Director of NLB Singapore: Librarians Should Change Their Mindset
Batam, Kep. Riau -- The millennials make up about 25% of world population. In Singapore, they make up smaller portion of NLB visitors. First of all, it is important to understand who these people are to create programmes suitable for them. “The millennials are digitally savvy and the largest consumer generation. They are known to be quick-thinking people, they dislike stagnation, desire immediate satisfaction, enjoy teamwork, and thrive on change. For these visitors, NLB has provided service specially dedicated for them starting from babies to teens (0-17 years old),” said Tan Huism, Director of NLB Singapore as she became one of speakers at IPI Central Work Meeting XXII dan National Scientific Seminar of Indonesian Librarian Association in Batam, on Monday (8/7).
Tan admitted that it is difficult to attract millennials to visit library. Therefore, it is important to start as early as possible to introduce reading programme. NLB teaches parents and early childhood teachers the skills to teach reading and literacy to the children under their care. For school-aged children, NLB has “read at school” programme for children aged 7-12. Librarians go to schools for story-telling and mass borrowing. NLB also attempts to attract children to reading outside of school area, which is difficult because they have many things to do and for them there is a programme called “Book Bugs”.
NLB also has programme for all ages started in 2013 and called SURE, which stands for Sure, Understand, Research, Evaluate. It is intended to help users check information validity especially, those from internet. NLB works with the Ministry of Education to put it into school curriculum, send the librarians to schools, and put the information on website in varied and attractive ways.
In order to reach wider scope of audience, NLB cooperates with unions, volunteers, training schools, even military by training them so that they can train others and by putting whatever digital material which NLB has on their platforms. Social media platforms are also used to reach out the millennials.
Overall, Tan claimed that it is not easy tasks in reaching out the millennials, but NLB continues to create strategies to attract and engage with the millennials. "Librarians are demanded to change their mindset, learn new skills, not only stand behind counters as they used to do in the past," confirmed Tan.