrating how the library can bring knowledge alive for residents, BICL will collaborate closely with the 11 VWOs whose premises are in close proximity (located within Bishan Junction 8 shopping complex) in offering jointly organised programmes and other activities.

[6] Among them is WINGS (Women's Initiative for Ageing Successfully), an organisation dedicated to promoting health and financial literacy and family management among older women. Ms Selina Gan, its Centre Manager, said, "BICL will be valuable in complementing our programme of educational and counselling activities. The closeness of the library is a boon for our members. In addition to jointly organising activities, the easy access to related books and information will boost our mission to empower women with knowledge that will equip them for a fruitful and quality life in their senior years."

[7] Design-wise BICL is based on the concept of a Tree House to foster and create an environment of learning through a journey of discovery and reflection. Unique to BICL are capsule-like areas called 'Thinking Pods', which seem to float beyond the building's external glass façade in a myriad of colours on the second, third and fourth floors as well as within the interior floors of the building. 16 thinking pods in all, they offer users spaces for some moments of solitude and quiet contemplation.

[8] To reach out to different groups of library users, special thematic spaces have been created for different age groups and segmented according to different interest groups so that users can relate to and navigate around the library easily. For instance, the specially designed subterranean themed basement with its cave-like atmosphere offers 80,000 fiction and non-fiction materials for children of all ages as well as spaces for parent-child interaction and storytelling programmes.

[9] Another example is level four, which caters to the teens and has been designed with funky furniture and special circular shelves to stimulate interaction amongst hobby groups and create an inviting environment. "We hope that this level which is intended to convey a sense of youthful energy and a "hip and happening" setting for users will appeal to teenagers and they could use the collections here for their school work and personal and leisure interests," said Ms. Chua Chiew Yong, Manager, BICL.

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Who's Blogging About Bishan (Community Library)?

I searched via for "Bishan Community Library" and "Bishan Library" and got some very interesting results. It could just be my perception, but I've noticed that there are more blog posts about library openings this time round, compared to last year when I did a similar search for the opening for the National Library. A sign that even more Singaporeans are blogging?

Interestingly, the posts that spelt BICL in full (Bishan Community Library) seemed to be mostly by older persons, while those that just used the (less accurate) term "Bishan Library" seemed to be mostly by students around 16 years old or thereabouts. I figured they were students from the tone and writing style. And you can't miss when tHey tYPe liKe Dis! :)

Some of the more interesting posts (there are more but I didn't have time to read them all):

With blogs (and search tools to retrieve relevant blog posts), I'm learning a lot more about what our users feel about libraries -- their likes and dislikes, perceptions and observations -- stuff they don't necessarily write or tell us otherwise.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Singapore Public Libraries, Youth.SG & The September Project, 2006

The September Project (TSP) grows from strength to strength each year. More important, there are more participants from outside the US. Truly, it's about "Community, not Geography". Sarah, on what TSP is about (as of 2006):
TSP is many things but the most simple definition we like to use is this: The September Project encourages free and public events in all libraries in all countries on or around September 11.

From my perspective, TSP has remained true to its original intent of facilitating civic events with libraries as the central focus. What might has changed is the increased global perspective/ lesser US-centric view, for TSP overall.

David and Sarah ought to start documenting its evolution (if they have not done so already). The global map that John Klockner put together is a very nice record of how the project has grown in terms of international partners. Check out the maps for 2004, 2005 and 2006 (the 2006 map is still being updated).

This year, has very kindly agreed to be our official blog for Singapore's event (their blog target at teens, so they would be a logical choice for a blog-partner):
Here in Singapore, the NLB wants you think write about literacy or peace or how literacy can bring about peace. If you’re not good with words, use any medium you are comfortable with to spread the message. Selected entries will be shared digitally with an international audience. The Top 3 entries will stand to win attractive NLB limited edition collectibles!

For brevity, the concept and planning has not been articulated in the blog post or NLB poster, so I thought I'd share some details here (I'm also posting this for my own reference):

After some initial brainstorming in July, we (the Adult & Young Peoples' Services team) decided on the working theme of "My Global Neighbourhood". The general idea was to try and combine TSP and International Literacy Day (both events were in Sept). So finally we decided our event had two main aims: To (1) engage and (2) increase awareness among teens in global issues, through the expression of art, music, writing (any mediums they are comfortable with).

By teens, we meant the 13 to 21 year olds.

Specifically, on the Singapore side, the event would be implemented as follows:
1) We want teens to express themselves through pictures (artwork), music, soundbites, written notes (no minimum or maximum entries).

2) The points for discussion/ expression are a series of questions, just to get them thinking. E.g. "What does Sept 11 mean to you?", "What does being poor mean to you?", "What does literacy mean to you?" Teens could also suggest points of discussion (answer a question with a question).

3) They can express themselves by any of the folowing means:
- Post in their blogs (if they have one), upload to youtube etc., and send us the url link
- graphics in jpeg formats (not exceeding 1MB), 3G mobile phone clips (not exceeding 1MB), mp3 etc. Basically not exceeding 1MB for any digital submission.
- write on postcards, paper, scrapes etc. Anything that can be digitally scanned or taken with digital camera.
- submission to include Name (or initials), age, gender, library.

4) Submissions to be sent to the library via email, which the library would pass on to Youth.SG for uploading.

5) Singapore will invite "judges" to identify what they think are the "3 most expressive" submissions (we will invite Youth.SG for a rep as well). But we stress that this is no contest or competition. There's no hard or fast rules.

On my end, I've emailed to some overseas librarians contacts. I hope they'd be able to participate and submit some entries from their teen members.

Incidentally, I discovered Alex Halavais' (whom I know via Kevin) "September Project" category. Here's a post on "Public Spaces + The September Project" by Sarah in Alex's blog. I'm sure there's some 6-degrees connection here, LOL!

Oh, I thought it'll be interesting (for me) to dig up all TSP-related posts in my blog (inevitably, as the number of post grows, organisation and retrieval of posts is an issue). I'd even forgotten about some posts:

I'm glad I blogged those posts. It's a good way to reflect on what has been done, and the possibilities ahead.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bishan Community Library (BICL) officially opens on 2 Sept 2006

Down with a cold and a very bad sore throat (yes, the kind that gives you the sexy voice). Must be the accumulated stress from the IFLA conference. Hence, I won't be able to attend Bishan Community Library's opening tomorrow.

The opening of BICL makes this the 20th Community Library (or the 23rd public library, if you include the 3 Regional Libraries). I found this library to be one of the better designed ones, interior-wise.

Wonder if my colleague, manager of BICL, would be able to sleep well tonight. I remember worrying about Bukit Merah CL's opening (when I was still managing it). As a branch manager, you inevitably worry about the opening day crowd -- would the crowd be overwhelming? Or would few people turn up?

For the past 10 years, there's always been a good-sized crowd for library opening days. But inspite of that knowledge, you'll always have some doubts. Perhaps "doubt" is the wrong word to use. More accurate to say that one doesn't take things for granted.

Incidentally, with the recent endorsement* by PM Lee for government agencies to experiment with mediums like blogs, I wonder if NLB would like to start a blog for the next library coming up -- to give some insights on the work involved in building and preparing a library for opening and beyond. The blog would certainly be a great source of archival material for that particular library itself, if nothing else.

* Full-text of PM Lee's speech available here (from ST interactive); scroll to the section "The Digital Age - reaping the benefits, managing risks"

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