NLB serves as a custodian of information resources in Singapore, positioning itself to be the champion of knowledge, aiming to build a nation of readers, and fostering an appetite for curiosity.
NLB scholars Rosxalynd Liu and Ong Kai Xuan give us a glimpse into their motivation for pursuing a career with NLB and offer us an insight into what you can expect from a rewarding journey with NLB.
NLB Overseas Postgraduate Scholar
Student, Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies
University College London (UCL), UK
What ignited your interest in applying for a scholarship with NLB?
Rosxalynd: I have always loved to be surrounded by books, and my parents used to have to drag me away from the library. After working with NLB for two years as an Associate Librarian with Jurong Regional Library, the Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship was a rare opportunity that I had to go for. It would be great to surround myself with the things I love most and give back to the organisation and community at the same time.
Kai Xuan: Similarly, I spent most of my childhood in local libraries, and it remained a big part of my life when I frequented them for study sessions with my friends. I stumbled upon the NLB Scholarship while doing research about scholarships and felt it would be a right fit because it was what I was passionate about.
Share with us how the opportunities you have received as an NLB scholar have been beneficial to your profession and personal development.
Rosxalynd: I have been given many opportunities to grow and mature since joining NLB. Being placed in large-scale national projects, such as the National Reading Day and Read! Fest, has been eye-opening for me. I was also at the frontline serving patrons and this has allowed me to engage with the community on a personal level. NLB also consistently identifies useful courses for personal development, embodying the spirit of life-long learning. Through these opportunities, I have picked up certain skills that I may not have had the chance to elsewhere.
Kai Xuan: The biggest opportunity was the chance to study at the University of Oxford, which would have otherwise not been possible. The intellectual rigour of the Oxford curriculum cannot be emulated anywhere else, and this style of teaching has given me a genuine interest in what I’m learning. The intellectual curiosity is helpful in self-improvement, which is deeply aligned with NLB’s value of learning.
Ong Kai Xuan
NLB Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
Student, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology,
Philosophy and Linguistics
Oxford University, UK
Elaborate more on your main roles and responsibilities when you were an Associate Librarian, Rosxalynd. How did they contribute to the organisation’s objectives?
Rosxalynd: I was primarily involved in the daily operations. This included maintenance of the collections we have and their relevant book displays, as well as curating the branch programmes with community partners. I was also involved in the setting up of PIXEL Labs @ NLB - a space for users to tinker and explore the wonders of Do-It-Yourself. But my favourite part would be the storytelling. Seeing children respond positively to the stories you tell is an amazing feeling. Though all these duties seem to be relatively small acts, but as the patron-facing frontline, the branch libraries are where initiatives culminate, and every little bit we do spreads the love for reading a little further.
Share with us more about the internship with NLB during your summer vacation, Kai Xuan. What were some valuable things you have learnt?
Kai Xuan: Over my summer vacation, I did an internship with the National Archives of Singapore, working largely on research into Singapore’s history, looking at old newspapers from the Second World War, trawling through oral history interviews, and learning about invaluable resources that are available to the public. I had to write a report on my experience as a researcher and my internship taught me how to consider the target consumer or audience’s point of view, and improvements to make as a provider.
What are some professional development opportunities one can look forward to at NLB?
Rosxalynd: Interdivisional and even inter-agency collaborations here are very common, and therefore one will often be working with new colleagues in NLB or in the Public Service. Through this, one will learn about working in a large organisation, which I feel is beneficial for young professionals. NLB also places a strong focus on learning and sends its staff on development courses to help them grow professionally and individually.
What qualities and values should you exemplify to stand out as an applicant?
Kai Xuan: A genuine passion for the work that NLB does is vital. While academic success is important, that is something that many Singaporean students have. Thus, it is more important to display interest in the work that NLB does, and to demonstrate that your values are in line with that of NLB’s such that you can help the organisation achieve its goals.