LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award

The LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award aims to recognise the accomplishments of outstanding newcomers to the library profession upon the completion of the professional library qualification.

The Award

The Award consists of a S$200 cheque.

Selection Criteria

  • Personal membership in LAS
  • Professional library qualification
  • Professional library experience of 5 years or less
  • Examples of outstanding qualities include but not limited to, outstanding work performance, level of involvement in professional activities, development of notable innovations at the workplace, success in promoting the library profession 
  • Self-nominations will also be considered

Who is not eligible

  • Current LAS Council Members
  • Current LAS Award Panel Members

Selection Process

The LAS Awards Panel shall evaluate nominations received based on content and thoroughness of information provided. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

The LAS Awards Panel shall send the recommendations to the LAS Council for endorsement.


The Award will be presented at an annual LAS event.

Submission Procedure

Please complete and submit the application form along with the required supporting documents to

Nominations must be received by 15 Mar 2024 by 12 PM.

Past Recipients

Samantha has been with NTU Library since 2017, and was conferred with her Master’s degree in Information Studies in 2016. In NTU Library, she has worked in many different positions, and has consistently distinguished herself in the organisation.  She is currently appointed the Acting Lead of the Service Innovation and Excellence Team at NTU Library where she drives projects of innovation to create and enhance services to elevate user experience with the Library.

From 2018 to 2019, Samantha was part of the Advisory and Consultation (A&C) team as a liaison librarian, where she developed a workshop on LaTeX that has since become one of the most well attended Library standalone workshops conducted by NTU Library. Thereafter, from the end of 2019, Samantha spearheaded the development of Library service standards and the creation of a modular training programme for frontline staff and student assistants as a librarian in the User Services and Spaces (USS) team. This project was awarded the Innovator Award in the Students and Academic Services Department (SASD) of NTU’s Service Excellence Awards 2020-21. In addition to this award, Samantha also won an individual Silver Award for customer service and another Innovator Award as part of her contributions to the development and operationalization of a Centralised Enquiry Management System for the Library.

Samantha also joined NTU Library’s Emergency Preparedness team to plan and execute the Library’s response to COVID-19 in 2020, where she demonstrated a keen sense of responsibility and adaptability. She led the implementation of the Safe Management Measures for NTU’s seven libraries and worked closely with her colleagues to ensure prompt responses to changing regulations and clear communication with users on what to expect at the libraries. During this time, Samantha also stepped up to manage the Library’s Management System, and her expertise led to her appointment as the key personnel in supporting one of the Library’s Divisional Heads in a major multi-year University-wide project. Her exemplary work led her to being appointed as the Acting Lead in 2021 for a new team focused on improving processing, service delivery and innovation.

Beyond her team, Samantha has also been shown to be a team player not only in the Library, but also with other University departments, displaying communication skills and empathy appreciated by users and colleagues who work with her. In 2021, she worked quickly and independently with NTU’s IT department, NIE Library to respond to a university initiative about COVID-19. Additionally, Samantha, who was part of a small team looking into enhancing Library services for alumni, reached out and worked with the Library’s Communications and Outreach team to tie in an existing exhibition about 30 years of library technology in NTU Library with the University’s Alumni Homecoming event at the end of 2021. She committed time and effort to sieve through hundreds of photographs spanning 1980 to 2021 to compile, create, and narrate a themed video for the event. She and her team received an NTU Admin Extra Mile Award for their efforts.

Samantha also displays passion and enthusiasm for her colleagues, being a volunteer of the Library’s 2020-2022 Staff Engagement Committee where she works with other committee members to organise events and welfare for library colleagues. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, she helped to organise many successful events – online and in-person – including painting the staff lounge, garnering many compliments from her colleagues.

She is also an active contributor in LAS, having been a member of the LAS Membership Committee 2017-2019 and is currently serving in the LAS IT Committee 2021-2023, contributing to numerous activities in these committees for the professional community.

