2014年9月30日 星期二

以抽象思考、以深度閱讀,追求出奇制勝!—專訪賴鼎銘教授



圖書館學領域中談哲學、談思考與默會知識的學者,擁抱與圖書館學實務者不一樣的思維與沉思特色──賴鼎銘教授,其實更像是一個俠客!

網路部落格上為人所熟知的「教授爸爸」,於世新大學六年校長期間,更是一位積極辦學和參與社會的管理者。今年八月卸下校長職務休息一年,中場休息一個月,八月底的午後與賴教授一起回首來時路,做了以下的訪談,看見哲學思考和深度閱讀如何締造成就非凡的圖書館專業人員。

小龍飛起,世新躍進
管理一個圖書館和大學不同,圖書館的經費固定由母體機構編列,不僅人員相對較少,競爭性較低,在大學管理層級中亦要面對教育部、與其他高教機構相互競爭、爭取機會及預算,極具挑戰性!

身為校長,時常需要構思及整體規劃,私立學校對於生死存亡的危機感更是明顯,考驗領導者的經營策略。而機構未來發展方向、創造機構特色,物色夢幻團隊以實現理念,對賴教授是很大的挑戰。

追求教學卓越是教育部近年來的重點方向,賴校長的規劃焦點即是讓傳播特色及學生拔尖發揮得淋漓盡致;賴教授引領的卓越計畫,特別重視學生才能之培養,例如「小龍計畫」即鼓勵菁英學生拓展潛能,培養藝文創意及產業專才種子,提升未來在專業領域的競爭力。

世新大學在傳播業界、表演界、文藝界有非常多突出和具有影響力的校友,像是李國修、李烈等人,皆因求學階段參加社團激發出不同的成就。賴教授覺得世新特色可於專業上發揮,透過與業師的合作,每個系可以打造自己的主播龍、廣電龍、動畫龍等小龍計畫(1)

同時,打造平台讓學生和學校之間有很多的活動,現在的世新校園可說是越夜越美麗,例如修習「傳播技能」的同學為了期末的展演,留校做功課以求表現;世新啦啦隊競賽,讓學生不睡覺、不上課,也要排練以爭個你死我活;世新的學生臥虎藏龍,為了不辜負他們的潛能,賴教授更為他們推出才藝大賞,讓學生透過競爭性機制追求傑出的表現。比起學術研究成果,世新校園更重視學生的製作訓練,以各種活動來展現專業,學生發揮的表現甚至比職場的專業人員更為傑出。賴教授於十幾年學生活動的參與、觀察及思考中,了解老師的專業和學生們要的專業取向不同,更掌握到學生的興趣與脈動,因此逆轉了學校經營方向與特色。賴教授驕傲的是幫學生找到出路,發揮他們的興趣,並詮釋出不一樣的世新。
 

「以正合,以奇勝」堅持理念有所為
賴教授於教務長任內,世新大學的招生率為94%,到任校長期間招生率高達97%,少子化的問題讓賴教授看到經營的危機,因而首開到大陸招生之先河,和大陸高校簽了80幾所姐妹校,其中包含多所大陸頂尖的985高校,目前每年共計有1,000多位大陸學生來台就學。根基於共同中華文化的起源,大陸學生學習與適應快速,他們熱衷於追求學問,臺灣學生則喜歡創作與實務。

延攬大陸優秀高校學生,除了吸收資質好的學生來相互交流,邊際效益反應在傳播媒體的宣傳效果上,如中國傳媒大學的學生來台,常被國內媒體列為陸生採訪的主要標的,這些學生在談吐內容與氣度上的不凡,締造與烘托出世新教學與培育學生的卓越與新風貌。

賴教授秉承創辦人成舍我先生之傳統理念,在世新大學繼續營造多元、自由、容納百川學院之氛圍,讓老師們在外可以展現自我風格及影響力,如社會發展研究所時常為弱勢團體發聲,躍升媒體版面可同時帶來傳播效益;教學時任用來自不同行業領域的專業老師,如報章媒體界的大咖王健壯等。
世新大學活用結合理論與實務,揉合多元面向以充分發揮。如同《孫子兵法》中提到「凡戰者,以正合,以奇勝」,兩軍交戰,要以奇兵來取勝,賴教授營造不一樣的策略與氛圍,即如社會發展研究所在社會中小兵立大功、讓師生共同打造非凡的學生活動。憑藉著世新特色向教育部爭取經費,運用不一樣的指標培養學生的專長與效能,賴教授創造不一樣的格局與成功指標。

