National Library Board
Feature | NLB

Unlock The Past, Build The Present, Create The Future

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities, and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning, and information literacy.

To inspire people to be Readers for Life, the National Library Board is continually developing new libraries, programmes, and services. Together with the community, NLB promotes a love for learning and a culture of reading. The 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.

Why did you decide to pursue a career with NLB?

Joy: Fresh out of university, I wanted to pursue my long-held interest in arts administration. At that time, a childhood friend who was working at the library@esplanade shared that there was an opportunity to project manage MusicSG ( sg/music), a digital music archive on Singapore music launched by NLB. I instinctively knew that this role was a perfect fit. I seized the opportunity in 2013 and have never looked back.

What motivated you to pursue the NLB Scholarship?

Winnie: I have always had a huge love for reading as I find that so much can be learnt outside of the classroom from reading. I wanted to cultivate this yearning for knowledge so as to inspire others to learn beyond what they are taught. NLB also offers many varied career opportunities, and I am keen to learn and work in different fields of interest.

Winnie Tan

Winnie Tan 
Pursuing Bachelor of Arts – Yale-NUS College

What are the development opportunities available to you?

Joy: It is a great privilege to have mentors to guide me in my career development in NLB. They are my pillars of support in more ways than one, and it has been a journey of both laughter and tears. Being in NLB also opened my mind in many unexpected ways. Not only did I benefit from diving into the many beautiful books around me, I had the best time doing research, using the rich trove of knowledge available in our comprehensive online digital databases.

Beyond knowledge, I also benefitted from the opportunities for work travel, attending and speaking at library conferences, and networking with industry stakeholders in ASEAN and beyond. It was great making friends across cultures and countries, and understanding the challenges their local libraries faced.

Winnie: I have been able to attend summer programmes at Yale University and in Berlin, and will be spending a semester abroad at Parsons Paris to pursue my interests in art and economics. Moreover, I will be doing an internship with NLB this summer, where I will be able to apply the skills I have learnt in university to my future workplace. NLB has also offered to help me look for internships with libraries all over the world, which is a fantastic opportunity to expand my worldview. One of the most exciting parts of being an NLB scholar has also been to work with various members of NLB to organise an exhibition featuring the work that my peers and I had designed at a university fashion show.

“It is a great privilege to have mentors to guide me in my career development in NLB. They are my pillars of support in more ways than one...” Joy

What were your roles and responsibilities before you started your Masters?

Joy: I started as an Associate Librarian in NLB doing research, writing, project management and counter services for four years before progressing to become a manager doing policy and planning work in the Strategic Planning Department. During that time, I was awarded an NLB in-service scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies and hence took the opportunity to go abroad to the UK to do my Masters in Digital Innovation and Analytics.

Joy Loh

Joy Loh 
Manager, Strategic Planning & Research
Pursuing Master of Science in Digital Innovation and Analytics
– Royal Holloway, University of London;

What aspects of library work do you look forward to doing after graduation?

Winnie: I look forward to contributing to the curation of books. Working at the libraries will help me understand the educational and leisure needs of people, and address these needs in the selection of books. I hope to enable people to find the books they need, and the books they love.

What do you think are important qualities for aspiring scholars to have?

Winnie: I think aspiring scholars should have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and pursue opportunities to learn outside of the box, and outside of the classroom. Curiosity is another important quality which serves as a lifelong motivation to improve oneself and one’s environment. It helps to develop other essential qualities such as passion, ambition, and a good work ethic.

“I think aspiring scholars should have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and pursue opportunities to learn outside of the box, and outside of the classroom.” Winnie

What is the working environment and culture at NLB like?

Joy: NLB has a helpful and friendly work culture with great work life balance. I particularly enjoy how colleagues treat me like family, giving me advice beyond work, in life and play. My colleagues have also brought new meaning to the expression “being married to work”— since working in NLB feels like I’ve gained an extended family.

Any advice for those considering the NLB Scholarship?

Joy: NLB is a fun place to work in, with many exciting job scopes to choose from. From promoting literacy across the age groups, to developing the content collection in the Public Libraries and National Library, to conducting exhibitions and event programmes for the public, there is something for everyone. NLB’s scholarship is a door for you to open and once you’ve walked into the NLB family, seize the day – work hard and smart and make the most out of the many opportunities presented to you.