Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two new Public Libraries in 2011: Serangoon And Clementi

From the NLB press release, dated 15 Oct 2010:
SINGAPORE, 15 October 2010 – As part of the National Library Board's continuous efforts to better serve its patrons and the community, the Board will be opening two more Public Libraries in the heartlands by mid 2011. These libraries will add to its current network of 22 Public Libraries, bringing it to a total of 24.

Residents of Serangoon have much to look forward to when Serangoon Public Library (SRPL) opens its doors to the public in March 2011. It aims to serve the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community in the North East region, particularly some 122,000 residents in Serangoon. SRPL will be housed at the fourth level of nex, a mega family-friendly retail mall that links directly to the Serangoon MRT Station of the North East Line and Circle Line, and the Serangoon Bus Interchange. SRPL has a floor area of approximately 1,580 square metres.

Come May 2011, residents of Clementi will also have a library in their neighbourhood. Clementi Public Library (CMPL) will be located on the fifth level of Clementi Mall, a six-storey retail mall that links directly to the Clementi MRT Station and the bus interchange. CMPL offers accessibility to the community in the South West region, particularly some 91,000 residents in Clementi. CMPL has a floor area of approximately 1,900 square metres.

Each library offers a start-up collection of about 150,000 volumes of books, magazines and audio-visual materials, selected based on the demographic make-up and profile of the community.

As a lead up to the two libraries' openings, NLB's Public Libraries will actively engage the community through a series of activities. These include the 'People, Places & Recollections' Photo Contest which aims to build up a collection of photographs that best captures the essence of the Serangoon community. To promote community bonding, residents at Clementi can also contribute photographs for the 'Faces of Clementi' exhibition which seeks to showcase the then and now of Clementi. The public can view these photographs at specially curated exhibitions, which will be launched at the respective libraries' openings.

We welcome the public's contribution of photographs for SRPL and CMPL from now till 3 December 2010 and 20 January 2011 respectively. For more information, please call NLB's hotline: 6332 3255.
LINK (last accessed 16 Oct 2010)

National Library Board Singapore

Also reported at Channel NewsAsia (15 Oct 2010).

Friday, October 15, 2010

"what do u wish to see/ get/ Experience wrt the Public Library"

My tweet question in Apr 2010 (ok, ok, I'll be more prompt in posting next time): to the twitterverse: what do u wish to see/ get/ Experience wrt the Public Library within 5 & 10 yr's time? (or no PLs at all?)
Twitter / Ivan Chew: to the twitterverse: what ...

Verbatim responses:
@ramblinglib many many more couches and armchairs for reading, even between shelves

@ramblinglib the lib is a place of knowledge. Why not a place of knowledge exchange. The painting "The School of Athens" comes to mind.

@ramblinglib More interactive literature, e-books, more dialogue between public (reader) and library.

@ramblinglib people taking better care of books

@ramblinglib I would still like PLs.. Love the atmosphere and calm&quiet env.. I'd hope for more tech.. Audiobooks/Ebooks etc..

It's nice to get a certain feel of what library customers are thinking about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Singapore authors can get NLB to consider their books for acquisition

NOTE: This post is intended to share information as a matter of general interest, to the few readers of this blog. Plus, it's an easy reference for an increasingly FAQ directed to me. It is NOT an official response from the NLB. Please contact the NLB for confirmation/ clarifications for related enquiries. But for the record, I've verified the information with my colleagues (accurate as of this post) and it's the same information as what I reply back to my friends.

Here's a fairly typical question that some friends and contacts have asked of me:
... I have just published my book... how do I approach the NLB or NLB supplier to have my book made available through the National or Public Libraries?
My reply is that they should email NLB ( directly, and include some or all of the following information:
  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
  • Synopsis
  • Sample pages
  • Scanned covers
  • Website, blogs, Facebook entries etc. 
  • Where the work is available (distributor, bookstore, website)
The information will help the relevant department review and make the initial assessment. If found suitable as collections for the National or Public Libraries, then they would arrange with their vendors to buy the titles.