Samantha’s willingness to take on new challenges saw her rising to the occasion to lead projects requiring her to manage stakeholders across teams. This has led her to become the youngest Team Lead in NTU Library and is seen as an invaluable asset within her organisation. In recognition of these achievements, LAS is pleased to honour Samantha Seah with the 2021 Library Association of Singapore Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Sarah has been with Yale-NUS Libraries since 2015 and has demonstrated work abilities above her previous job scope and responsibilities. She was conferred her Master’s degree from NTU in 2021 and has been subsequently re-designated as Librarian. 

In her previous designation of Assistant Manager, she took on an extra role in Business Continuity Planning. Sarah collaborated closely with the Safe Management Officer as the Library’s representative and ensured social distancing measures and other procedures were adhered to during the COVID-19 pandemic. She took the initiative to ensure that personal protective equipment was provided for both library staff and Student Associates. Sarah also led the Social Media team to release several useful and informative clips on Safety Measures in the Library via Instagram. She worked towards ensuring that the Library’s operations were not affected by the COVID-19 lockdown by formulating and establishing proper guidelines for Circulation and Desk duties. Sarah also redesigned the current operational and circulation structures and processes to align with the College’s initiatives. She communicated this information via various mediums to ensure that the information was disseminated in a timely and efficient manner. She set clear deliverables and expectations for the library staff and student associates. 

Sarah is dependable and delivers her work punctually. She advocated for close collaboration between the library staff and student associates whom she mentored. An example of Sarah’s agility and nimbleness was to craft solutions related to the Library’s Circulation matters. The issue of borrowing, returning, and payment of fines during and after the COVID-19 lockdown was handled seamlessly based on her idea of deploying temporary book drops at the Residential College areas. This reduced the potential loss of library assets. As a result of her initiative, the IT department also replicated the same process and procedures for the safe return of IT support equipment. 

Sarah also mentored a Senior Executive in covering the library’s circulation work when one of the library staff resigned. Due to her guidance and close supervision, the Senior Executive was able to take on new responsibilities within a short period.

Sarah was also involved in the Library’s Stack Expansion and the Service Desk Redesign projects. She provided valuable inputs during the initial phases of both projects which enabled the Dean and College Librarian to make informed and timely decisions. Sarah’s ability to come up with alternative operational arrangements such as coordinating intra-library work with NUS Central Library due to the University’s zonal movement restrictions was also noteworthy as this allowed the academic community to borrow books from other NUS libraries from the YNC Library without visiting the NUS libraries.

Sarah is a valuable and essential part of the Library team. Her professionalism, agility, and nimbleness have ensured that the Library operations and safety management measures are done efficiently and productively, especially during these challenging times.

Sarah is also involved in the LAS Training and Development Committee. She took part in various programmes such as the LAS-NLB Professional Sharing session and contributed her ideas well and thoughtfully. She is a natural team-player; always dependable and reliable.

In recognition of these achievements, LAS is pleased to honour Sarah Ruslan with the 2020 Library Association of Singapore Outstanding Newcomer Award.

James joined NIE Library as an Assistant Librarian on 4 July 2016. He recently graduated from the MSc (Information Studies) programme at NTU in June 2020.

James has been significant in revamping the NIE Library portal. His contributions to the various aspects of the website redesign from layout and vendor liaison to usability testing has resulted in a streamlined and user-friendly search interface. Being an effective communicator and problem-solver has enabled him to successfully identify and resolve issues effectively. After the launch, James has proven to be an innovative member as he contributes greatly in terms of implementing new ideas pertaining to NIE Library’s social media platform.

A dynamic self-starter, James has initiated a project to overhaul the library’s existing online forms and convert all paper forms to online ones; an approach that has improved usability and efficiency and promoted an awareness for the environment. He has worked with stakeholders from varying levels to gain their buy-in resulting in the successful implementation of this initiative.

