July 21, 2005

The joy of libraries

Last evening I met a woman from Burma. She was in the university during the tumultuous years of late 1980s — regular strikes and harassment by the army was the norm those days. She somehow finished her course but there was nothing much to do in Burma. People tried best to get out of the country. She too moved to Singapore and worked as a domestic help. Like many people in Burma she loved reading. There are several second hand book stores in the cities in Burma that support the culture of reading. I have often found inexpensive rare old books in these such shops in Rangoon and Mandalay. But it is hard to find new books.

Bookshop in Rangoon

A bookshop in Rangoon

The woman was amazed when she discovered the the public library system (NLB) in Singapore. it was her library membership that gave her joy during those early years of struggle in her new home.

Bookmark made of brick from the library

I am also a big fan of the public library system in Singapore. I must have spent hundreds of hours at various libraries in the city. So, it was good to be at the Woodlands Regional Library last Saturday talking about online content. I was there with two prominent Singapore bloggers - Wendy and Mr. Brown introducing the various ways in which educators can tap on online content and encourage the students to produce online content. Thanks to Ivan and Roy from NLB for making this possible and thanks to the people who turned up for the discussions .

The library presented us with this bookmark that has a piece of brick from the original public library building in Singapore. The building was demolished recently.

Singapore Books

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