LAS Professional Service Award

The LAS Professional Service Award aims to recognise LAS members who demonstrate outstanding leadership and commitment to the library profession.

The Award

The award consists of an artwork with a citation worth up to $1000.00.

Criteria for the Award

  • An active LAS personal member working in the library profession with at least 5 years experience
  • Shows strong leadership in the profession
  • Has made significant contributions to the profession over a period of time.

Who is not Eligible for the Award

  • Current council members
  • Current LAS Award Panel members
  • Recipients of Honorary Membership

Council and LAS Award Panel are eligible to submit nominations for deliberation.

Submission Procedure

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

Selection Process

Nominations must be received by [to be announced].  The LAS Awards Panel, appointed by the LAS Council, shall evaluate nominations received.  The selection panel’s decision will be final. The award will be presented at a time selected by the Council.


Past Recipients

2017

Caroline Pang [Citation]

Caroline Pang exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship, collaboration and leadership. She has contributed significantly to the Singapore library landscape by setting up three special libraries; Tanoto Library at INSEAD, Library at the National Cancer Centre, and, the Medical Library at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), NTU. She is in the midst of setting up the Heritage Centre for LKCMedicine.

Caroline oversaw the planning, development and launch of the state-of-the-art Medical Library located on the top floor of the Clinical Sciences building, LKCMedicine. Under her leadership, the new library opened its doors in February 2017, operating on a 24×7 model with a variety of flexible spaces to meet the needs of the users. Caroline also set up an impressive collection of medical journals, textbooks and unique collections, such as the Medical Art Print Collection, Children’s Health Collection and Singapore (SG) Doctors. In April 2017, Caroline led a library information literacy project team that was awarded a full grant of $40,000 from NTU’s Teaching, Learning and Pedagogy Division.

She was recognized at the 2017 Nanyang Awards by NTU for teamwork with the NTU Museum and Student Life. She was involved in the two-year project that saw seven local artists and nineteen staff members, faculty, and students work together to create works of art which championed environmental sustainability and interdisciplinary collaboration. Caroline also worked with other departments at LKCMedicine to shape the policy on records management and archives. She was instrumental in the evaluation, selection and development of a registry and archive system for LKCMedicine.

Caroline is generous with her knowledge and contributes to the development of other libraries unreservedly and to making information available to the wider community. Caroline positioned the Medical Library to serve the information needs of the Health City Novena community. In addition, she set up the resource centre at the Geriatric Education and Research Institute (GERI) and provides unstinting advice to the National Health Group cluster on managing their e-resources and library services.

Caroline was also involved in the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) as a member of the Business Development Committee from 2007 to 2011. In those years, she demonstrated tenacity, collaboration and professionalism in working with the committee members to secure sponsorships for LAS.

For her indomitable spirit, inspiration and accomplishments, but more importantly, for her leadership and collaborative efforts within and outside the library profession, LAS honors Caroline Pang with the 2017 LAS Professional Service Award.

2016

Wong Kah Wei [Citation]

Wong Kah Wei has been working as a librarian since 1985 and started teaching information literacy in the late 1990s. She has demonstrated much dedication in imparting lifelong learning information seeking skills to all levels of students, including librarians.

She was appointed as the Head of Learning Services, NUS Libraries in 2006. As the Head, she introduced many innovative methods and initiatives in teaching and coaching students and librarians. Breaking through the traditional concept of librarians teaching information literacy on its own, Kah Wei sought buy-in from faculty members to integrate information literacy closely into the curriculum. Her rationale is to contextualize learning information literacy in academic learning so that students experience the relevance of information literacy skills in their everyday learning. She also ensured that librarians play an integral role in managing and lecturing in doctoral level courses in research methods.

By building bridges to increase collaboration with faculty, she created a gem of an initiative. In 2016, Kah Wei became the first embedded librarian at NUS. She took on the role of an Academic Advisor at Ridge View Residential College. She coached a class for the module on environmental sustainability. She also planned and implemented the instructional design for information literacy in the module’s syllabus. She adopted innovative pedagogies to support inductive and peer learning by applying flipped classroom and a framework from which students progressively learnt. She introduced the PESTLE framework which was adopted in all the tutorials for the modules. Her information literacy learning objectives were applied by all Academic Advisors of the module.

Kah Wei is the key trainer of information literacy at NUS Libraries. In training librarians, she not only shares her experiences but also uses these sharing and training workshops as test beds to apply new methods she discovers. In her training of librarians, Kah Wei takes a meta-approach to encourage librarians to bridge gaps and to transform minds and the way we do things.

Kah Wei contributed to the profession at LAS events like the inaugural Executive Library Management Program (ELMP) organized by LAS in 2014. She spoke at the seminar on information literacy in 2015 and at various runs of “A Day in the Life of…..” programme. Through unique insights and continual innovation, she has made remarkable strides and demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of information literacy in a career that has spanned more than three decades in Singapore.