In addition, James has been very forthcoming in sharing his knowledge with his colleagues and peers. In his role as webmaster of the Library portal and administrator of the LibGuides platform, he has conducted training and sharing sessions to content creators and was even invited to share his expertise with faculty members during the English Language & Literature faculty general meeting.

James has successfully led cross-functional teams to organise campus outreach events such as the Library Fest in 2018 and 2019. He also organised two library retreats for all library staff that helped facilitate team bonding and camaraderie among staff.

Besides his functional role in the library, James is actively involved in campus wide initiatives. He was invited to contribute to a NIE Director Dialogue session to understand staff’s aspirations for a future ready NIE and is the library’s representative to the NIE Portal revamp projects.

James has been an active member of LAS since 2016 and has volunteered as a reviewer for papers submitted to the 2019 LAS Conference. He was also part of the team that presented the paper, “The Future-Ready NIE Library: Leveraging on AR and VR Technologies to Enhance User Engagement”.

The Library Association of Singapore is pleased to honour James Wong with the 2019 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Dong Danping obtained her Master of Science in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University in May 2015. She joined SMU Libraries in April 2016 as Librarian for Scholarly Communication. She was tasked with building the research data services, assisting with the SMU research information system, institutional repository, and citation metrics.

Danping has been playing a lead role in the project to implement a new research data repository for SMU since her arrival. She collaborated with the SMU Office of Research and Tech Transfer team in the development of the research data management policy. She investigated other universities’ research data management practices as well as journal policies for research data. She has created new training workshops for research data management targeted at students. She has been able to build her knowledge and experience and contribute to SMU’s new strategic initiative in a new area whilst helping advance new roles for librarians in Singapore.

Danping has been an active member of the Engagement Team of SMU which is a group of new professionals at SMU Libraries created with the aim of equipping them with library-wide experience, knowledge and vision in order to prepare them for future roles in the profession. As a member of the ET team, Danping participated in activities such as being a member of the planning team for the New Professionals seminar held in collaboration with LAS in August 2018.

Danping also came up with new workshop topics for library users, tried out gamification for information literacy by using new tools to make her workshops interactive, and experimented with a game to teach concepts in scholarly communication.

Before joining SMU, she worked at SUTD Library as Associate Librarian from August 2013 to March 2016. She led the implementation and use of LibGuides at SUTD and was involved in innovative projects such as smart RFID shelves and the Idea Room.

Danping has been an active member of LAS and a member of the Training & Development Committee since October 2017. She also volunteered for the 2016 Smart Libraries for Tomorrow Conference Organizing Committee.

The Library Association of Singapore is pleased to honour Dong Danping with the 2018 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Lim Hwee Ming joined SMU Libraries in June 2014 as a fresh graduate from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Masters in Library and Information Science programme. Over the past few years, she contributed to a wide range of activities and services at SMU Libraries, including cataloguing of library resources and supporting all aspects of electronic resource management. She played an active role in the implementation and roll-out of the new Library Management and Discovery System in SMU.

As part of her role in the First Year Experience team, Hwee Ming provided information literacy, orientation and user experience activities like LibQuest and the Program in Writing and Research course. Hwee Ming was actively involved in many library-wide projects like the Virtual Chat project and Learning Circle.

She became the Team Leader in the Information Access & Resources (IAR) section of SMU Libraries in 2016 where she oversees daily operations of electronic resources. She was instrumental in the merging of Course Support Services into IAR and helped to integrate Inter-Library Loan, Document Delivery and Reading List processes and services into the overall resource acquisition and delivery stream in IAR, making use of the knowledge learnt from Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. She led two teams to upskill and cross train the Library Specialists and to provide training and support to those new to electronic resource management. She presented a paper detailing the training for the library specialists in SMU Libraries at the Charleston Conference in 2016.

Hwee Ming has consistently taken on higher levels of responsibility, as she learnt new skills and acquired new knowledge, whether by working with the IAR team on e-resources activities or participating in library-wide pilots and projects. Hwee Ming has proven herself to be a valuable member of the Libraries and a good role model for new librarians, capable of delivering exemplary performance with her highly motivated, positive and results-focused attitude.

