即將在2014年11月6日至 7日於臺灣圖書館舉辦之「未來圖書館」國際研討會¸，Library Watch 於第63 期起陸續刊登講者專訪系列文章，首期專訪的講者為目前在新加坡國立圖書館擔任顧問，同時也是新加坡國家圖書館公設顧問服務公司的董事長- Ngian Lek Choh。Ngian具備35年的圖書館相關經驗，特別在國家圖書館數位發展計畫中有非常多的貢獻。她相信圖書館是生活改變的力量，這樣的理念從兒童可以得到許多見證，能讓孩子浸淫在閱讀中，可以促使終生學習的可能性，也可以培養出優秀的公民，這樣的感動故事發生在她的周遭履見不鮮。
Ngian所引導計畫中，我們看見新加坡用關鍵績效指標(KPI, Key Performance Index)來衡量圖書館的績效，主要是在每個月去評估圖書館的實體和數位服務，並在每一年評估讀者滿意度、以及每兩年評估圖書館內的館員投入效能與工作滿意度。例如這樣的評估有效改善介紹新加坡為主的資料庫Singapore Inforpedia、新加坡報紙數位檔案的使用，他們開放資料庫讓搜尋引擎索引，促成資料庫使用量分別達700倍到286倍的成長。在圖書館機構內運用KPI的評估，用來引導館員們了解到圖書館發展的整體目標和任務，有效降低成員工作的焦慮感，增加幸福指標，更進而成為快樂團隊服務讀者。
Library Watch：您對新加坡利用關鍵績效指標 (KPI)促進圖書館服務的看法 ?
利用 KPI提高使用率的實例分享:在新加坡國家圖書館有提供關於新加坡所有人文與歷史的免費數位百科--【Singapore Infopedia】，是一個由圖書館員根據讀者服務的常問問題資料庫系統。啟用之初僅在新加坡國立圖書館網站傳輸服務與相關訊息，每個月約400次的檢索數量，使用率很低。因此，研究小組開始腦力激盪如何增加其檢索使用率，創新的方法是透過搜尋引擎爬梳內容與索引，透過像是Google搜尋引擎檢索機制讓資訊被檢索與利用。於是，館員開始進行內容與搜尋引擎優化訓練，在撰寫文章時就依據搜尋引擎的白帽原則進行撰寫。在內容可被搜尋引擎檢索後的2007年至2008年，我們看到使用檢索數量從每年的 4,800 次到整個資料庫中的2,500篇文章共計有340萬的瀏覽次數，呈現出來 700 倍的成長量。這就是新加坡圖書館運用 KPI 來改善圖書館服務與增加圖書館讀者使用率的方法之一。
- 高度網路化與行動化的讀者促使服務行動化圖書館服務。在2014年9月23日，新加坡國立圖書館推出了最新的手機APP 程式，可讓讀者更容易的借閱與續借圖書館的書籍。讀者下載【NLB Mobile】後，可利用手機或平板可以借閱與續借全家的書籍、可不必透過流通櫃檯與工作站立即借閱與續借書、可獲得個人化的圖書推薦訊息與可結合手機定位資訊獲得鄰近分館最新活動訊息。
· Read@school在學校閱讀計畫是新加坡國立圖書館透過學校教育，以生動有趣的閱讀課程設計推廣閱讀，並且提供閱讀書單。依照年齡分組進行閱讀活動，且這些活動非常受到歡迎。在2013年1月到2014年6月間，服務的學校已達到260 所，透過閱讀推廣活動而外借的書籍有894,700冊，進行的活動有4,149場
Library Watch ：您可以跟我們分享新加坡國立圖書館在新加坡多元文化社會下，如何成功的將圖書館服務深入社區?
· * 努力不懈追求卓越的客戶服務。
· * 充分運用資訊科技與數位平台。
· * 注重員工的專業能力。
· * CEO的領導與願景加持。
· * 熱情且有責任感的圖書館工作人員。
Library Watch ：What is your opinion about applying KPIs to facilitate library services in Singapore?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to us is a very important component of library service development in Singapore. The reason for this is that only by measuring how our users use and perceive us, can the library develop services that best meet their needs. At the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore, we measure the use of each service on a monthly basis, both for physical and digital library services, and we measure the satisfaction rate of users on a yearly basis. We also measure the overall organisational health of our staff, by way of an staff survey, to understand the level of their engagement and satisfaction with the organization. This is done every two years.
