Author Archives: Editor

March 2015 Editorial Update

Hi all,

By now most of you would have heard the sad news about the demise of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.  As it has been declared that Singapore would be mourning Mr. Lee for one week, our LAS 60th Anniversary dinner originally scheduled for this Saturday (28th Mar 2015) has been postponed to April – please watch out for further announcements from the organizing committee.

SJLIM 2014 is released, we only have 2 articles – the publishing team would like to encourage members to be more active in sending in your articles to the SJLIM so that we can let our fellow librarians find out more about the experimentations and research that you have been doing at your libraries.

The publishing team would also like to appeal to members who would like to help out and improve our publications to come forth and volunteer your services. We are in need of a new Chair of Publications (Editor) and assistant Editor as Prof. Shaheen has indicated that he needed to focus on some other aspect of his professional work.  The publication team is truly indebted to Prof. Shaheen for his help in the past and wishes him all the best for his projects.  Thanks Prof!


March 2015 Editorial

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay, we are all busy indeed.  Near the end of this month, we will be having our Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) gala dinner for LAS members, for those of you who haven’t sign up here’s a link to the invite

Up-coming in May 2015 – we will be having our AGM, and yes, it’s election year again.  For publishing, we are looking for a new chair.  So if you are interested in trying your hands at Editorial and publishing works please let me know.

In June, the CONSAL XVI event will be held in Bangkok, so those of you interested might want to check out their website here:


The International Librarians Network: new round begins March 2015

ILN Logo

Are you interested in building your professional network and learning about librarianship around the world? Do you love the idea of professional travel but just don’t have the budget? The International Librarians Network (ILN) may be for you.

The ILN peer mentoring program is a facilitated program aimed at helping librarians develop international networks. Having connected over 1500 librarians from 103 countries, participating in the ILN brings wider professional awareness, an international perspective to your work, new ideas, and increased professional confidence.

The next round of this program will commence in March 2015. Applications are open from 15th January 2015 and close at midnight on Sunday 15th February 2015. Numbers are limited, so apply early to ensure your inclusion.

The ILN is open to anyone working in the library and information industry around the world. The program remains free and the only requirements to participate are an internet connection, fluent English skills, an hour each week and a desire to build professional connections and learn from colleagues.

If you’re interested you can find out more about the way the program works, or apply online.

The ILN is an independent program run by program coordinators in Australia, and supported by an international network of volunteers. The ILN program coordinators can be contacted at

Highlights of the IFLA 2014 Conference Experience in Limerick and Lyon

In mid-August 2014, I attended the IFLA 2014 Satellite Meeting on Information Literacy in Limerick, Ireland, and the IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2014 in Lyon, France. This trip was made possible due to the award of the LAS-WLIC Grant 2014. I am indeed thankful to LAS and honoured to be given the opportunity to undertake my first overseas conference experience. During the trip, I attended keynote addresses, presentations, interactive workshops, poster and trade exhibitions, library tours, cultural activities and social programmes and even a knowledge café!

Here I present the highlights of my trip.


The IFLA Satellite Meeting on Information Literacy hosted by Limerick Institute of Technology took place from 14 to 15 August 2014 in Limerick City, Republic of Ireland. The theme was: Facing the Future: Librarians and Information Literacy in a Changing Landscape.

The key takeaways from the various presentations are organised by topic.

Keynote Addresses

  • Understand good research behaviour in order to understand and teach about information literacy –study the real needs of students and faculty using ethnographic research methods
  • Play multiple roles to stay relevant – be embedded presences virtually and physically, reflective customer service practitioners, and learners who take control of our professional development.
  • Treat the library as a creative classroom — by employing the building blocks in the “Creative Classroom Research Model” as mentioned in the HORIZON Report for Higher Education 2014
  • Play is the new mode of learning, thinking and doing — include physical community learning spaces, game-focused initiatives that make the library a laboratory for exploration and creation zones