The Library Association of Singapore is pleased to honour Lim Hwee Ming with the 2017 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Shameem Nilofar Maideen was already a committed and outstanding library professional even before she earned her Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in the United States (2015). She also has the Master of Science in International Relations degree from Nanyang Technological University (2006) and the Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science) degree from the University of Madras in India (1994).

Shameem began her library career as a Project Manager at the National Library Board (NLB) handling digital infrastructure, knowledge management, social media and web based projects before joining the Singapore Management University (SMU) Libraries in 2012 as Manager of Library Technology and Innovation.

As soon as she joined SMU Libraries, Shameem chaired the Pyxis Committee where she coordinated all technology-related matters, including taking the lead on the complex review, selection, and migration to a new library management system. She also assumed responsibility for technology issues in the library space transformation project. Additionally, she is the Project Management Coordinator for SMU Libraries, where she combines her project management expertise and patient, methodical, and supportive attitude to mentor colleagues on project management tools and techniques. Shameem’s planning, technical and people management skills were also instrumental in the success of the recently opened Kwa Geok Choo Law Library.

Shameen has been an articulate advocate for the library profession and an ambassador for SMU Libraries at external meetings, seminars and conferences. Shameem was elected to the prestigious International Group of Ex Libris Users (IGLEU) Steering Committee in 2015 which is an important achievement for her. She also volunteered to participate and work with librarians from NUS and NTU to plan, collaborate, implement, evaluate, and present the results of the first ‘A Day in the Life of….’ pilot development programme for staff in 20132014.

Shameem’s enthusiasm, pro-active, constructive and positive attitude as well as her strong leadership, and technical skills have proven to be great assets for the library profession in Singapore. She has also become a highly respected member of the global library community in the area of technology and automation. In recognition of her outstanding accomplishments to date, LAS is delighted to honour Shameem Nilofar Maideen with the 2016 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Hedren Sum, a 2015 graduate of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with an MSc in Information Studies, is a subject librarian for the School of Art, Design and Media and is also in the New Media Group at NTU Libraries. Since becoming a librarian in October 2012, he has innovatively delivered library services and resources to support the teaching, learning and research needs in NTU.

Hedren worked closely with the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) to execute the ADM Portfolio initiative to create platforms for faculty and outstanding students to showcase their visual works. He has also explored and created new ways of using blogs and social media tools for faculty members in NTU to communicate their achievements and their research output.

Hedren fosters strong collaborative librarian-faculty relationships. He works closely with the faculty, often becoming a valuable partner by creating customised instructional workshops and assignments for classes. He also became a member of several exhibition curatorial and research teams, providing research support and building digital collections. In 2014, Hedren joined the faculty team that brought 15 students to Arizona in the United States as part of the coursework. His role included providing research assistance and documenting the study trip. The final output was a printed publication entitled “A Desert Playground”.

Hedren has been a member of the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) since 2013, copresented a poster and co-conducted a workshop at IFLA 2013. He also presented a poster at IATUL 2014 in Helsinki, Finland. He has actively discussed his library initiatives at many forums in Singapore. He presented to reference librarians on social media engagement at NLB and the “A Day in the Life” initiative and explained his role as a design librarian at several events organised by the Singapore Computer Society, where he is also an active member.

Because of his notable accomplishments in a short time in creatively helping to transform the role of the librarian at the NTU libraries, his efforts to reach a global audience, and his active community involvement, the Library Association of Singapore is pleased to honour Hedren Sum with the 2015 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Low Jiaxin has demonstrated outstanding performance, passion and commitment to her work and the profession since joining the Singapore Management University Libraries in 2012. She has repeatedly suggested innovative services and activities. She energetically supports the resource needs of faculty, students, and the entire SMU. She oversaw the setup of the Investment Studio, a space dedicated to using of high-end finance information resources, undertook a project on tablet use, updated and raised awareness of the Lifestyle Collection, and implemented a well-received activity for the Banned Books Week.