For her persistence, dedication, and creativity in helping to significantly improve the role of the library and librarians in higher education in Singapore and promoting the importance of lifelong learning, LAS is delighted to honour Wong Kah Wei with the 2016 LAS Professional Service Award.

2015

Tay Chee Hsien, Aaron [Citation]

Aaron Tay is an accomplished academic librarian whose understanding of trends and technologies in the library and information science field is widely recognised in Singapore and abroad.

After earning an Accounting degree from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and working as an Auditor, Aaron switched careers and became a librarian. He received an MSc in Information Studies from NTU in 2007 and worked at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for eight years, rising rapidly to become a Senior Librarian and E-Service Facilitator. At NUS, Aaron worked on improving internal library processes, introducing digital initiatives to enhance the user experience and analysing large volumes of data to make recommendations on library strategy. In 2015, he joined SMU Libraries as the Library Analytics Manager and Research Librarian, Accountancy.

Aaron is a valued mentor known for being approachable, patient, thoughtful, considerate, collaborative and a true team player. In addition to advising colleagues at NUS and NTU, in 2013-2014 he helped to plan, evaluate, and serve as one of the first participants in the pilot staff development program called ‘A Day in the life of……’ with librarians from NTU, NUS and SMU.

Aaron is recognised for thought-provoking commentary on library science technology trends which appear in respected international publications such as JASIST and his very popular, award-winning blog for academic librarians. He is frequently invited to speak at conferences and seminars in Singapore and globally. He was a member of the Expert Panel for the NMC Horizon Report – Library Edition 2014 and 2015; which is a report that decision-makers use for planning purposes. In 2013, he was the keynote speaker at the National Workshop on Web-Scale Discovery Services: Transforming Access to Library Resources in India.

As a result of his accomplishments, Aaron has received many important awards including NUS Service Achiever award (2103), NUS Libraries Shining Star (2012), CONSAL’s Outstanding Librarian, Silver Award (2012), Salem Press, Best Academic Library Blog (2012), Library Journal Mover & Shaker award (2011), LAS Libraries for Tomorrow Seminar Best Speaker award (2011), and LAS Outstanding Newcomer Award (2011).

We are fortunate to have a librarian like Aaron Tay who in less than ten years has made impactful contributions to librarianship. In recognition of his dedication to the profession and willingness to share his knowledge, ideas and thoughts, Aaron Tay is awarded the 2015 LAS Professional Service Award.

2013

Idris B Rashid Khan Surattee [Citation]

Idris bin Rashid Khan Surattee is being honoured today with the 2013 LAS Professional Service Award which is designed to recognise LAS members who demonstrate outstanding leadership and commitment to the library profession.

In the course of a 30-year career, Idris has had a significant influence and left an indelible mark on Singapore librarianship in the public and private sector.

Idris began his career at the British Council Library before spending over 25 years at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) where he has risen to the rank of Head Librarian and Vice President of the Information Resource Centre, a position he has held for over a decade. He has spearheaded the effort to build the SPH Information Resource Centre into a cutting edge, world class news library and repository for many of Singapore’s most important historical documents and in the process demonstrated how libraries can offer value and thrive in a constantly changing and highly competitive corporate environment.

Idris’ management and leadership skills are highly acclaimed within SPH. He has been a fount of knowledge, respected role model and nurturing mentor who has constantly encouraged his staff to build confidence in their own abilities and to gain new skills so as to improve themselves to better serve their community. He has also followed his own advice to pursue lifelong learning by returning to University to earn his MSc (Information Studies) in 1997 and then go on to become a part-time Lecturer in the Division of Information Studies at Nanyang Technological University.

In addition to building and managing Singapore’s largest special library, Idris has also become one of the most respected and influential thought leaders in librarianship in Singapore. He has demonstrated a unique ability to highlight important, unconventional, occasionally provocative and often controversial issues while moderating differences and ensuring balance among those with opposing views. He has actively participated in guiding the discussion regarding where Singapore libraries should be headed while bringing meaning to librarianship in the larger context of society and how libraries and librarians can contribute to Singapore’s national goals and development.

Idris’ success in enhancing the quality of conversation about the appropriate direction of Singapore libraries is, in part, rooted in his active participation in the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) and other prominent organisations. In LAS, Idris served as a Council Member, Editor of the LAS Journal, Chairperson of the Publications Committee, Member, Joint LAS/PPM Organising Committee, Member PDS Board, and LAS Vice President. He has also been appointed to other high level boards including the National Library Board, where he played a key role in securing the rights to digitise, for public access, a collection of 1.8 million newspaper articles from the Straits Times spanning nearly two hundred years of Singapore’s social history as well as championing the National Library’s role in heritage preservation and promotion. His wisdom and insights have been tapped through his participation on the Boards of the National Archives and Street and Building Names as well as serving as a Director of the Malay Heritage Foundation.