Teaching and Curriculum

  • Change how searching is taught - start searching from the Google and identify relevant citations, then move on to finding the full text of a relevant article and other similar articles by using controlled vocabulary and the unique features of a particular database.
  • Create a “take away” Learning Support Menu– organize the library’s learning solutions by learning need, level of advancement, whether it is generic or tailored, and type of learning object.
  • Create inquiry-based course-integrated assignmentsinclude activities that replicate researcher workflow, scaffolded steps and hands-on practices, and emphasize interoperability between different data resources.
  • Create and implement an information literacy (IL) curriculum mapprevent repetition of material and ensure thoroughness in teaching all the required information literacy (IL) standards.
  • Create a mobile-enabled blended learning packageconstruct content in small, free-standing units which allow greater flexibility in menu construction.

Classroom Assessment

  • Use classroom assessment techniques– getalmost immediate feedback about student learning, sharpen your teaching focus and demonstrate evidence of a lesson’s impact. Examples include the background knowledge probe and self-confidence survey, chain notes exercise, goal ranking-and-matching exercise, and transfer and apply exercise. Do check out the presenters’ forthcoming book to find out more: Bowles-Terry, M., & Kvenild, C. (2015). Classroom assessment techniques for librarians. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.
  • Ensure proper follow-up to improve students’ understanding – address common questions and issues that surface during and after the class through email, libguides, another tutorial, as well as in future classes.
  • Use web-based Google forms  in/out of class – identify the concepts that students struggle with and adjust the instruction to concentrate on those or generate student-supplied keywords for database examples.
  • Askperformative (simulated scenarios) and authentic (real-world contexts) questions – to find out if students are able to do what we teach them to do. Do check out the workshop materials for examples.

Engaging Users and Securing Support

  • Hold regular lunchtime training workshops - accommodate students “at point of need” and encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Integrate into credit-bearing, compulsory first-year coursesensure all students are exposed early to IL training and make IL a core student learning outcome.
  • Incorporate games to make teaching more enjoyable and learning more effective — they should be fun (entertaining), quick (no more than 10 minutes), simple (easy to prepare), easy (not complicated but make students think), and relevant (meet a learning objective).


“Types of Resources” game

This game consists of matching a particular resource with their definition, and what they are useful and not useful for. After going through the answers, librarians could then refer to the subject guides or libguides to encourage students to find out more about the different types of resources.


This year, the annual IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) was held in Lyon, France, from 16 to 22 August 2014. The congress theme was “Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge”.

Here are my learning points organised by topic:

Libraries Creating Content

How can libraries partner their community to create original content?

  • Create photo books quickly and cheaply through fastpencil.comlibrary users respond very positively to books that feature local people and themes

Pages of the photobook “Julie’s visit to the village garden”

  • Create a dynamic collection of handwritten books by studentsas part of an annual school writing project — to cultivate interest in writing and encourage the notion of giving back to the community.
  • Engage youth to create short videos for library outreach — give youth a chance to use their imagination and skills, and establishes a relationship built on trust.
  • Partner youth with people of different expertise to create professional art products — use the library as a platform for collaborative projects.
  • Organise a short story competition where the reward is being a published author — cultivate our local youth’s interest in writing and create an avenue for their stories to get published!
  • Organise a variety of workshops to create content utilising tablets and apps – reach out to reluctant library users and give something extra to those who read a lot.

Transmedia Storytelling

Is “transmedia storytelling” a way for children to bridge the gap between technology and reading?


Transmedia storytelling is defined as “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” This definition was coined by Dr. Henry Jenkins from the University of Southern California.


Using transmedia has two main benefits. Firstly, transmedia encourages emotional engagement by involving children in the format they are most excited by—comics, animation, online videos and games. Hence transmedia storytelling with their multimedia elements can lure reluctant and struggling students back into reading. Secondly, transmedia promotes self-directed learning. The variety of media can help learners engage content according to their strengths and learning style. Hence, it is recommended that schools and libraries incorporate more transmedia texts into the curriculum and collections, respectively.

