Our libraries also play a critical role in preparing Singaporeans for new opportunities and challenges in a global and knowledge-based economy.
Making a difference to NLB’s mission of making knowledge come alive, sparking imagination, and creating possibilities for all Singaporeans, NLB scholars can look forward to exciting professional development opportunities.
The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities, and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning, and history through its network of 26 public libraries, the National Library, and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation, and greater discovery of Singapore’s history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.
NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource, and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI). For more information, please visit www.nlb.gov.sg.
BrightSparks chats with NLB Scholars, Dawn Seow, an associate librarian with the Public Library Operations, and Rebecca Tan, an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Bachelor of Arts in Geography and English, Minor in Digital Humanities
– University of California, Los Angeles
What motivated you to take up the scholarship with NLB?
Dawn: Growing up visiting libraries, I felt that they were amazing and uniquely inclusive spaces. While promoting a culture of reading, the library has remained firmly rooted as a community organisation. It plays the role of a social leveller providing informational resources and opportunities to all. Sitting at the intersection of education and community development, NLB’s work greatly aligned with my interest.
Rebecca: I’ve always enjoyed reading and learning at the library. While in secondary school, I volunteered with NLB as a Friend of the Library to share the joy of reading with others. This was a meaningful experience and being passionate about education and reading, I realised that the NLB scholarship would be a great fit with my aspirations and interests.
What opportunities for professional development has the NLB scholarship given you?
Dawn: Being part of an organisation whose very mission is to champion learning and knowledge, there are numerous opportunities for growth, such as through being involved in various multi-functional projects and being attached to a mentor whom I am able to seek both professional and personal guidance from. In 2018, I had the privilege of attending the International Federation of Library Association World Congress held in Kuala Lumpur where I was able to meet like-minded professionals from around the world to learn how international libraries innovate to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
Rebecca: During my internship in 2018, I had the opportunity to partake in the work of different teams across NLB, in addition to the kidsREAD and Seniors teams where I was formally attached to. Learning more about the different kinds of work helped me to understand the organisation better and prepared me for my return to NLB. I also participated in department meetings and engagement sessions where I was able to actively contribute my ideas.
Tell us more about your internship with NLB during the summer vacation.
Rebecca: I was attached to the Content and Services Division within the Public Library Services Group, and my team was in charge of planning and executing the annual Read! Fest, which is a national reading festival that celebrates the joy of reading. My portfolio included conducting market research and co-facilitating programmes, developing social media content, and conducting the post-event review. I also had the privilege to experience our library branch operations first-hand.
During my internship, I attended a staff townhall where I learned more about the different competencies which staff were encouraged to develop as part of their professional growth. This furthered my belief that NLB is a growth and people-oriented organisation which provides good opportunities for professional development.
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours)
– National University of Singapore
What are the aspects of library-related work that you find interesting?
Dawn: I enjoy the opportunity to engage with children over books, and I find it amazing that I am playing a part in helping readers grow, thus impacting the next generation. It is also interesting to understand what children read and how it is often a reflection of the shifts in society’s views and priorities.
In your opinion, what can aspiring scholars expect from a career in NLB?
Dawn: In the library, work is varied and no two days are alike. We are constantly transforming to best address our community’s ever-changing informational needs. I believe that librarians will be there to champion these changes. It will be an endlessly exciting and fulfilling endeavour as the access to knowledge and the promotion of reading is such a valuable cause to be advocating for.
Rebecca: Aspiring scholars can expect a supportive and collaborative culture and a strong focus on professional development. NLB has been genuinely caring of its people and colleagues from across the organisation are very willing to share their experiences. As part of their professional development, scholars can expect to take on challenging assignments that expose them to the different facets of NLB’s work.