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Fostering a spirit of discovery
LIBRARY and citizen engagement are critical elements in fostering a futuristic learning society. The National Library Board (NLB) plans to continue enhancing library spaces to provide seamless access, personalised experience and opportunities for learning and collaboration. For example, the promotion of self-discovery and learning are longer-term moves towards a self-service model in libraries.
"We will also be increasing our reach through digital channels, to make content on Singapore more discoverable and accessible," says an NLB spokesman. "Through our libraries of the future, NLB continues to look into ways to support self-directed learning and discovery."
The NLB, established in September 1995 as a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), manages the National Library, 26 public libraries and the National Archives. It promotes reading, learning and information literacy by providing a trusted, accessible and globally-connected library and information service.
By forging strategic partnerships to cultivate knowledge sharing, the libraries also encourage appreciation and awareness of Singapore's history through their wide range of programmes and collection on Singapore and regional content.
The spokesman says the "business excellence journey" has helped the organisation to thoroughly examine processes and benchmark achievements against that of top innovative organisations. In addition, it helps to obtain external perspectives of NLB's strengths and uncover areas for improvement.
To reach out to the grassroots in order to continually multiply the impact and reach of a learning society, "we embark on social innovation through citizen engagement; resource innovation by harnessing technology to optimise our resources and channel them to higher value tasks, as well as digital innovation to make Singapore content more discoverable and accessible".
The spokesman adds that NLB uses an "engagement model where we continuously work with the community to co-create library spaces, programmes and services".
Some of these have been implemented in libraries and projects such as library@orchard, library@chinatown, Pasir Ris Public Library and the Citizen Archivist Project.
"These projects have helped NLB to build a network of advocates, and with their help, we are able to continuously push out better services and content," he says. "We continuously leverage on technology to improve our library services through employing services such as the autosorter, mobile app and reservation lockers, to benefit both our patrons and staff."
The massive support for innovative efforts within the organisation starts with each staff encouraged to participate in innovation initiatives. One example is the Blackbox, a biennial competition for staff to turn their ideas into reality, through proof-of-concept projects.
"Our innovation is driven by the notion that everyone has a stake in innovation at NLB and that everyone in the organisation is involved when generating and implementing innovation," says the spokesman. "We have had very promising results from our past projects. This has increased our confidence in the promotion of an innovative culture at NLB."