National Library Board
Feature | NLB

One for the Memories

The National Library Board’s open culture led to the reinvention of its libraries and archives; it has also facilitated Andre Hui to effect positive change and excel in his role as an archivist.

Andre Hui identifies government records that the National Archives of Singapore would be interested in safekeeping and archiving in perpetuity, and advises government agencies on records management, in his role as Assistant Archivist (Records Management). He is a recipient of the NLB Undergraduate Scholarship, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Anthropology and Religion from Williams College.

Most of us have fond memories of the library. Apart from offering more information and literary entertainment than you can imagine, the library also provides a quiet respite that anybody would appreciate.

As you may already know, the National Library Board (NLB) runs our libraries and they have done a great job reinventing themselves constantly and keeping themselves relevant in the face of digital abundance through their LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025).

But did you know that the NLB also oversees the National Archives of Singapore (NAS)? NAS collects, preserves, and makes accessible records of national and historical significance to fulfil its mandate as the corporate memory of the Government and the social memory of our people. This fits nicely into one of NLB’s roles in LAB25, which is to be a Singapore Storyteller, where it aims to nurture a stronger appreciation and understanding of the Singapore experience through their collections. This includes NAS’s collection of official and private records, photographs and posters, speeches and press releases, audio-visual and sound recordings, maps and building plans, and oral history interviews of national and historical significance. Within this collection, you can also find the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s speeches during Singapore’s formative years, and the television programme of Singapore’s inaugural National Day Parade in August 1966.

Part of the team to collect, preserve and make accessible the archives is 26-year-old Andre Hui, who works as Assistant Archivist at NAS. He took on an NLB Undergraduate Scholarship and started his career with his sponsoring organisation recently after graduating from Williams College in the United States of America with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Anthropology and Religion.

Andre Hui

Andre Hui

Literary Attraction

“I had fond memories of the library growing up and I had experienced the ‘magic of the stacks’—a sense of wonder and curiosity at seeing so many books related to a particular topic, and the joy of being able to pick up any book and read it there and then,” Andre said, when asked why he wanted to pursue a career with NLB.

He did his research on the BrightSparks portal and realised that NLB’s scholarship does not restrict its recipients to specific fields of study.That sealed the deal for Andre and he accepted the scholarship readily when it was offered to him.

While studying in America, Andre appreciated the financial award of the NLB scholarship and the mental comfort of having secured employment upon graduation.

“Learning things quickly and being able to say what you mean and mean what you say is an evergreen skill”.

“Academically, I learnt a lot about how larger, more structural sociocultural forces come to be and have impacts on society, and that’s very important when thinking about NLB and how it positions itself to Singaporeans in a very fast-changing world,” he said.

Preserving Memories

Currently, Andre is applying his expertise and knowledge in his role as Assistant Archivist at NAS.

“I correspond daily with officers from all types of public agencies to jointly appraise which of their records have long-term preservation value and should hence be eventually transferred to NAS. I also advise them on best practices in record-keeping,” said Andre.

Andre told us of the reasons and importance of archiving at the national level.

“Firstly, government records are absolutely critical in helping to form the basis of an authentic social memory. Whether future Singaporeans can confidently say that they know certain things about the way the Government worked and how their decisions impacted communities and individuals depends on the government records preserved,” he explained.

Secondly, government records provide Singaporeans with a deeper insight of the nation’s progress to where it is today. Hence, good record-keeping is vital to ensure records remain accessible for the future.

“If you are a curious person who loves to help spark other people’s curiosity, NLB is a great place for you. If you are concerned about work-life harmony, NLB is pretty flexible on that front. If you love to read and want to spread the love of reading, I’m preaching to the choir!” Andre Hui

A Culture of Openness

Andre added that his work has been engaging and gratifying so far, but what really validated his decision to join NLB is the organisation’s innate culture to explore new horizons and willingness to be experimental.

“The openness to embracing the unknown, try new things even if they might fail, and be bold is something I feel is within NLB’s DNA. So I would say that anyone, scholar or not, has room to demonstrate their imaginativeness and creativity in the way they solve the problems of today and tomorrow,” enthused Andre.

Similarly, Andre mentioned that supervisors and senior management readily consider his ideas, are always open to change and are willing to do things differently.

He thinks NLB is a great place and hopes to see people who share the same ethos join him there.