Recently, I had a conversation with my colleague, and I posed these two questions:
  • What if Singapore authors wished to send, at their own cost, physical copies to NLB?
  • What are the general considerations when NLB assesses the suitability of works in general?

I learned that the initial email information would suffice. Sending unsolicited physical items/ books for review was not desired and could pose problems for staff (I could appreciate why, e.g. what to do with the physical copies? Can't sell them or give them away outright).

My colleague gave the assurance that NLB does try to comprehensively collect Singapore authors' works, including self-published ones. In most cases, copies would be purchased and made available for reference or lending.

As for the criteria and considerations in assessing the suitability of works, like any library in the world, there is a mix of policies, guidelines, professional judgment and operational practicalities.

Foremost tends to be the needs and interests of the end customers. Other considerations include the availability of other existing titles in the collections, the available budget at that point in time, as well as space considerations.

In general, the following criteria are considered:
  • Authority and reputation of the author, publisher, producer or illustrator
  • The literary, creative, scholarly or technical merit of the work
  • Accuracy of information
  • Value of work, relative to its purchase cost
  • Whether the work or author has received literary prizes or recognitions
  • Reviews in other professional journals and popular media
  • Timeliness/ currency of the content
  • Current public interest; the relevance of the work to contemporary issues
  • Is the work likely to appeal to the general public or a very niche audience?
  • The quality of the illustrations
  • The durability of the binding and quality of the paper

BTW, all Singapore-published works -- print and non-print -- are required, by the NLB Act, need to be deposited in the Legal Deposit (see Except for works that are private or confidential in nature.

The Legal Deposit FAQ page has more details.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Read in September 2010

Some pretty good reads in Sept: Slam, Unwind (a YP book and a surprise-find, thanks to a colleague), Marsbound (Joe Haldeman always entertains me) and The island of lost souls.

The Island of Lost Souls
[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

Depression 2.0: Creative Strategies for Tough Economic Times (Process Self-reliance Series)
[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

Marsbound (A Marsbound Novel)
[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

The Year's Best Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga: From Blankets to Demo Blacksad
[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

Analog Science Fiction & Fact
[RoughNotes | NLBsearchplus]

Rambling with Silver: 30 Sept/ 1 Oct 2010

[Explanation: This post may not make a lot of contextual sense to you, if you're not David Silver or Ivan Chew :) But isn't meant to. It's an archive for my own personal reference and reflection. To record the memorable bits and pieces from my Skype conversation with David, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco. Us catching up on personal levels, talking about family, life, play and work... in just about that order. Oh, you're welcome to join the conversation, by leaving your comments.]

Ramblings with Silver

New shoots
It's really neat to see Siena grow up on Flickr :)

Tools Vs Applications
David doesn't use his iPad much (his university provided him with one, to let him experiment in the classroom setting). I remarked that the iPad may not be useful by itself. It's the applications that create the value.

Bringing Soul to Social Media
Shared with David that increasingly I'm turning down invitations to conduct workshops that merely involve creating blogs, podcasts, etc. I still do them occasionally, but I'm very conscious about 'bringing value' to those sessions. If it's just about "how to start an account", I don't think that will add a lot of value to the participants.

David shared a similar sentiment too, in terms of his teaching. He said something smart: "It's about bringing Soul to Social Media".

Intersection of Work and Play
We talked about work. And how it's important to strike a balance between work and personal life. But there's also that "in-between" area where work intersects with personal interests. I thought David's intersection was something like this. And I pointed out to him that he may not have realised that he's been teaching me, and making me more aware, about simplicity and sustainability.

Kevin Lim got mentioned in our conversation. David knows Kevin (through tweets, if I recall) and also they share a common connection through Alex Halavis, Kevin's former professor. [aside: I'm more and more convinced we're just Six-Degrees to Kevin Lim, lol]

David: "Libraries are wonderful at giving... but what happens when libraries "get" stuff?"

Hmm... that question has a broader implication in terms of the roles of libraries. It's about the library's philosophies, policies, and processes. In that order.