I shall relate here an example of how we use KPIs to measure and improve the use of our content. The NLB provides a service called Singapore Infopedia. Infopedia is a database of articles on and about Singapore, written by librarians, based on the enquiries that they frequently receive from users on anything Singapore. As the publishing output of Singapore is small, it is not easy for a user to find such materials. When the NLB first started putting articles out to its users, it was through the library’s website. We found that use of the content is very low, about 400 accesses a month. The team then brainstormed ideas on how to increase use. One of the ideas suggested by staff was to use the search engine optimisation method to put the content out to internet search engines for them to crawl and index the articles, so that users can find the articles when they search any internet search engines, for example Google. Staff were also trained to write the articles in such a manner so that internet search engines will want to index them. Between 2007 and 2008, after the content was put out to the internet search engines, we started seeing a rise in use. From 4,800 accesses a year, Singapore Infopedia today enjoys more than 3.4 mil page views for its 2,500 articles, a 700-fold increase. This is one way KPIs are used to improve services and to increase the use of the content.
Another example was the digitisation of newspapers. For a long time, users had to come to the NLB libraries to make use of the microfilms to search for articles in the library’s newspapers archives. This was time consuming and cumbersome. The NLB decided that it would digitise the newspapers so that users can access them from anywhere in the world. Rights were secured from the publishing company to allow the NLB to provide remote access to the library’s newspapers that are older than 20 years old. This was a significant breakthrough. After digitising the newspapers, and putting them out to internet search engines to crawl and index, use also increased dramatically. From a low use level of about 36,000 accesses a year, the use is over 10.3 mil page views a year today. This is a 286-fold increase.
KPIs are also very important when we use them to ask the government for more funds. It is an effective way to let them know how libraries are valued by our users through the use and compliments data.
Measurements of staff feedback is also very important for an organisation. KPIs are used to measure the level of engagement of staff in the organisation and staff’s perception of how the organisation is doing in terms of management leadership, clarity of vision and mission, and teamwork. Based on the results, the management team works with the respective divisional teams to improve on the way we work, so as to reduce the anxieties or frustrations of staff, and improve the conditions for work. A higher level of engagement brings about a much happier workforce. This is important as a happier workforce brings about better customer services.
Library Watch ：From the perspectives of providing library services and making the best use of library collections, what are the major trends in the Singapore ?
The major trends in Singapore as I see them are :
- Higher levels of education of citizens, which translates to more discerning and demanding library customers
- Aging population which results in a need to re-design library spaces, collections and services to cater to this growing need
- A more internet savvy and more mobile citizenry. This means that users are more likely to use their hand-held mobile devices to access the libraries’ collections and services. Just today, the NLB launched its latest mobile library service to make it even easier for user to borrow library books. After downloading an app “NLB Mobile” on their mobile phone, they can now borrow books using their mobile phones, without going to a library staff nor a self-service book borrowing machine to do this. This will free the library from putting in self-service machines to facilitate borrowing of books, and also, make it easier for users to borrow books anywhere in the library. Over the past 5 years, the NLB had also been aggressively been making its content accessible via mobile phones.
- Greater need for information literacy skills : especially in the internet age, more and more users are finding it difficult to find information for specific needs. Most of them are able to search the internet search engines for general information, however, if they need authoritative information, they find it difficult to find the most appropriate sources to get to the best piece of information that they need. To help the users attain this skill, the NLB worked with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to embed information literacy skills into school textbooks so that teachers teach information literacy skills as they conduct their lessons in school. Information literacy skills are not taught separately from their classroom learning. This enables the NLB to reach out to all the students in the schools, by working very closely with the MOE curriculum development teachers.
Library Watch ：Can you talk more about the accomplishments of your KidsREAD and Read@school program?
KidsRead is a programme initiated to reach children from poor families where the parents are too busy earning a living and have no time to bring their children to the library. The NLB actively recruits volunteers who are keen to help these children read and trains them to read to children from these families on a regular basis. The volunteers visit the homes of the children to read to them. The families are identified with the help of the authority that provides social welfare to them. KidsRead was started in 2004. It has helped the NLB reached 27,742 children over the years through 184 reading clubs, and with the help of 9,828 volunteers.
Read@School is another programme to reach students who are captive audiences in schools. As it is hard for the NLB to reach every student due to their different family situations, the NLB has a programme that provides support to schools to help them run fun and engaging reading programmes to promote reading, and provides reading lists to schools for different age groups. NLB trains the teachers to run these programmes and they have been immensely popular. Between January 2013 and June 2014, NLB has reached 260 schools (out of total of 360 in Singapore) and 1.17 mil students. Book loans made through programmes : 894,700, and number of reading activities conducted : 4,149.
