Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Literacy vs Education: What role is the library supposed to play?

What is the role of libraries in today's world? It used to be very straight forward. To promote reading. Get people to come in to the library to build up their reading skills. Hence, ensuring that people are literate.

lit·er·a·cy [ líttərəssee, líttrəssee ]

1. ability to read and write: the ability to read and write to a competent level
2. skill in particular subject: knowledge of or training in a particular subject or area of activity.

Singapore's got a literacy rate of 94.2% for residents over 15 yrs old. Should the library continue on its literacy campaign or evolve? Given that our National Library's vision and mission is one that expands the learning capacity of the nation so as to enhance national competitiveness and to promote a gracious society as well as to help in creating enlightened individuals who can compete confidently in all sectors. Is knowing how to read enough for that?

Seems that it is not. Is the library becoming an education institution? Can it become a learning centre?

ed·u·ca·tion [ èjjə káysh’n ] (plural ed·u·ca·tions)


1. educating: the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution
2. knowledge: the knowledge or abilities gained through being educated
3. instruction: training and instruction in a particular subject, for example, health matters

Not only the library is promoting reading ti its users, it now has a additional role of teaching and ensuring users how to go about searching and gathering information. Would this fulfill the mission of the library? And that's not enough. Seems that librarians must also teach users on how to be anaylse and critic the information was collected. Know where and how the information is from, how it can be manipulated, what kind of message it is converying, is there 2 sides to a story...etc?

Effectively, it's teaching people how to think. It is a big job to undertake. Would libraries have to take up this role in order to support NLB's mission and vision? What kind of commitment would be need from the library users as well as the librarians?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Five day work week??

In the News today: PM Lee's National Day's Rally Speech brought much joy to civil servants and married couples with/planning to have kids.
- 12 weeks' maternity leave,
- Those with children under 12 pay a lower maid levy
- Centre-based infant-care subsidy of $400 a month
- Two days' childcare leave a year for mums and dads with children under seven
- Baby Bonus extended to first and fourth babies (now for second and third only)
- More generous tax benefits

- Equal medical benefits for men and women civil servants
- Civil servants to have five-day work week, including schools and army camps.

Hrrmpp..should/can I be happy about the announcement? Can't say that I'm happy about it. Presently, i'm supposed to be working a alternate saturday off week but i'm putting in way more hours without any overtime pay at all (I'm considered executive so no OT pay). I'm currently working a 14 day work week, including saturadays and sundays with no off days during the week. I have clocked over 30hours to be claimed as time off. (HR says that one cannot have in excess of over 4 hours at any time.. har har.. what a joke!) However, when do I get the time off? With the nature of serving in a public community library, it's easy to say something but being able to implement, is another totally different matter. Let's see if I'll be getting a five day work week anytime soon.. or just be accumulating more claim hours along the way. We'll see!!!

What about benefits for singles? Will there for tax reliefs for things for singles? In search for more babies for the nation... have the singles been penalised? Sometimes it's not a choice... just lack of opportunities to meet the right one? Smaller social circles, less time for interaction with people outside of work and school? Reminds me of a Sex in the City episode I saw once. Carrie was invited to a baby shower. She raises a question. When people grow into adulthood. Seems that all you do is celebrate couplehood, from engagemets to hen parties, weddings, and births. When does anyone celebrate singlehood? If you are single, after graduation, all you have to look forward to are birthdays and christmas... there's nothing that celebrate singledom. hrrmmpp.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Do you make a inventory of all your books?

Am in the process of moving house and hence am packing up all my stuff in boxes. Then I started wondering... Do librarians take stock of their own books and collection? Of course, I do assume that book lovers will buy and keep their own books. I have quite a lot of books and I don't arrange them at all and my books are always in a mess.. and what's worse is that cos of my many many interests.. I collect all sorts of books, from personalities to photography, sports, novels, comics and children's books.

How do you go about sorting out everything? I'm constantly constraint by space... I stack my books everywhere, next to the bed, under the bed, on the floor, in the tv console... on my window still.. on the book shelves..har har.. guess maybe i'm not the only one out there. (keeping my fingers crossed)