Examples of Transmedia

Examples of transmedia products include “Shakespeare in Bits”, “Hidden Like Anne Frank”, “Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233” and most of Patrick Carman’s books such as The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, Trackers, and Dark Eden.



“Hidden Like Anne Frank” is available both as a book and website with animated stories

Co-creating Transmedia Products with Children

Consuming transmedia is not the only way to introduce young people to the practice. Children can create transmedia products too! An example of a co-created transmedia product is the interactive comic NEOMAD, which combines animation, live action film, music and voice overs.

Mobile Technology

How can we make use of mobile technology to enhance our library services?

  • Create personalised stories using OurStory™ app –give caregivers and their children handheld devices and teach them how to take pictures, record voices and write simple stories.
  • Create self-paced library audio tours using QR codes – give students a map with locations of the QR codes marked at certain stations.
  • Use augmented reality info retrieval on covers of books – use in thematic book displays to enhance the browsing experience linking users from a real (printed) world to a virtual one.

Using an app to reveal underlying text

A scan of Barack Obama’s book brings up a YouTube video discussing the illustrations & printing of the book

(Images taken from:

User Outreach and Feedback

What can libraries do to reach out to their users and/or get their feedback?

  • Actively roam the library as “hosts” to welcome, direct and assist guestswear easily recognizable green shirts to provide high visibility, conduct briefings before/after each shift and introduce selected library products to encourage targeted lending while boosting spontaneous lending.
  • Use visual data while collecting feedback from users – give users instructions to take photos of what they like or dislike about the library and form a visual gallery on collected feedback to identify which library services to improve.
  • Adopt a transparent, visual and interactive feedback system — easy for students to get heard and staff to respond quickly.

Feedback pool (Palautepallomeri©)

Knowledge Sharing Programmes

  • Create a national online portal of library event “recipes” — write a “food recipe” of your event and share it online for re-use or adoption by other libraries
  • Use library spaces for community engagement among faculty, students and librarians — hold 5-minute lightning talks on a theme or 3-minute speed meetings to share about your research interests.

Library Services for the Users with Special Needs

How can we give support to users with physical and learning disabilities?

  • Create a shared repository of accessible texteligible users with a unique “token” can access the portal and request material to be added.
  • Implement recommendations from IFLA Dyslexia Guidelines e.g. organise a frequent drop-in café with technology support, create the possibility of booking your own personal librarian and implement easy to read signs and labels.

Documenting History in Real Time

In the process of archiving images and videos, we often encounter problems such as lost metadata, inconsistent file formats and unknown copyright. These issues often arise because we start archiving the material retrospectively. What if we could collect and preserve the historical record in real time?

For archivists here are the recommendations:

  1. Scale the selection process by asking contributors to vote for the five best videos or photos in pre-defined categories
  2. Influence behavior of potential contributors–convince people of the need to preserve their media for posterity
  3. Be proactive and collaborate closely with those making or recording historical events
  4. Be involved early in the life-cycle of that record, long before the record enters the archive.

For people recording events, here are the recommendations

  1. Set the recording devices to automatically record date, time and location
  2. Capture metadata by embedding them within file names or orally reciting them in a script
  3. Post to video platforms that will not throw away their metadata
  4. Execute Creative Commons licenses.

For more advice, do check out the Activist Archivist website.

Knowledge Café

The session topic on Learning Challenges for Librarians and Library Managers was conducted in a Knowledge Café format.



Tables of attendees in discussions

Delegates were invited to join tables to discuss a topic. There were ten tables with ten topics of discussion. There was an introductory presentation by a fixed table facilitator, followed by a round-table discussion of 25 minutes. Meanwhile a fixed rapporteur would record notes and summarise previous points made in earlier discussions. In the subsequent rounds, delegates could move to a different table or remain. Finally, all rapporteurs went on stage to give a short summary on their topic.

Trade Exhibition

Representatives from libraries and vendors set up over 100 booths to showcase their latest product and service offerings. Two products are highlighted below:

The first was an innovative roll-on sticky “dot” tape for poster displays by Neschen (Germany) that can be easily removed by rubbing away the tiny dots.

