Yoke-Lan Wicks



Yoke-Lan Wicks was the deputy director of the National Library, Singapore, from 1970 to 1988, and thereafter its director from 1988 to 1992.1

Career in librarianship
A former student from Methodist Girls’ School, Wicks was the youngest of four children of a businessman and a housewife.2 Wicks started her career as a library assistant in the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) in 1955. In 1961, she joined the National Library as a reference librarian. She served in various committees and departments before becoming the library’s deputy director in 1970. Wicks was instrumental in helping to set up the Queenstown Library, the first full-time branch library in Singapore, in 1970.3

Following the retirement of director Hedwig Anuar in 1988, Wicks was appointed as director on 19 November 1988.4 She served in this capacity until she retired in 1992. During her stewardship as director, the National Library’s Network (Nalinet) was implemented in 1989. The library also hosted the Intra-ASEAN Cultural Programme from 11 to 21 September 1989.5

During her time as director, fines for overdue books were doubled to 10 cents while a reservation charge of $1.50 was implemented.6 In 1991, the National Library developed and distributed Babies Need Books reading kits to the maternity wards of eight hospitals in Singapore. These kits contained tips for mothers to teach their infants to read.7

Wicks was one of the three co-editors of the Directory of Libraries in Singapore, first published in 1969.8 She also wrote conference papers and journal articles on various library topics, and was actively involved in the Library Association of Singapore, serving as the editor of its journal, Singapore Libraries. She represented the National Library on many committees, including the National Archives and Records Committee and the UNESCO-led Mass Media Subcommission. 

Education9
1955: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English10, University of Malaya.

1958: Master of Science in Library Service, Columbia University, USA.

Career timeline
1955–57: Library assistant, University of Singapore.11
1961–69: Assistant librarian, National Library.12
May–July 1968: Acting director, National Library, when the director was seconded to the Persatuan Perpustakaan Malaysia (Librarians Association of Malaysia).13
1970–88: Deputy director, National Library.
19 Nov 1988–92: Director, National Library.

Other offices held
1966–68: Editor of Perpustakaan, a joint publication of Persatuan Perpustakaan Singapura (Library Association of Singapore) and Persatuan Perpustakaan Malaysia (Librarians Association of Malaysia).14
1970–72: Member, Subcommission on Mass Media, Singapore National Commission for UNESCO.15
1971/1972: Member, Preservation of Monuments Board.16

1970–74: Editor, Singapore Libraries.17
1969–75: Representative, National Archives and Records Committee.18
1976: Member, Department of Extra-Mural Studies Advisory Committee, University of Singapore; Member, Singapore National Commission for UNESCO.19
1989: Chairman, organising committee for Heritage Week 89.20

Publications
1966–68: Perpustakaan, a joint publication of Persatuan Perpustakaan Singapura (Library Association of Singapore) and Persatuan Perpustakaan Malaysia (Librarians Association of Malaysia).
1969:  Directory of Libraries in Singapore, Library Association of Singapore.21

1970–1974: Singapore Libraries, Library Association of Singapore.22
1975: Directory of Libraries in Singapore, Library Association of Singapore; “Staff Training in the National Library”, Singapore Libraries5, 41–45.23
1977: “Library Services in Singapore”, ASEAN journal2(4), 43–50.24
1991: “Information Services in the '90s. Supplement, country reports: Congress papers, 2–4 September 1991, Singapore”, Joint LAS/PPM Congress: Information Services in the '90s, Singapore.25

Papers presented
14–18 May 1979: “International Resource Sharing: Singapore”, International Conference of Directors of National Libraries on Resource Sharing in Asia and Oceania, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia.26
18–23 Aug 1980: “Official Publications in Singapore”, 46th IFLA General Conference, Manila, Philippines.27
16–20 Aug 1982: “The Development of SINGMARC and Information Retrieval in Singapore”, Workshop on ASEAN/Australia Resource Sharing in Information Retrieval and MARC, Sydney, Australia.28
18–23 Nov 1985: “SILAS: An Online Bibliographic Network in Singapore”, Third International Conference of Directors of National Libraries on Resource Sharing in Asia and Oceania, Colombo, Sri Lanka.29
16–18 Aug 1988: “Assessing RS activities in Singapore” (joint presentation with Lim Kek Hwa), PPM/LAS Joint Congress: Reassessing Resource Sharing: Meeting the Challenges of the Economic Recession, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.30
5–9 Dec 1989: “The Singapore National Library: Exchange and Co-operation at National and International Levels”, 4th International Conference of Directors of National Libraries of Asia and Oceania, Beijing, China.31
11–14 Jun 1990: “New Challenges in Library Services in the Developing World: Application of Computers in Singapore Libraries”, 8th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Jakarta, Indonesia.32
2–4 Sep 1991: “Libraries and Information Centres in Singapore – A Country Report (1988–1991)”, Joint LAS/PPM Congress: Information Services in the '90s, Singapore.33

Family34
Husband: Retired mathematics associate professor.
Two sons: Elder son was a fighter pilot with the Singapore Air Force; younger son was an ex-commando.



