For the first time, the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore is involving citizens in the process of creating a new library. NLB is incorporating feedback from the public in the development of the new library, named library@Orchard, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2014.
FutureGov speaks to Jasna Dhansukhlal, Assistant Director, Library Services and Management at NLB about the board’s engagement efforts and the innovations to be implemented in the new library.
“With the new library@Orchard, we hope to reach out to the residents, workers and shoppers who frequent Orchard Road, particularly those who are not regular readers or library goers”, says Dhansukhlal. “Hence, it is important for us to involve the public in this library’s development in order to help us better understand their needs”.
Getting feedback from the public
“A prototype exhibition has been set up for the public to touch, feel and experience some of the services and ideas,” Dhansukhlal informs us. Citizens have various channels for giving their feedback about the library prototype.
An online form has been set up for citizens to fill in their comments, either at computer stations located at the prototype exhibition space, or from their personal computers. Additionally, NLB’s library@Orchard blog is receiving public feedback, suggestions and ideas on how the upcoming library should be shaped.
“We also invited bloggers and Twitter users who have a keen interest in this library to share their views on the proposed design concepts,” adds Dhansukhlal. “Through their tweets and blogs, we aim to attract more targeted users to view the prototypes and share their feedback.”
Engaging citizens in the development of the library is in line with NLB’s focus on Design Thinking, a user-centric design methodology, in the development of the library.
“Technology was harnessed to create a realistic user experience during the prototype exhibition, which is a key aspect of the Design Thinking approach, to draw users’ feedback and suggestions”, Dhansukhlal explains.
More than books
NLB conducted user studies at the beginning of the development process which showed that people wanted a library that offered more than books.
“They expressed a desire for a place where they could engage with other users, spend their leisure time meaningfully, as well as to hang out while in Orchard Road”, notes Dhansukhlal. “In the initial phase of brainstorming and ideation, our team considered the use of 3D printing, near-field communications, QR codes, virtual shelves and mobile applications, among others”.
The new library aims to enable learning and discovery through multiple platforms, from print to digital and visual resources. For example, one of the innovations included in the prototype is the ‘Book Tree’, which utilises QR codes and allows users to quickly download eBooks onto electronic devices.
The prototype also includes a ‘10-minute station’, a digital portal of NLB’s eResources in the Book Tree which recommends print or multimedia content to users at the touch of the screen, according to their preferred genre and amount of time they have to spend in the library.
“We want to engaging users by actively creating and sharing user content, and helping them connecting with like-minded people and move beyond being passive borrowers of content,” says Dhansukhlal. The prototype exhibition of the new, innovative library@Orchard is open until 31 January.
In a visit to Ngee Ann Secondary School yesterday (22 July), FutureGov found students deeply ...
The Infocomm Development Authority and Ministry of Education of Singapore have initiated plans to introduce ...
Ngee Ann Secondary School’s students are on a bid to “change the world” with ...