In the age of the Internet, navigating and making sense of information clutter is vital. To encourage Singaporeans to be savvy about the sources and content of the information they receive every day, in 2013, the National Library Board (NLB) started promoting information literacy (IL) through the nationwide S.U.R.E. campaign.
S.U.R.E. is the acronym for Source, Understand, Research and Evaluate, a simplified set of core IL skills that is easy for the man in the street to understand and apply. S.U.R.E.’s aim is to nurture a nation of discerning users of information, who are able to search, evaluate and use information for their own needs, in a balanced and responsible way.
The objectives and strategies of the S.U.R.E. campaign were first laid out in “S.U.R.E. campaign: Promoting information literacy awareness to Singaporeans” and presented at the 2014 IFLA World Library and Information Congress. In this two-part series, we provide updates on the campaign’s engagement and outreach efforts, beginning with its work with the public.
A Nationwide Campaign
The S.U.R.E. national initiative adopted a multi-prong advocacy approach to target Singaporeans, in particular youths aged 13 to 19 and adults aged 20 to 54, who are the most active online users. The campaign uses traditional and digital marketing strategies to reach its audience, whether in the online community, the “physical” community or general public, schools, and the workplace. The campaign has received strong support from organisations such as the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Singapore Workforce Development (WDA), and various institutions and schools.
Engaging the Online Community
The digital platform of the Internet offers new ways to reach out and connect with the online community. The S.U.R.E. campaign employs digital marketing strategies to target the growing online community and drive traffic to the S.U.R.E. Facebook page and website. These include search engine marketing (SEM), web banner and mobile advertising, and social media engagement.
To build and promote the S.U.R.E. message, the campaign uses relevant content related to IL in everyday life. For instance, it posts information about the following topics on social media:
- “Tell-tale Signs” – Tips on differentiating myths, untruths or half-truths from reality and facts.
- “Questionable Quotes” – Highlights of misleading quotes
- “Honest Headlines” – Highlights of clickbait headlines that are presented as truths
- “How I Got S.U.R.E.” – Features on S.U.R.E. users from all walks of life
As attention spans among teenagers and adults have shortened amid distracting streams of media  , the S.U.R.E. team curate content that is catchy, engaging and visually appealing to “grab eyeballs”.
Promoting S.U.R.E. to Young Adults Online
The S.U.R.E. team also runs online contests and leverages its reach on social media using several influencers popular among young adults. They have appeared as guest speakers at public events like the Super S.U.R.E. Shows and themed panel discussions on hot topics such as pop culture and new media. In addition, the event was posted on the guest speakers’ own social media platforms to propagate the S.U.R.E. message.
Promoting S.U.R.E. to the General Public (Physical Engagement)
To gain visibility with the general public, the National Library building, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, public libraries and public spaces feature educational wall posters, banners, shelf and tabletop sticker decals and bookmarks with S.U.R.E. messages.
This publicity is further amplified through print media and out-of-home advertisements that include bus wraps on SBS Transit buses. The bus ads complemented the online channels and reiterated the campaign’s key message, “Let’s be Super SURE!”, as well as the four S.U.R.E. steps.
In addition, local celebrities are engaged to increase the S.U.R.E. campaign’s visibility through anecdotes and personal S.U.R.E. experiences, and speak at public events like education talks, panel discussions and interviews. These popular personalities have also appeared on campaign collaterals, and include figures like bestselling author and scholar Professor Nassim Taleb.
Contributed by Sara Pek, Manager (Engagement), National Library
Be sure to check out Part 2 of our S.U.R.E. series next week, where the team shares how it reaches out to schools and professionals!
 Tan, G., Wan, W.P. & Teo, J. (2014). “SURE Campaign: Promoting Information Literacy Awareness to Singaporeans.” IFLA WLIC 2014, Lyon. Retrieved June 16, 2016 from: http://library.ifla.org/925/1/167-tan-en.pdf  Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. (2014). Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households and by Individuals for 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2016 from: https://www.ida.gov.sg/~/media/Files/Infocomm%20Landscape/Facts%20and%20Figures/SurveyReport/2014/2014%20HH%20public%20report%20final.pdf  Watson, L. (2015, May 15). Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones. Telegraph. Retrieved on June 16, 2016 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/  Purcell, A. et al (2012, November 1). How teens do research in the digital world. Pew Research Center. Retrieved June 16, 2016 from http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/11/01/how-teens-do-research-in-the-digital-world/