Author

Sitragandi Arunasalam



References
1. Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO); Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Singapore. (1993). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 46. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])

2. Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO); Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Farewell of surprises as library legend Hedwig Anuar retires. (1988, November 20). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. National Library Singapore. (1990). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 2. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])
6. Library to double fines next month. (1989, March 5). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Koh, J. T. (1991, August 22). Mums to get tips on teaching babies to read. The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Directory of libraries in Singapore. (1969). Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.00255957 DIR)
9. Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO); Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO)
12. Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO)
13. National Library Singapore. (1969). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])
14. National Library Singapore. (1967). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); National Library Singapore. (1968). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 18. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); National Library Singapore. (1969). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO); Persatuan Perpustakaan Malaysia. (1966-1968). Perpustakaan. Singapore: Persatuan Perpustakaan Singapura. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 MLG)
15. National Library Singapore. (1971). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); National Library Singapore. (1973). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])
16. Board formed to preserve monuments. (1972, April 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. National Library Singapore. (1971). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); National Library Singapore. (1973). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO); Singapore libraries. (1974). Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SL-[LIB]
18. Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO)
19. National Library Singapore. (1978). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 13. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR]); Singh, R. (Ed.). (1976). Who’s who in Singapore librarianship. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore, p. 32. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.922 WHO)
20. Singapore needs to preserve links with past: Dr Seet. (1989, October 31). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Lim, L. U. W., Wicks, Y. L., Neo, J. (1969). Directory of libraries in Singapore. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.00255957 DIR)
22. Singapore libraries. (1971–1998). Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RSING 020.5 SL-[LIB])
23. Lim, L. U. W., Wicks, Y. L., Neo, J. (1975). Directory of libraries in Singapore. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.00255957 DIR)
24. ASEAN journal. (1973–). Manila: Association of South East Asian Nations. (Call no.: RSING 959.005 AJ)
25. Information services in the 90's. Supplement, country reports: congress papers, 2–4 September 1991, Singapore. (1991). Singapore: The Library. (Call no.: RSING 021.095957 JOI-[LIB])
26. International Conference of Directors of National Libraries on Resource Sharing in Asia and Oceania, 14–18, May 1979, to be held in the National Library of Australia, Canberra: Papers and draft program. (1979). Canberra: National Library of Australia. (Call no.: RCLOS 021.64095 INT-[LIB])
27. 46th IFLA General Conference, Manila, August 18–23, 1980: [Papers]. (1980). Manila: IFLA. (Call no.: RSEA 020.621 IFL-[LIB])
28. National Library Singapore. (1981). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, Appendix 12, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])
29. Proceedings of the Third International Conference of Directors of National Libraries of Asia & Oceania, 18th–23rd November 1985. (1987). Colombo: Sri Lanka National Library Services Board. (Call no.: RSING 027.5095 INT-[LIB])
30. PPM/LAS Joint Congress 1988 [on] reassessing resource sharing: Meeting the challenges of the economic recession, 16–18 Ogos 1988, Hotel Merlin, Kuala Lumpur. (1988). Kuala Lumpur: PPM. (Call no.: RCLOS 021.6409595 PPM)
31. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of Directors of National Libraries. (1989). Beijing: National Library of China. (Call no.: RSING 027.5095 CON-[LIB])
32. New challenges in library services in the developing world: Proceedings of the Eighth Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, Jakarta, 11–14 June 1990. (1991). Jakarta: National Library of Indonesia & Indonesian Library Association. (Call no.: RSEA 021.0959 CON-[LIB])
33. Information services in the 90's: 1991 Joint LAS/PPM Congress, September 2–4, 1991, Singapore: Congress papers. (1991). Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 021.095957 JOI)
34. Chia, H. (1988, December 8). Reaching out to people through booksThe Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.




The information in this article is valid as at November 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Personalities
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Public libraries
Personalities>>Biographies
Library directors--Singapore