Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kevin says "NLB’s ‘myLibrary’ Facebook App is damn shiok!"

"Shiok", a colloquial term frequently uttered by Singaporeans, can mean "Great!" or "Excellent".

Or possibly what Robin would say to Batman, "Holy 'Library 2.0', Batman!"

My friend, Kevin, created this video review/ blog post of NLB's Facebook app called myLibrary -


Kevin wrote:
What’s interesting about the app is that it integrates much of our typical library transactions right into Facebook.

At first we might wonder, “What’s the big deal about a Facebook app? Can’t we already access the same services by going to the library’s web site?”

True that, but more than just a matter of accessibility, it’s about being “within reach” to users, and extending their library use into the third place. Allowing users to recommend books to friends or posting what they’re reading directly onto their Facebook profiles is very much for the library’s win (i.e. word of mouth).

Thanks for the video, Kevin!

The myLibrary app is primarily targeted at NLB members, who are also FB users. Details of the FB app is at this FAQ page at
myLibrary offers the following suite of features and NLB services:

1. Account checking: users can perform library transactions and view information pertaining to their library accounts including overdue items, fines information and item reservation.

2. ASK! A Librarian service: users can send information-related enquiries to librarians who will respond within three working days. They can also view selected user enquiries and librarian responses.

3. New arrivals: users can view and search for the latest items available from NLB libraries.

4. Events: users can view and search for information on upcoming events and exhibitions held at NLB libraries.

5. Blogs: users can view the latest blog entries from NLB’s family of blogs including High Browse Online, Read and Reap and YO!

6. MyStuff: this is a virtual shelf to which users can save content (i.e. blog entries, event and item information, enquiries/responses) available in MyLibrary.

7. Recommendations: users can recommend items and information available in MyLibrary to friends. In the Recommendations tab, users can view their own recommendations as well as what others have recommended to them.

8. Post to profile: this Facebook feature has been enabled for users to post content available in MyLibrary on their profile page for others to view.

9. Invite: users can invite their friends to add MyLibrary to their Facebook accounts.

The myLibrary app is something I find useful, and I'm not just saying this because I work for NLB.

I login to Facebook more than I visit the library website (I bet this is true for many FB users who are NLB members). So by linking my Facebook account with my NLB account, I can see my loan record when I'm in Facebook (the link can be deactivated anytime).

Here's a list of what I've borrowed:
NLB myLibrary on Facebook | Home

In anticipation of questions concerning data privacy and security, the NLB FAQ says "...all account information and library transactions will take place within NLB computer systems that adhere to strict Singapore Government security and data protection guidelines."

My favourite feature is "Recommendations", combined with "Post to Profile". From my loan record displayed in Facebook, I can click on the "Post Profile" button and type in some comments:
NLB myLibrary on Facebook | Post to profile

Then it'll be posted to my FB profile, which my FB friends can view (depending on your FB privacy settings).
Facebook | Posted to profile

If my FB friends feel like it, they can leave comments at the profile posting itself. Just occurred to me that if Twitter is "microblogging", then the myLibrary Recommendations feature is like "micro-book review and book discussion" combined.

Would be even better if bookcover images could be displayed, and also not to truncate the book title. The NLB project team will try to introduce refinements.

If you've any feedback or suggestions for the myLibrary app team, there's a "Contact the Developer" link at the bottom of the app page. Or leave a comment here and I'll redirect them to the team.

They'd be keen to know if you think the app is shiok or not :)


  1. Great post, Ivan! Thanks!

    I completely agree with you on the book covers. Also, Siva had an idea about letting friends add items on your wall directly to their stuff, sounds like something the team could consider.

    I was going to ask when you were going to be done with Guns, Germs and Steel -- it's loaned out everywhere! D-:<

  2. Just returned last week. Anyway, it's not as if I can just pass it to you. Quite likely there's a reservation queue. :) It's an insightful book. Worth paying the reservation fee.

  3. Hi Ivan,

    Just had an opportunity to play extensively with the app and I have to say I'm really impressed! Great to have the ability to renew books and check locations/availability of books straight from Facebook.

    Awesome work.

  4. Thanks for trying this out. We hope more people like you will encourage others to try it out. Oh, I'll pass your feedback to my colleagues. Cheers!

  5. Anonymous1:56 am

    I store my list of books to read onto "mystuff" on the FB app. However, I was disappointed to find that I couldn't access it via the FB app on iPhone :( it would be so useful to be able to refer to my booklist on the go ..

    1. It's a limitation of the FB app. I can't access my apps via FB app too.


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