賴教授於校長任內常為學術界與教育界發出不平之鳴,今年年初即以私校理事長身分爭取私校年金法案通過三讀,他笑說「命只有一條,要拼來拼」,實然為知識份子的氣度與風骨驅使他為真理發言。

進一步了解,他會如此敢言,實為陳履安於國科會任內的主任秘書楊光華先生之感召。楊先生因病退休,賴教授有一次拜訪他,楊主秘無限感慨地說出:如果可以重來,他會不畏懼地做該做的事。「人老後悔」讓他感觸很深,也讓他體悟,人在特定的職位,該做的事和該說的話必需好好把握;當下不說,一離開位置,再怎麼大聲,沒有人會留意傾聽,賴教授如此分享。

「創新求勝」在哲學思考的淬煉
懷抱獨到之見解與遠略,賴教授不僅於卓越計畫中展現世新特色、培養學生的品格及專長,更透過為高教發聲、改變不合理的體制貢獻己身心力,如私校年金法案,即讓64,000名私校教職員受惠。率先開展大陸招生,使得教育機構有新的方向及道路可走。

他語重心長的表示,由於體制內限制太多,而新生的報到率受出生率影響甚鉅,預計於民國105年會減少5萬名學生,到117年甚至減少 16萬學生,目前當局並無具體可行的方案,預測學校招生將會因此受到很大的衝擊,未來亦會面臨到學校經營困難之殘酷事實。

目前的臺灣教育體制有各種因素限制,如學雜費與校長任制等辦學方式皆面臨制度及現實相互拉扯,如此侷限,難以辦出像美國的好學校,遑論學術躍升、國際化各方面的成就,更是望塵莫及,臺灣過度保護自己,胸襟、氣脈與視野都有待加強。

當一所大學的校長面臨許多壓力,常要出奇制勝構思、創造計畫,前世新大學校長牟宗燦教授當年找賴教授擔任教務長,便是看重他如諸葛亮般深思謀略;當時賴教授所規劃的計畫,一直到現在都還是學校的施政主軸。

這樣的機會歷練,讓賴教授衍然變成決策規劃大師。他自信能在觀察一個單位後,協助擬定中長期的發展計畫。也因為他的卓越經歷,他目前正在協助工業局推動智慧校園計劃,這是一個以智慧學習、智慧社群、智慧行政、智慧保健、智慧管理、智慧綠能為核心的創新整合服務,希冀促成全台一萬間學校進行校園智慧化,推動產業合作打造國際智慧校園品牌。

智慧校園是新興的市場,未來的成果會推行到國外,開始重視教育的越南,現在就對這個計劃有著高度的興趣。從iPAD、電子書、校園翻轉教室的運用,皆可在台北市、新北市與高雄市等示範學校看到成效。
現代圖書館要能夠支援雲端化和數位化等新的學習方向,而學生上課時採用行動載具,即需有電子書與影音資源來呼應上課素材,圖書館專業人員不可小覷這些數位趨勢之發展。

賴教授的規劃能力,源於資訊蒐及及抽象思考的整合。藉由廣泛蒐集資訊,及一批有共同理想的工作者來共同激盪、規劃,再從整體資訊中找尋uniqueness,將大家資料整合、抽象化,用簡短扼要的概念表現uniqueness!整個過程就像「創新求勝」一書中,日本幾家知名產業開發創新產品,發揮默會知識的展現。

由哲學思考淬鍊出來的文字,使賴教授常為卓越計畫中不可或缺的重要操刀手。轉換到高等教育管理的機緣,使他將多年培養之能力發揮得淋漓盡致,可以說從哲學沉思到默會知識,諸多內化的歷程擦出不一樣的火花。

圖書館的危機與期許
話語落在圖書館界面臨學校經費萎縮的同時,賴教授提到圖書館員的任用會因此受到影響。圖書館學門長久以來缺乏主導性,在學理上或應用上多為跟隨者,常在趨勢中追求新科技,卻忽略了資訊科技有所謂「雙面刃」!一方面帶來新的氣象,一方面也在解構我們。

圖書館為實體機構,在面臨數位化的強大趨勢,圖書館會逐漸演變成沒有實體的機構,進而影響其於教育學習脈絡中相對應的位置。現在大部分資訊資源投入雲端,圖書館少有經營策略從Content思考,未來會因為沒有中心思想和具體作為而被忽視及取代。圖書館服務需更深入需求鏈中,並思考老師與學生的需要與趨勢,同時更要結合社會的脈動,積極成為教育學習的主動參與者。