The second vendor I found interesting was Studio Antti E (Finland) which displayed two of their products for testing. The Silence Phonebox is a tiny enclosed room that offers effective soundproofing and a quiet environment. The Silent Sound Center can block out much of the external noise and play music via your own tablet or smartphone within the space confinement.


The Silence Phonebox


The Silent Sound Center

Library Tour of the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon Part-Dieu (Lyon Municipal Library)

When I attended an off-site workshop at the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon Part-Dieu, part of the programme involved three tours of the library. In the first tour we explored a playful and inventive exhibition on Little Red Riding Hood which displayed a variety of print and digital versions of the story (via iPADs), and even incorporated a stage for puppets.


Main gallery of the exhibition


Puppet stage

The next tour involved exploring the Youth section of the library, including a brief overview of The World through Picture Books exhibition which displayed favourite local books by librarians all over the world. I felt a tinge of homesickness when I saw the books by Singaporean authors!


IT section with computers and iPADs


Asia section of The World through Picture Books exhibition

Finally, the last tour brought us around the library’s major facilities and sections such as the Art and Recreation (where pieces of art could be borrowed out with a higher tier membership fee), and the Society section (where shoulder-height shelves provided an unblocked view throughout the space).


Arts and Recreation Section of the Library


Society Section of the Library

Cultural Activities

Whenever attendees had free time during the conference, they could participate in various activities meant to introduce them to the cultural wealth of Lyon. Lyon is world renown for their silk goods and silk industry. Hence one of the cultural activities involved hands-on weaving and a live display of silkworms.


Trying my hand at weaving


A live display of the different stages of a silkworm’s growth


Attending the IFLA Satellite Meeting and Congress had not only exposed me to a wide variety of new cultures and sights but also increased my awareness of the current trends taking place internationally.

Being among passionate librarians from all over the world opened up an opportunity with each conversation to learn and exchange knowledge. Strangers easily became friends! Hence, I would definitely recommend the overseas IFLA conference experience to everyone, from budding librarians to experienced veterans in the field. You will not regret it!

Disclaimer: All views expressed herein are solely personal and does not reflect the views of my institution and/or LAS.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) Awards Committee for awarding me the WLIC-LAS 2014 grant to attend the conference.

By Stephanie Ow, NIE Library

Visit to NIE Library and ILFA Sharing Session

This event held on 9 December 2014 comprised of two parts, where 42 attendees were first brought on a tour around the newly renovated National Institute of Education (NIE) Library, followed by an informative sharing session from three of our LAS members whom had been partially sponsored for their trip to IFLA 2014.


This is the newly repurposed gallery space for library publicity. Selected titles were displayed in enclosed glass spaces beside touchscreen multimedia stations featuring publications by NIE staff for guests to peruse. This former study area has now been given a fresh look which articulates grandeur through the use of suitably toned lighting and carpeting, giving added appeal to showcased materials.



New tables have also been added to the furniture within the library, they provide users with the option to lock their laptops in the drawer for added security. Wire trunking have also been done to existing furniture (not pictured) to provide users with power point sockets to ensure that their devices are charged up.

The learning pods, former walkway and shelving spaces, now serve to provide the future teachers of our country with adequate facilities to practice micro-teaching.


Hand puppets are also a part of the collection in order to support Early Childhood Education teacher trainees. This perhaps brings a reminder to us as librarians that ‘resources’ should not solely be confined to print and electronic resources, but rather, be defined by their purpose and ability to meet users’ needs.




But perhaps, as librarians who grew up with a love for books – we are still unable to help ourselves from falling in love with Big Books. These books are utilised by kindergarten teacher trainees to support read aloud sessions for emergent readers.

Another highlight of the tour is the 3D printing facility at the Makerspace where teachers perform rapid prototyping of their design ideas and projects. Some of us were delighted to be offered a 3D printed “Happiness Pendant.”