I pointed David to Gave him a rambly explanation of what it was about.

Post-chat Reflections (aka my own pretense at appearing philosophical):
  • Technology is merely a tool. Tools are neutral by themselves. 
  • Tools don't automatically bring people closer nor does it necessarily isolate people. It's entirely up to us on how we choose to apply the tool.
  • In that same sense, libraries (encompassing it's content, services and facilities) are tools and largely DIY. Therein lies both problems and opportunities. 
  • The more "DIY" libraries become, the library function become mere technical tools. Tools are easily replaceable. 
  • The opportunity is that the people who work in libraries are now at a crossroad to redefine that role.
  • The library, as an institution, is like the iPad platform. So what's the applications that we provide? 
  • My personal conviction is that the way to go is "Librarians as Trainers/ Educators/ Teachers". Libraries are the classrooms (some of the time).

User suggestions for iPhone Applications for Public Libraries

Back in mid Apr 2010, I tweeted: "if the public library had an iPhone app, what would you like the app to do for you?"
Twitter / Ivan Chew: "if the public library had an iPhone app..."

Also posted a similar question at my Facebook status page: "if the public library develops an iPhone app, what would you like the app to do for you? (or maybe you don't think you'd care for one?)"
Facebook | Ivan Chew - question for those who own iPhones re: library app

Here's the verbatim responses (thanks folks!)... btw, I've indicated in BOLD those suggestions that aren't available as current web or mobile services, or have never been tried before by NLB:

Via Twitter:
@ramblinglib check availability of the books u want @ libraries near u! n to be to reserve e book if its on loan.

@ramblinglib catalogue! addresses and opening hours! all linked :)

@ramblinglib I would use it to place holds on books and have them delivered to my local branch (if I had an iPhone)

@ramblinglib like bookjetty: amzn or google info, with library availability (location based) + social features PS want buUuk to build it? ;)

@ramblinglib augmented reality to tell me where the book I'm finding is.

@ramblinglib Borrow eBooks and audiobooks directly on my iPhone, and read and listen to them on my iPhone.

@ramblinglib book ratings and reviews too :)

@ramblinglib search for books available at different branches, manage account, make renewals!

Responses via Facebook:
# Chee Seng Leng: Remind me to return overdue books?? And show the fine incurred ??
18 April at 10:16

# Jessica Kingsbury Lucas: I love the one SPL came up with (warning, still in beta) through Boopsie. You can do anything on it that you can do in the catalog--even read the blogs.
18 April at 10:18

#Billy Tan: Location-awareness for nearby libraries
Event calendar
Shake for random book recommendation
Ability to identify book via camera (far-fetched, I know)
18 April at 10:28

#Muhd Firdaus: in-library gps system to help me locate the book without it being a treasure hunt
18 April at 10:40

# Jen Tan: outstanding fine, due date.
18 April at 11:24

#Felicia Chan: ASK Service (though I'll probably kick myself if this comes to pass) and the catalogue plus a bookshelf to indicate what I have read or borrowed in the past. But then again, I don't have an iphone.
18 April at 13:29

#Regina De Rozario:
Alerts: book recommendations and new arrivals by subjects I can choose.
Real-time webcam feeds of library spaces, like study lounges, reading rooms, reference areas, so we can roughly tell how busy it is and if all the tables and seats are taken up, if there are queues, etc before we make our way there. Helps to manage our expectations and time.
18 April at 13:34

#Hui Leng Lim: Online catalogue :).
18 April at 14:13

#Chon Hsing Ng: Just the usual reasons I access the NLB website - catalogue search, account services eg renewal, etc. Alerts is a must. But yes, I will definitely use the app.
18 April at 15:41

#Cindy Tan: Definately online category and reservation. ; )
18 April at 16:45

#Yeo Ching Hui: Though I am not iPhone user, but believe some book reviews would be cool, even better if NLB has apps for Blackberry.
Facebook | Ivan Chew - "To those who own iPhones..."

Feel free to add your suggestions as comments, below. Thanks!