COVID-19: NLB to extend loan period for books to 6 weeks from 3 weeks

National Library Board (NLB) logo at the National Library building, North Bridge Road. (FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — To reduce the need for frequent visits to the library, the National Library Board (NLB) will extend the loan period for books and other physical items from three weeks to six weeks as part of its safe distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The extension will apply for all loans made between 1 April and 30 June, the NLB said in a statement on Tuesday (31 March), adding that it will continue to monitor the situation and extend it to beyond 30 June, if necessary. 

If the library material is not reserved, patrons can renew it for another 42 days for free. 

The National Library Building, 26 public libraries and National Archives of Singapore will continue to remain open. The following precautionary measures have been implemented at all premises from now until 30 April: 

  • Temperature taking

  • Scanning of personal particulars to facilitate contact tracing

  • Reduced capacity and fewer seats at the libraries and archives

  • Safe distancing for patrons queuing and using library and archive services

  • The seats in the libraries and archives have been rearranged to be at least one meter apart and each table will have no more than 10 seats

  • Cancellation of all programmes, guided tours and events

  • Continued suspension of all senior-centric activities and programmes

  • Closure of the following:       

    • Oldham Theatre at National Archives of Singapore Building

    • Study Lounge, Level 5, National Library Building 

  • Exhibitions will remain open, with the entry of visitors adhering to social distancing measures.

In view of the increased demand for reservations lockers at the libraries, the NLB will shorten the pick-up period from the current seven days to five days.

To encourage reading and learning among people staying at home, the NLB will be rolling out two learning packages on its mobile app. Each learning package comprises books, eBooks, articles and bite-sized videos and podcasts. 

The first package, rolled out on Monday, revolves around instances of virus breakouts and pandemics in the past 100 years and covers topics such as vaccination and public health in Singapore.

The NLB has also launched a new blog site on 27 March, putting together stories to showcase its collections and services. It has also expanded its digital resources in the areas of children’s ebooks, Singapore publishers, evergreen classics, and e-newspapers and e-magazines.