Jiaxin is a proponent of professional development. She takes courses, participates in projects and committees, and serves as a “buddy” to new colleagues. As Chair of the SMU Libraries’ Learning Circle for professional development, she stimulates increased staff participation. Jiaxin is involved in professional activities in Singapore and abroad, including LAS. During IFLA 2013, she proposed and implemented the very popular Demystifying Wikipedia seminar. She attended the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference in 2013 and was ACRL Member of the Week. She presented a poster at the European Conference on Information Literacy in October 2014.

In just two years as a professional librarian, Jiaxin has become a deserving recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Newcomer’s Award and we look forward to her continued support.

It gives me great pleasure to present the Library Association of Singapore’s Outstanding Newcomer Award. This Award aims to recognise the accomplishments of outstanding newcomers to the library profession and to encourage outstanding contributions throughout their career. This year’s award goes to V. Somasundram.

Soma who recently graduated with a Masters of Science in Information Studies from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), is an Assistant Librarian at NTU Libraries. He has passionately pursued his combined role of library promotion and art librarianship (media arts). He has utilised social media to interact with library users in order to enhance the library’s image and accessibility. He has also encouraged colleagues to apply social media tools in their efforts to promote the library. Additionally, he has co-authored an article on the application of social media in libraries.

In addition to tapping social media to enhance library services, Soma has initiated other means of promoting the library by organising events, exhibitions and mutually beneficial collaborative projects with various student body organizations, including an anti-seat hogging campaign in conjunction with the NTU Students’ Union which led to a significant drop in complaints about seat hogging.

As the subject librarian for Media Arts, Soma has planned and coordinated various talks in collaboration with academic staff” which significantly enhanced the library’s profile and awareness of the library’s role in university life.

Soma has also been deeply involved in various Library Association of Singapore activities. His outgoing and affable personality has allowed him to excel as an emcee at LAS, IATUL and NTU events. Plus, he chaired the Organizing Committee for the NTU Library Year-End Party in 2011.

Soma has demonstrated an unusual degree of initiative, creativity, dedication and success in his roles at NTU as well as in LAS. His level of involvement and passion at an early stage of his career is impressive and should serve as a role model for other young librarians. For his accomplishments in his career, thus far, and the potential he has demonstrated for an exceptional career by going significantly beyond expectations, we are pleased to award V. Somasundram with the 2013 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award.

Tay Chee Hsien, Aaron, Librarian at the National University of Singapore Libraries is the recipient of the 2011 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award. Aaron has proven to be an innovative tour de force in the few short years since he graduated from the Nanyang Technological University with a Masters in Information Science by bringing a vast array of social media tools to the library, revamping NUS’ Library Subject Guides and FAQs, and sharing his unique knowledge with colleagues and students inside and outside of NUS through training sessions, articles, book chapters and conferences in Singapore and overseas. He has also launched an award-winning and influential blog on tech trends and the application of technology and social media in libraries.

Aaron has been involved in the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) by presenting papers at LAS seminars and conferences and was voted Best Speaker at LAS Libraries for Tomorrow Seminar in 2011. He has received other awards including an NUS Service Award in 2010 and was the first person in Asia in 10 years to be named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2011 in the Tech leader category by the American Library Association.

We applaud Aaron’s amazing accomplishments and encourage him to maintain his enthusiasm, initiative, vision, and contributions to the library community.

Nurhazman Abdul Aziz is the recipient of the 2010 LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award in recognition of his early professional success as a Librarian at the Nanyang Technological University Library, his active involvement in the library profession by furthering social media initiatives and scholarship through presentations at the LAS Conferences in 2008 and 2009 and IFLA in 2010, as well as his noteworthy service to the LAS Business Librarian Group in developing the Online Community Portal. We commend his tireless efforts and look forward to many more years of contribution to the library community.