Speech by RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew at the First Anniversary Ceremony of Molly, the Mobile Library
SPEECH BY RADM (NS) LUI TUCK YEW, ACTING MINISTER FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS AT THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY OF MOLLY, THE MOBILE LIBRARY ON THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2009, 11.20 AM, AT THE PLAZA, NATIONAL LIBRARY BUILDING
Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive of NLB,
Teachers and staff,
Good morning.I am delighted to join all of you in celebration of the first anniversary of Molly, the mobile library.Today's anniversary marks a high point in the sustained efforts by the National Library Board to engage and empower our people through the sharing of knowledge.
2. The mobile library is not a new idea. Its humble service started in the 1960s to ease the increasing demands on Singapore's limited library system. This service was a means to bring library materials to a wider reach of Singaporeans who lived in the rural areas. The mobile library service retired when more library branches were constructed. We now have easy access to 22 public libraries in Singapore that service almost 2 million registered library members islandwide.
Reaching out for an inclusive society
3. While our public libraries today are defined by their accessibility and rich collection of resources, there are certain segments of our community who may not have the chance to visit these libraries, due to various reasons such as immobility through illness or disabilities.NLB has proactively reached out to these groups by bringing Molly to their doorsteps because we believe that no one should be left behind. I am pleased to note that in her year-long pilot run, Molly has been able to reach out to 58,000 people and clocked in visits of about 20 organisations monthly.Molly's visitors range from 2-year-old toddlers, to our elderly citizens of 70.This shows that the thirst for knowledge never slows down, even with age.
4. Molly is a good example of how NLB strives to expand its services as we endeavour to be a more inclusive society. Students from special education schools, the underpriviledged in homes and orphanages, and users of our community centers are the beneficiaries of Molly's services.Every visit features a customised collection of 3000 books, tailored to the user profile of each group. For special education schools like Woodlands Garden School and Grace Orchard School, Molly spends an average of 6 to 7 hours on-site, allowing the students to browse through the book collection on board the bus, carry out real-time borrowing and returning using the Radio-frequency identification (RFID) terminals as well as pay their library fees.
Going the extra mile to develop learners
5. Literacy is one of the most important life skills that we can share with each other.Through Molly, we are able to take the initiative to promote knowledge, skills and imagination to these students.I would like to thank all participating schools for their efforts in collaborating with NLB to develop opportunities for continuous learning.I am heartened to note that these special school students have shown an increased interest in reading, and take pride in being self-reliant users who are able to make full use of the library services available via Molly.
6. Ms Pam Sng, senior teacher of Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) School, has shared that her students enjoy Molly's visits as they get the opportunity to practise the necessary procedures required to borrow books.I would also like to acknowledge our committed librarians who accompany Molly on her visits to each organisation.It is with their dedication, that storytelling sessions and other activity-based workshops are carried out smoothly, to help enrich the lives of our underserved.
Creating a harmonious and gracious society
7. Knowledge is discovery, and we should continue to invest in its promotion.But we cannot do this alone.Combined and cooperative efforts from both the public and private sectors are necessary and these can be seen in NLB's community initiatives like 'Project Deliver Me' and 'kidsREAD', both projects that Dr. Varaprasad had mentioned earlier. I would like to thank our partners and urge more organisations to join in support of such a worthy cause.
8. By taking the benefits and joys of the library beyond physical walls, NLB has done well in promoting continuous learning.I believe that NLB will be able to meet the needs of the underpriviledged in our pursuit of developing a knowledgeable and gracious society.
9. On this note, I would like to congratulate the National Library Board, and your stakeholders, on the first anniversary of Molly, and wish you all every success in the years ahead. Thank you.