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Andrea Ong
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Singapore

NLB to get award for engaging library users

The Straits Times | Andrea Ong | Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The usual library rules do not apply at some corners of the Jurong Regional Library.

In a cosy new section designed for children aged six and below, parents can read aloud to their kids, who can bring stories to life by dressing up in costumes and playing with puppets as well as soft toys based on storybook characters.

In the Verging All Teens zone, young people can hang out over snacks and even jam with their bands and on a deejay console.

These are some examples of how the National Library Board (NLB) has designed spaces and services to cater to different groups. Doing so requires the agency to communicate constantly with the public and take their feedback on board.

The NLB's work will be recognised with its first Best Practice Award - in the stakeholder communications and engagement category - at the Excellence in Public Service Awards ceremony on Friday.

Fifteen other agencies will also get the award, which has six categories.

Public engagement has allowed the NLB to gain the goodwill of library users, said Ms Jasna Dhansukhlal, an assistant director of library services and management.

"They have the trust in NLB to know that we will listen to what they tell us and we will try our best to meet their needs," she said. The library board also holds quarterly meet-the-customer sessions with library users to gather feedback.

Before Sembawang Public Library closed earlier this year, staff held sessions to let users know about the temporary closure before it was formally announced, said Ms Dhansukhlal.

The public was also consulted on the design of the new library@orchard, which is due to open later this year.

The NLB also works closely with a large pool of volunteers on initiatives like the new library at Chinatown, which is run by volunteers.

andreao@sph.com.sg

This article was published on May 19 in The Straits Times.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

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