After the tour of the library, Stephanie Ow (NIE Library), Jennifer Chor (SIT Library) and Carol Sim (NAFA Library) shared with us on their experiences of attending the IFLA Satellite Meetings and the World Library and Information Congress in August 2014. Apart from being treated to many visually appealing pictures of their tour and the libraries, the ladies shared with us key takeaways from the sessions.

Stephanie’s sharing on transmedia storytelling, which included a website to Hidden Like Anne Frank for readers of the book to experience the story in another dimension. Readers can now cover the route of their favourite character and experience Holocaust in a much ‘safer’ setting!


Jennifer’s sharing on ‘1001 libraries to see before you die’ was also interesting. This is an online initiative which aims to share examples of library spaces around the world with fellow colleagues. (You can also nominate your own libraries!)


Carol’s sharing on Art Libraries provided valuable food for thought for library professionals, especially her point on the merging of roles between publishers, distributors and librarians. Attendees were also treated to a feast for the eyes in the form of beautifully digitised art forms in some Art databases.


Reported by Lim Xiu Ru (Singapore Polytechnic Library)

Photos by Singapore Polytechnic librarians


An Enriching Visit to Taylor & Francis on a Halloween Day

As we make our way up the steps to the office of Taylor & Francis, one wonders what experience can be gleaned from a short visit to this anchor publication company. To our surprise, we were greeted by two ladies in black gowns offering tricks-or-treats in a Jack-o’-lantern basket, complete with sweets and centipedes (mock ones of course!). We were further treated to a surprise appearance of Doctor Plague in a publishing office!


This Doctor Plague was in fact none other than the Managing Director of Taylor & Francis Asia Pacific, Mr Barry Clarke. The witty ‘Doctor Plague’, accompanied by Marketing Director, Ms Brenda Foo, introduced the brief history and background of Taylor & Francis from the inception of Philosophical Magazine, dating back to 1798, to its global presence today.


One of the main focus of this visit, organised by the LAS Programmes & Social Committee, was to attend the White Paper presentation on “The Usage of Social Media in the Library” by Journals Sales Director, Mr Don Low. Don shared recent research findings that social media is undergoing a profound transformation in its role in academic libraries in recent years. Mr Low unveiled the overview of academic libraries’ current practices in the use of social media, its objectives, and effectiveness based on the research facilitated by Taylor & Francis. The comprehensive paper can be retrieved here.

This 2.5-hour afternoon visit coincided with the Halloween celebration on Friday, 31 October 2014. The 39 LAS members cast their vote on the best décor of a workspace at Taylor & Francis, and celebrated with Halloween-themed goodies, such as eyeball puff and coffin cookies.


The last item on the day’s agenda was a short excursion to the Taylor & Francis’s warehouse, led by ‘Doctor Plague’, Mr Clarke. A ‘fresh’ and couldn’t-be-more-familiar smell of enormous new books in the warehouse, a few block away from the office at Siemens Centre, fascinated the attendees. This enticed them to touch, feel and even smell the books, even though members were warned not to do so, for fear of misplacements. In this warehouse, Mr Clarke conveyed the processes behind-the-scenes on how books were collected and delivered.


All the fun had to come to a close at 4.30pm, leaving members with an enriched perspective on the promises of social media in their libraries and its potential to enhance readership.

Reported by Mingshanwang, Executive Officer (Music), NAFA Library

Photos by Cheng Eng Aun, Librarian, NUS Libraries

Lecture and night visit to Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (LKCRL) on 23rd October 2014

49 students undertaking the MSc in Information Studies at the School of Wee Kim Wee, Nanyang Technological University was brought on a visit to LKCRL by Professor Shaheen on 23 Oct 2014. Mr Patrick Pu, Chair of Membership Committee, Library Association of Singapore (LAS) also joined the session.

The students arrived promptly at 6.30pm at the POD, Level 16 of National Library Building as the library is strategically located in between Bugis and City Hall MRT. It was a lively gathering of students, a professor, an LAS member and library staff. This was the 9th networking and collaboration activity organised by General Reference Team of LKCRL since 2006.


