Sengkang Public Library



Sengkang Public Library is located in Sengkang.1 Situated within the Compass One shopping centre, it was the first library of the National Library Board (NLB) to adopt a do-it-yourself (DIY) concept.2 The library was officially opened on 30 November 2002 by Teo Chee Hean, then senior minister of education and second minister for defence.3

History
Sengkang Community Library (renamed Sengkang Public Library in 20084) was established to serve the residents of the new housing estates of Sengkang and Punggol.5 It was the first fully self-service library introduced by NLB. Manned by just one librarian, it aimed to promote self-help through automation and the removal of counter staff.6


DIY concept
With many automatic services already in place, NLB decided to implement the concept of a fully DIY library where patrons could carry out simple and straightforward transactions on their own. In addition to self-service borrowing stations and borrowers’ enquiry terminals which were already in operation at other NLB libraries, a Cybrarian kiosk and a membership registration kiosk were introduced to enhance automated services. The library was manned by just one librarian, and supported by volunteers who helped customers with their enquiries and organised storytelling sessions.7

Cybrarian service and other features
The Cybrarian kiosk allowed library patrons to interact with library staff through tele-conferencing. Patrons could speak via a telephone handset to a library staff stationed at another library. The so-called “cybrarian” (portmanteau of “cyber” and “librarian”) would then give assistance through the phone and demonstrate the use of the online catalogue or electronic databases through a monitor with a co-browsing facility.8

The membership registration kiosk allowed patrons to register for library membership on their own. The services of the borrowers’ enquiry terminals and the membership registration kiosk were later integrated into one machine called the e-Kiosk.9

Description
Sengkang Community Library had a floor area of 1,809 sq m.10 When it first opened, the library was divided into four zones: the Collection, Cybercafe, Transaction and Activity zones. The Collection Zone housed 120,000 books, magazines and newspapers for adults, youth and children.11 The multimedia stations and cafe were sited in the Cybercafe Zone and the self-service kiosks in the Transaction Zone, while programmes were held in the Activity Zone.12

Later developments
As the population in the Sengkang and Punggol estates grew, the Sengkang Public Library was converted into a full-service library that was manned by library staff.13 In 2013, the library underwent a facelift where the children’s section was redesigned as an interactive space to encourage play and exploration.14 In 18 October 2015, the library closed for renovations and is expected to reopen in 2017.15



Author

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/341/Default.aspx
2. Ong, S. F. (2002, October 5). Sengkang has the first DIY library. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (n.d.). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/LibInfo-SKCL.pdf
3. National Library Board. (2003). Annual report 2002/2003. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy02/highlights2.html
4. National Library Board. (n.d.). National Library Board annual report 2008/2009. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy08/
5. Ong, S. F. (2002, October 5). Sengkang has the first DIY library. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Sim, C. Y. (2002, November 24). Self-service library opens in Sengkang. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Seet, K. K. (2005). Knowledge, imagination, possibility: Singapore’s transformative library. Singapore: National Library Board, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE); Ong, S. F. (2002, October 5). Sengkang has the first DIY library. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Gwee, J., & Neo, B. S. (2013, March). A library for the people: A case study of the National Library Board. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/knowledge/pages/a-library-for-the-people-a-case-study-of-the-national-library-board.aspx; Wong, P., & Cha, V. (2008, December). Service innovation in public sector – A case study on the National Library Board. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from the UNPAN Document Management system website: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan046786.pdf; Sim, C. Y. (2002, November 24). Self-service library opens in Sengkang. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. National Library Board. (n.d.). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/LibInfo-SKCL.pdf; Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. (2002, November 30). Speech by RADM Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament for Pasir-Ris-Punggol GRC, at the official opening of Sengkang Community Library on Saturday 30 November 2002 at 2.15 pm. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
9. National Library Board. (n.d.). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/LibInfo-SKCL.pdf; Wong, P., & Cha, V. (2008, December). Service innovation in public sector – A case study on the National Library Board. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from the UNPAN Document Management system website: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan046786.pdf
10. National Library Board. (2014, September 1). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Sengkang%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
11. National Library Board. (n.d.). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/LibInfo-SKCL.pdf; Ong, S. F. (2002, October 5). Sengkang has the first DIY library. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. National Library Board. (n.d.). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/LibInfo-SKCL.pdf; Ong, S. F. (2002, October 5). Sengkang has the first DIY library. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Gwee, J., & Neo, B. S. (2013, March). A library for the people: A case study of the National Library Board. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/knowledge/pages/a-library-for-the-people-a-case-study-of-the-national-library-board.aspx
14. National Library Board. (2014, September 1). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Sengkang%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
15. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Sengkang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, July 20 from NLB website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/341/Default.aspx




The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Libraries
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Public Buildings>>Libraries
Public libraries--Singapore
Branch libraries—Singapore
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Public libraries
Science and technology>>Library and information science>>Library and information services