From 1 April, library users can borrow up to 16 physical items – books, music scores, magazines and audio-visual materials – from all the public libraries in Singapore, eight more than what they can borrow at the moment.
Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, announced the increase in Parliament on Monday (4 March) during the debate on her ministry’s budget.
Besides the 16-item quota for physical materials, users will still be able to borrow up to 16 e-books, bringing the total number of what they can check out to 32. The loan period for each item remains at 21 days.
Previously, only premium plus members of the National Library Board (NLB) – who pay an annual membership fee of $42 – are allowed to borrow up to 16 items. Most users fall under the basic membership tier, for which Singaporeans can register for free.
Loan quota doubled during school holidays
Sim said in Parliament that, for many years, the NLB has already doubled the loan quota of physical items to coincide with the school holidays.
“Each time we run this, we consistently get great feedback from our users, who take advantage of the promotion to read and borrow more,” she added. “I am pleased to announce that users need no longer wait for the school holidays.”
Sim also said that the NLB has been expanding its local content, and will grow its collection of localised children’s books in Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It is shortlisting titles that Singaporean children up to the age of 12 years can enjoy and relate to, for translation into vernacular languages.
Continuing to enhance libraries
She added that her ministry is committed to continuing the enhancement of libraries through better collections, more comfortable surroundings and more efficient customer service. The newer branches, as well as those which have been revamped, have generated 50 per cent higher loans and an increase of around 65 per cent in visitors compared with their non-revamped counterparts.
The NLB has 26 public libraries, of which six were revamped. The newest library is library@harbourfront, which opened in January at VivoCity mall.
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