Knowledge, Imagination, Possibility
Celebrating the theme of “Bringing Knowledge Alive, Sparking Imagination, and Creating Possibility”, the National Library Board (NLB) launched a commemorative book, Celebrating Libraries, on 25 October. The book is sold at The Library Shop, National Library Building, from 1 November, at $35.
The book is the result of a four-month long campaign in which more than 4,000 Singaporeans shared the impact the library has made on their lives. Stories collected were then short-listed before being compiled into an anthology that is the first of its kind in Singapore.
Celebrating Young Talents …
Guest-of-Honour, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Information, Communications and the Arts, was present to commemorate the book launch and present the Marshall Cavendish Librarian Award and prizes to the winners of a nationwide school competition and held in conjunction with the ‘Celebrating Libraries’ campaign. The contributors of the three best stories from each category won book prizes sponsored by Marshall Cavendish.
… and Librarians
Ms Azizah Sidek, Reference Specialist, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (LKCRL), was awarded the inaugural Marshall Cavendish Librarian Award. A librarian since 1977 she beamed, “I am indeed honoured to have won the award. Being a librarian is a truly rewarding and meaningful career. We have the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest knowledge management and information trends, serve our patrons, and ultimately contribute to the development of Asian content in Singapore.”
From Scaling Mountains…
Contributor Mr David Lim, a veteran mountaineer and Chief Motivation Officer of the Everest Motivation Team, declared, “People always hear of a book changing someone’s life but never actually met one. I am one of the minority of people who can actually say that a book changed their life. I thought it [my story] would be a good fit for this book.”
“I was at a book sale looking for my then favorite sport, rowing, when I came across a book on mountaineering. I thought it would make a quick read before being thrown away. But I read it and thought, I must do this!”
… To Training a Pet Rabbit!
Life-changing transformations aside, the book also showcased more modest personal experiences. Elizabeth Danielle Hardie, a student at Cedar Primary School, wrote, “I went to the National Library to borrow a book on how to make my pet rabbit’s life more interesting, fun and exciting. The book was actually for dogs! But since I am a girl who likes to try new things, I decided to try some of the methods on my rabbit. The library has helped make my relationship with my pet rabbit special!”
Motivating the Physically Disabled
For Mr Michael Kuan who has been physically disabled all his life, reference books from the library helped tremendously in his pursuit of a degree. Now a Business Development Manager at Checkmate Data Services, he remarked, “Some of the physically disabled are not very motivated in terms of education and I wanted to show them a way to get out of the rut.
“I wanted to share the thirst for knowledge and show that if they want to pursue knowledge, it doesn’t matter if they are in a wheelchair … they can do it!”
Closing the Loop
Asked about the objective of ‘Celebrating Libraries’, Dr Varaprasad said, “The impetus is to ‘close the loop’. As information providers, people ask you something and go away. What we are trying to do is tell people: Let us know how we helped you. Has it made a difference to you? How has it impacted you?” As a provider, unless you know that, your work doesn’t become as fulfilling. It is my philosophy that people need to be respected and appreciated to do a good job. But it is not enough for me to say ‘you’ve helped a lot of people’; it is for the people you’ve helped to say ‘you’ve helped me turn my life around’. It is much more effective when they say it.”