It is our privilege and honour to present this year’s Professional Service Award to Idris bin Rashid Khan Surattee, who has not only built and managed one of Singapore’s most important and successful libraries but made a profound, impact on libraries, librarians and the community at large in Singapore. In keeping with his goal of promoting the education of librarians, Idris has requested that the monetary value associated with the Professional Service Award be donated to the LAS Scholarship fund.

2011

Ngian Lek Choh [Citation]

Ngian Lek Choh, who has been a superb and devoted librarian, leader and administrator since 1977, has quietly, yet astutely helped to transform libraries under the National Library Board (NLB) into a world-class public library system.

After having led both Public and National Library Groups, her vision, passion, and intellect combined with a pragmatic, efficient, yet exceptionally compassionate management style was recognised and she was eventually appointed the Deputy Chief Executive of the NLB. Along the way, she oversaw the library’s computerization effort, introduced groundbreaking technology, established conveniently located libraries, helped to create the goals for the new National Library, put in place cutting-edge digital services to facilitate access to library resources, enhanced programs for the public, applied best in class management practices and expanded international outreach initiatives.

Ngian’s involvement in the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) has also been a highlight of her career. She participated in or chaired key committees and ultimately served as the LAS President from 2007 to 2009. Some of her main accomplishments at LAS have included helping to develop Singapore’s information plan, creating competency standards, developing mentoring programs, attempting to attract new librarians to the profession, organizing conferences, fostering the Special Libraries Section, implementing the Professional Development Scheme and, perhaps most important, building critical bonds between the NLB and LAS.

On the international front, Ngian is currently Vice-Chair of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL) where she helps to promote cooperation and understanding among National Libraries and is a Member of the IFLA Section for National Libraries.

In recognition of an awe-inspiring track record of commitment, innovation and enhancement of services and service standards within the National Library System and LAS, it is a privilege to honour Ngian Lek Choh with the LAS 2011 Professional Service Award.

2010

Choy Fatt Cheong [Citation]

Choy Fatt Cheong has had a remarkable 25-year library career as an author, educator, entrepreneur, consultant, international spokesperson and leader. He is a true intellectual whose innovative thinking, passionate advocacy and unparalleled service to Singapore’s library community has led to superb accomplishments.

Choy has held academic library positions at the National University of Singapore, as Chief Librarian of the Singapore Command and Staff College and SAFTI Military Institute and is the current University Librarian of Nanyang Technological University (NTU). To ensure quality library education in Singapore, he established and served as Principal Lecturer and Head of Information Studies of the pioneering diploma course in information and library studies at Temasek Polytechnic and was an Adjunct Associate Professor at NTU’s Division of Information Studies.

Choy has selflessly served the Library Association of Singapore in a vast number of leadership positions including founding editor of the Singapore Libraries Bulletin, Treasurer, longest serving President and father of the continuing education concept, the Professional Development Scheme. He has also added his talent to many Boards including those of the NLB, Council of Chief Librarians, CONSAL, and the International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries (IATUL).

We proudly honour one of Singapore’s most devoted and inspiring library leaders, Choy Fatt Cheong, the recipient of the 2010 LAS Professional Service Award.

2009

Yap Swee Beng, Sylvia [Citation]

In an illustrious career, Sylvia Yap Swee Beng has been a dynamic, passionate and engaged leader, motivator, mentor, and spokesperson for Singapore’s librarians, libraries, and library users. As the University Librarian of the National University of Singapore since 2003, Sylvia expertly engineered the transformation and upgrading of much of the University’s library system. Her ardent and dedicated advocacy of the Library Association of Singapore (LAS), culminated in her election as President of LAS (2005-2007), during which time she oversaw LAS’ 50th anniversary, initiated annual conferences, created the Awards Panel and supported the implementation of the Professional Development Scheme (PDS), where she serves as Chairperson of the PDS Board. She accomplished all of this while keeping a careful eye on the financial health of the Association. Sylvia is a gem in the library community, garnering respect and praise from all who have had the privilege to know or work with her. It is with the utmost gratitude that we celebrate and honour Sylvia’s outstanding achievements and look forward to her future contributions to Singapore, the Library Association of Singapore and Singapore’s library community.

The award was presented on 16 October 2009 during the LAS Libraries for Tomorrow Seminar and replayed during the Annual Dinner that evening. 

2008 (Inaugural award year)

  • R Ramachandran [Citation]
  • Manijeh Namazie [Citation]
  • Lau Siew Keng [Citation]

These three exceptional library professionals received the inaugural award from President R.S. Nathan at the Istana Reception for Librarians and Information Professionals held on 9 May 2008.