Mr. Patrick Pu explained about LAS and its activities

The opening presentation was about LAS and its activities by Mr Patrick Pu. This was incorporated with the objective of encouraging the students to join the information professional association. This was followed by lecture by Professor Shaheen on Virtual Reference Services for 90 minutes and a 15-minutes break with tea, coffee and snack served, courtesy of LKCRL.

Prof. Shaheen's lecture on Virtual Reference Service

Prof. Shaheen’s lecture on Virtual Reference Service

Ms. Sharon Teng, Librarian of LKCRL, provided an introduction to Reference Work and Reference Services and that was followed by Mdm Hameedah M Ibrahim, Librarian of LKCRL, who explained on the collections (print and non-print) and services available at LKCRL. Students engaged themselves actively during the Q&A session and enjoyed the ambience and scenic view from the POD. They were busy taking photos from different angle at the POD for remembrance. Thereafter, students were up on their feet to get ready for a tour of the library.

Ms. Sharon Teng explained about the Reference Service at LKCRL

Ms. Sharon Teng explained about the Reference Service at LKCRL

2 LKCRL Librarians and 3 Library Officers led the tour of Library of Level 8 and Level 11. The students were divided in 2 groups. Key stops included the library promenade areas where exhibitions are held. A collection display on Virtual Reference was put up for their browsing and project assignment. The Librarians highlighted to the students on the Library Science collection, microfilms, microfiches, posters, maps, audio visual materials and ephemera. Some of the students were surprised, as this was their first time seeing such resources!

Mdm. Hameedah Ibrahim explained about collection formats and the layout at LKCRL

Mdm. Hameedah Ibrahim explained about collection formats and the layout at LKCRL

The 45 minutes tour ended at about 9.45pm at the Level 11, Reading Room area. Students were impressed with the facilities, collections and services offered at LKCRL. The feedback received was positive, with 51% rating the programme as “Excellent” and 49% “Good”. Almost all of the students commented that the programme had been useful and helped them to discover more resources (e-resources, databases and archives online) for their projects.

They remarked that the library tour had served as a great platform for sharing practitioners’ experiences and gaining insights, and they now had a much better understanding of the types of reference work done at the library. Most of them were very satisfied and found that it was a well-spent and memorable evening.

Reported by Hameedah M. Ibrahim, Librarian, LKCRL

LAS visit to NAFA Library on 26 September 2014


Ever wondered how it feels like to have the tunes from Bach or Strauss played live while you are browsing the books in the library? Or to study in the library accompanied by vinyl albums from the 60s or 70s? These are some of the features from the NAFA Library that LAS members experienced during the visit on 26 September 2014.


There was a total of 22 participants during LAS visit to NAFA Library on that day. The visit started with a brief talk by Ms Carol Sim, NAFA Library’s chief librarian, about the history of the library, the enhancements made to the collection, including e-access and the renovation that it had gone through recently. A particularly interesting story was how the librarians had to digitize 7000 vintage slides within a 2-month short timeline. All the more amazing was the fact that there were only 10 staff in the library, who also had to maintain the day-to-day library duties while undertaking the digitization project!


After the brief talk, we were led for a tour around the 2-storey library by Ms Esther Choong. Our first pit stop was the “learning@lib” room, which acts as a multimedia study room when not being booked for lectures. It was located near the entrance, which also hosted the new arrival materials displayed thematically. The reception desk next to the entrance facilitates borrowing of laptops for students’ use within the library.


On the first floor of the library, we found a series of rooms which held the prized book collections. The first room, Shi Xiang Tuo room or “Old Book room”, hosted books and materials which were more than 300 years old. Next to this room was the “Celebrity room,” which contained personal collections donated by famous artists and musicians in Singapore. The last room, the “Heritage room,” hosted materials pertaining to the historical information of NAFA and the library. These rooms made up NAFA Library’s special collections and they could also be used by researchers beyond NAFA.