Library Watch ：With a multi-culture environment, the NLB success is shining examples among library communities. Can you share with us some of the stories behind the scenes?
The NLB is one of many great libraries in the world that had successfully been transforming its libraries to meet the needs of its users. I would like to summarise the NLB’s critical success factors as follows :
- The relentless pursuit of customer service excellence. From 1995 when the National Library became a statutory board called the National Library Board, the leadership of the board had pursued a strong and clear journey of customer service excellence. This included reviewing every single service provided by the library to see how best to improve the service so that users can save time and effort to get what they want, without wasting precious time. During the first 8 years of the NLB from 1995-2003, the NLB focused on making library visits and use of collections very convenient and hassle-free. This is to reduce the pain of users visiting and using libraries. All the manual transactions were automated, so that users need not wait for staff to help them to get things done. Users select books that they want, they borrow the books at the self-service machines, and if they wish to pay a library fine, they pay the fine at an e-kiosk that also allows the user to register as a new member and to get a new library card, if the user wishes to have one. Most of the services provided by NLB is now so convenient, that there is no queue at any of the libraries and borrowing books is a breeze. Returning of books is even easier, as books are returned via book drops that require no other effort. Users just drop their books into the book drops and they can immediately borrow new books. All NLB staff are regularly trained to provide a good customer service. Today, 388 compliments are received for every complaint made. This is a far cry from the early days when more complaints than compliments were received regularly.
- Excellent use of information technology (IT) and digital platforms. Although the journey is far from over, the NLB had made great strides in leveraging the internet search engines and digital platforms to help provide a better service to the users. Today, users can access and use the NLB’s many services using its digital platforms, and more importantly, find materials that they need from wherever they are.
- Focus on staff competency. This is equally important. Even with mass digitisation of content, and use of IT, staff is a critical pillar for excellence in customer service. Staff needs to be trained to be very good in helping the user, they need to be knowledgeable in content and services, and they need to have the mindset to keep learning, unlearning and relearning. This is an ongoing journey that never ends as new services are innovated all the time, and staff needs to be learning all the time.
- Leadership and vision : NLB has been very fortunate that it has had very good CEOs. Dr Christopher Chia, the first of the NLB CEOs had a great vision to make NLB a world class library system by smoothening the internal and customer facing processes and ensuring that customers have the best experience ever when they visit any of the NLB’s libraries. He succeeded in achieving this. Today, NLB is one of the world’s best library systems where library operations are labour efficient, and user experience is often described as fantastic, hassle-free, no queues and an oasis for learning and discovery. For financial year 2013, use of services totalled 23 mil visits, 35.5 mil loans, and 71.4 mil e-retrievals. Dr Varaprasad, who joined NLB in 2003, achieved mass digitisation on a large scale and brought the NLB’s collection into the hands of the user. This gave the user instant access to most of the NLB’s digital resources, 24 by 7. Dr P, as he was also affectionately known, also initiated services to serve the underserved through KidsRead and Molly, the mobile bus service that serves disadvantaged users. Mrs Elaine Ng, current CEO built on the efforts of the former two CEOs that improved the hardware of the libraries. She has articulated a vision that focuses on building the software of the nation. NLB will increase its efforts on reading and information literacy, re-design of library spaces, promote use of Singapore content and continue to innovate in services.
- Committed and passionate library staff. This is the real asset of NLB, a team of highly committed, passionate and dedicated staff, many of whom had serve NLB for decades. They came, they learnt and they were truly immersed in the mission and vision of the NLB. They put their hearts and souls into transforming the NLB from a traditional library system to one that is up-to-date and “cool” to many of our users. We are very grateful to them.
Library Watch ：With your past experiences as a consultant to promote library enthusiastically, can you tell us more about your professional passion and beliefs ?
I have been in the library industry for over 35 years. I have been very grateful for the opportunity to serve and I believe very strongly that libraries make a difference to people’s lives. My view is that if children are read to from young, they will become life-long readers and life-long learners. I have seen so many of our users from young and they have turned out to be really fine citizens. Some of our users have joined the NLB as staff members as well. It is always so heartwarming to hear stories from them and from other users who tell us about how libraries changed their lives. I believe that if libraries focus on what users want, libraries will remain relevant to them for a very long time, whether libraries are physical or digital.
【採訪 ● 林孟玲，譯整 ●劉育君】
- NLB launches mobile app to streamline borrowing process (Access from