Saturday, December 16, 2006

Library outreach event: Singapore Garden Festival (D-Day)

[Continues from D-Day minus 1] My colleague, Huey Bin, texted me this morning to say that everything was up and running. I cleared emails and finished off some work before I popped over to the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) to check on things. Colleagues on duty reported that loans have been brisk.

Books for loanI think the books look like a bed of plants and flowers, don't you?

Not surprisingly, quite a few people thought we were selling books. In fact, this has been a common perception whenever the library conducts an outreach activity. I guess most people assumed that there's a book sale when there are books laid out.

I wonder if we should put up a huge sign, for each outreach, to correct the misconception. I jokingly told my colleagues that it might be a good thing they think there's a sale, 'cos once they learn that they can borrow the books home for free (when they were prepared to pay), it might encourage more loans.

The loan promotion we have there also helped to encourage people to borrow. Upon hindsight, we should have designed some simple poll to find out if those who borrowed were non-library users or otherwise (to gauge who we were reaching out to). NLB loan promotion

Judging from the questions I received about our booth, it was clear to me our presence there has created that mind-share and awareness about the library service. What's hard to measure is the quantitative aspects of that mind-share though, e.g. would people use the library subsequently, now that they are aware of it.

Visitors have also asked questions Botany-related questions (as we'd hoped). I was told the popular questions were about Orchids (e.g. how to cultivate/ grow). Not surprising, since the Orchid show was one of the highlights of the SGF and an Orchid Judging event was being held near the NLB booth.

A few days before the event, I was informed that the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) had a pavilion on the other end of the hall, and they were going to provide something called the "Plant Doctor" service. Unfortunately we didn't have time to work something out (since we both offered an advisory service).

Anyway I went over to their pavilion -- called "Clinic Botanica" -- to learn what exactly were they providing, so that perhaps over the next few days, the NLB staff could make appropriate referrals to them.

AVA booth - Clinic BotanicaTheir spiffy-looking pavilion had plenty of visitors, many of them asking the AVA staff questions on plant health etc. If you are interested in how to maintain the health of your plants in your home, then it's worth visiting their booth. The staff there are friendly and knowledgeable.

Had a quick chat with one of their staff and was informed that the AVA Plant Clinic service has always been a crowd puller. I'm not surprised. I've always felt that high-rise gardening is a popular pursuit among HDB dwellers. I've lived in HDB flats all my life and practically every floor would have at least one household maintaining plants along the common corridor.

AVA booth - Clinic Botanica I managed to speak to their Head of Animal & Plant Health Centre, Mr. Ong Keng Ho. We had a quick chat and agreed that it would be worth following-up after the SGF, on how AVA and NLB could work together.

AVA booth - Clinic Botanica Some ideas would be to collaborate on the Plant Health Advisory (they have the experts, and we have the infrastructure and general information resources) and possibly public talks and events at the libraries.

Before I went off, I asked for some of the AVA brochures and flyers to bring back to the NLB booth. I don't see why we can't help cross-promote their pavilion, especially their free Plant Doctor service (it's free for the duration of the event).

Here's an update of the NLB Paper-Garden. It has grown quite a bit in less than a day. : )
Build Our Garden

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  1. Anonymous7:58 pm

    It's an interesting article...the NLB has been organising such interesting outreach programmes, but I seem not to know anything about such events till it's over and publicised in the papers or there anyway I can know about such programmes so that I have a chance to participate in it?

    I would like to do some volunteer work with NLB too, like eg, read to the kids at the library or something...though I am studying partime I can contribute during my hols and when I am free during the semesters....:)

  2. Oh, this was soft-launched relatively recently:

    It might be what you're looking for.

  3. Anonymous7:55 am

    Very detailed series of posts on your involvement with the Singapore Garden Festival. Its great to know how actively NLB leverages on popular consumer shows to get the word out. I wish only that.... OK better not talk too much about work here!

    Anyway, I have also blogged (albeit much more bimbotically!) about the festival. Am quite proud of the photos though. Check them out at:

  4. Aiya I missed this!

    Happy New Year!!!


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