Upon ascending the second floor, we were immediately greeted by the Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asia (SEA) Arts room. This room, which was one of its kind in Singapore, hosted more than 12,000 materials related to the arts scenes in Singapore and other Southeast Asia countries. Some of the materials inside the room were rare and highly sought after by researchers.


Aside from the SEA Arts room, the library also held the reference collection, a consultation room, discussion rooms, and an alfresco study area on the second floor. Some of the materials inside the reference collection were expensive and rare, thus, they could only be used inside the library. At the media collection, we also chanced upon a vinyl player and a gift collection of records which could be played anytime the room is opened.


Towards the end of the tour, we gathered again at the open stage area on the first floor for a vocal recital “treat”, courtesy of NAFA Vocal Department. The recital lasted for more than half an hour, and we were all awed by the vocal performances of the NAFA students. The LAS visit to NAFA Library was then closed with refreshments cum mingling session.


We thank, Ms Carol Sim, Ms Esther Choong, NAFA Library colleagues and students for hosting the LAS visit, and for making the visit, an enriching and delightful one for all of us.

Submitted by: Stephanie V. Budiman and Quek Tze Guek

Sharing on Patron Driven Acquisition

The sharing session on Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) Library organised by the Library Association of Singapore’s Programmes and Social Committee on 22 August 2014 was well-received.  Registration for the session exceeded the maximum limit of 15.

During the 3-hour session, three academic libraries, namely Temasek Polytechnic (TP) Library, Singapore Management University (SMU) Library and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Library, shared with the 25 participants their experiences regarding implementation of PDA in acquiring e-books and print books.


Ms Wong Choy Ming, Acquisitions Manager of TP Library shared that their Library implemented a 6-month pilot from Oct 2011 to Mar 2012, after learning from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Library in 2011.  A cross-section team which included librarians from Acquisitions section and Reference & Information Services section worked out the parameters for demand-driven settings and content profile in EBL. In their model, patrons are able to access EBL catalogue through EBL’s patron interface, or through the Library’s OPAC, as MARC records of titles on selected subjects are loaded to the OPAC monthly.


Choy Ming highlighted that although time and effort is required from staff to maintain MARC records, check content of titles against collection development policy and processing of Short Term Loan requests, they are outweighed by the benefits of using PDA in e-book acquisitions, such as immediacy of access of online content to patrons. Another benefit is that the usage of titles acquired is guaranteed as each title purchased is used at least twice. From the usage reports, Librarian is able to get information on reading preference of patrons and use the information for collection development. After 3 years of implementation, they have seen an increase in use of e-books.

A relatively new print PDA (PPDA) model was co-presented by Ms Tamera Hanker and Ms Nazimah Ram Nath from SMU Library. They shared that their objectives in adopting PPDA  were to encourage direct patron participation in collection development, to fill gaps in various subject collections, as well as to use a patron driven strategy to increase usage of print books.


Their PPDA initiative was rolled out in Apr 2014. Their Acquisitions team, together with the subject librarians, worked on vendor selection. The vendors include aggregators and publishers, who established collection profile and the PPDA processes.  The processes involved loading and de-duping MARC records from SMU library’s holdings, developing APIs to transfer order and information to vendors and budget allocation.

Despite some challenges like continuous streamlining of processes, monitoring of budget to ensure no over-spending and duplicating titles purchased, there are also benefits in adopting the PPDA, such as providing patrons with wider access to titles. It is also more cost-effective to provide access to a wide breadth of scholarly resources just in time.

NTU’s PDA experience presented by Ms Ng Chay Tuan includes platforms such as EBL, Ebsco, Ebrary,  JSTOR, MyiLibrary and Dawsonera.  MARC records of the major publishers like Elsevier, Cambridge, Sage, Wiley, and World Scientific are loaded to library catalogues for users to discover and submit requests.


Chay Tuan highlighted that it is important to get the profiling done correctly, which includes setting up subject coverage, publishers and publication year. Also, it is advisable to start with mediated PDA. Another important aspect is to train librarians in using the relevant apps for downloading digital content to mobile devices.

The advantages of using PDA are allowing patrons the access to larger collection, achieving high return-on-investment as each title is used at least one time, and providing immediate and seamless access to patrons.

As it is tedious to manage multiple PDA platforms and pricing models, NTU library is looking into reducing their PDA platforms.

The participants had a great time networking and sharing with each other during the session and at tea break.



Photos by: Jennifer Gan

Submitted by: Cher Sen Keuk (Singapore Polytechnic Library) 7  Sep 2014

LAS visit to Makerspace@Singapore Polytechnic

Visit to Makerspace@Singapore Polytechnic

The visit to the Makerspace at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) Library organised by the Library Association of Singapore’s Programmes and Social Committee on 26 June 2014 received overwhelming response and registration closed within a few days of the announcement.  There was much curiosity on what the first Makerspace in a Singapore library would be showcasing.


Mr Kamaludeen Mohammad Rafi, Deputy Director of SP Library shared with the 29 participants that SP Library is re-framing its role to make the library as one of the centres of learning by providing users with opportunities to access new technology, enabling them to explore and experiment, to discover their interests, imagine possibilities, and to learn holistically.  With the Poly’s strong emphasis for students to achieve mastery in their areas of training and the growing interest in hands-on and activity based learning, various pilot projects such as RoboPod and Tech lending were introduced in the library and this led to the setup of the Makerspace in October 2013.

Makerspace@SP is an evolving space. SP Library is actively learning from the local maker community as well as overseas makers on how to support the objectives of the institution and help to inspire learning by encouraging tinkering and making.  It is an exciting journey and definitely work in progress!



Participants were given the opportunity to try out 3 hands-on activities so as to understand and experience the spirit of learning by making.  Dr Yeo Wee Kiang, Maker Coach gave an introduction to 3D printing and 3D design session. Participants were thoroughly engrossed in the session and those who completed the workshop were rewarded with a Vibrobot to bring home. Participants also saw 3D scanning and printing in action and everyone was happy to have a personalised 3D printed name tag as a souvenir.


Raspberry Pi computer, LED lights, using the MaKey MaKey invention kit to turn bananas into piano keys, and applying Kinect technology to google earth travel were some of the other activities that participants were given opportunities to try out.



Cardboard sculpturing was a fun-filled activity for some participants and one group very successfully created the Marina Bay Sands resort structure within a very short time.  The guideline to this activity was to create a structure by interlocking H-shaped cardboard pieces without the use of glue, staple or string. A creative design and a strong structure were the requirements given.

The participants enjoyed the visit to SP and had a great time interacting, networking and sharing with each other during the workshop and at tea break.  It was a time of making and learning together!

Here are some comments and feedback from the participants:

“I am totally impressed with the Makerspace.  I enjoyed the hands-on workshops.”  - Catherine Tan, NTU Library

“It was an interesting, eye and mind-opening experience.”  – Dexterine Ho, Inno-hands on

“For me the visit here was inspiring and provided new ideas for use of library spaces.  I have a chance to network with other library colleagues.  I enjoyed the cardboard-making, trying out the kinect travelling on google earth and the DIY electronics session.” - Wong Oi May, NTU Library

“It’s innovative to see how recycled materials are used.  Innovations do not necessarily have to be high-tech. It is interesting to know what a Makerspace is. I had fun with the group in making the MBS structure using cupboard materials.”  - Cecilia James, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

“Your Makerspace is a good example of making libraries relevant to their institutions.  It provides new opportunities for users to learn and explore. We should be proud of our own model of makerspace in Singapore.”  - Yit Chin Chuan, NLB

“It was an enlightening and educational visit for me.  Enabling serious play in the library is paving the way for the library of the future.”  - Max Ng, NLB

“I learned so much from this visit.”  - Goh Su Nee, NTU Library



Submitted by Fang Sin Guek

LAS, Chairperson (Programmes & Social Committee)

17 August 2014