綜而觀之,大學圖書館從業人員應了解整個社會的脈動,探究老師於教學與研究的困難,了解學生學習的需要,與師生合作,共同產生新的價值,同時亦要了解政府資訊策略和產業規劃,不致被其他新興的專業或族群取而代之。

專業化不足一直是圖書館系所教育的重要課題,圖書館學教育若缺乏專業知識及核心知能,要於content上提供服務即缺乏競爭力,館員若缺乏專業能力,即無法挑選適合的素材供老師教學使用。
賴教授當圖書館館長階段,曾定期在明目書社選書,因而認識一批學術同好,也才了解人類學、心理學、社會學等各種學科背景的人在選書時,除了參考奠基的人物外,還有各種判斷好書的選擇依據;若館員無法得知這些知識和學科權威關係,很難做到適切的專業性服務。專業度不高的服務,即可能使館員淪為clerk

臺灣的圖書館員教育一向偏趨內斂,沒有主動結合社會資源,事實上,圖書館員能夠透過許多事物突顯其社會價值,更可變成改變社會的力量,例如可汗學院的概念即透過集合眾人力量而有所作為。

賴教授舉例他成為漂書協會理事長,就是集結這些年認識的人脈,如新北市市長朱立倫、交通部部長葉匡時等,都有共同推動閱讀的熱情,更結合社會資源加入漂書活動。社會活動要有所謂「知其不可為而為之」的實踐理想,成功與否已是其次。圖書館員應是社會服務的一員,為堅持對大家有益的理念,需更積極站出來從事公益活動。

此外,漂書概念有其理想及意義,所有等待的地方都可以閱讀,任何休息的地方都可以設立漂書點,讓書去漂流而不是滑手機。不僅可將圖書館的好書再生利用,館員亦可號召學生、老師及讀者共同響應,將不再使用的書籍捐出來成為漂書。

賴教授最後補充說,圖書館員除服務讀者,也要藉此充實自己的能力,更何況閱讀原本就是館員在推行的活動。館員可以當校長,沒有什麼事是不可能的!

回首自己過去被時間追著跑,行色匆匆;如今,一年的歇息剛剛開展,此刻空閒得以與時間面對面,賴教授覺得自我的價值感與掌握感再度重現,想利用這段時間重新檢視過去所學,創造更傑出之成就,亦可以打太極、念書,琢磨更幸福的生活。

過往理解的賴教授如俠客般不受拘束,這段訪問窺見賴教授於校長生涯的哲學思辨,不僅是一位具智慧、擅思考的學者,肩負社會國家理想與抱負,更看到知識分子的擔當,有為者亦若是。
(本文依據賴鼎銘教授實際訪談,林孟玲、李宜儒整理撰稿,賴鼎銘教授審稿)

【採訪撰稿 林孟玲,整理  ●李宜儒】

參考資料
1.       拔尖小龍計畫,世新大學網站 http://spirit.shu.edu.tw/plans01.php?sn=30 檢索日期 2014/09/04

相信閱讀,星洲躍昇: Ngian Leh Choh顧問專訪



即將在2014116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 ChohNgian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。

新加坡圖書館在未來的發展歷程中同樣面臨樂齡人口的增加,妥善應用科技來提升公民素養、資訊素養是圖書館很重要的責任。兒童是國家的未來棟樑,在兒童和青少年閱讀的培養上新加坡圖書書館不遺餘力,2004年起國家圖書館倡導KidsREAD計畫來培育志工到貧困的家庭中念故事給兒童聽,至今訓練了9,828位志工,促成184個讀書會為27,742為兒童念書。另外還有2013年開始的Read@School是訓練老師參與閱讀訓練計畫,在全新加坡的360所中小學,已有260所學校加入計畫,兩年下來借閱圖書達89萬冊,閱讀活動高達4000次以上。再進一步我們看到國家圖書館結合教育部將資訊素養課程納入學校課程中,從閱讀啟動到資訊知能的培養,作全盤性的考量,可以更淋漓盡致的發揮圖書館的教育功能。

新加坡在人口結構上有多元文化與多元種族的特質,為了提升卓越服務,圖書館在服務的流暢度和資源提供盡量以無所不在、無需等待為標的,到處可以用手機閱讀、借書、可以到處還實體書。圖書館的館長在管理上、資訊系統、數位資源上的開發與應用都作了很好的決策和領導,館員以提供良好服務為重要目標,結合有熱情與有共識的館員,未來新加坡圖書館還會投入更多的努力在閱讀與資訊素養,重新設計館舍空間,讓新加坡圖書館服務更符合趨勢與新穎性。

Ngian聯繫是非常美好的經驗,當訪問需求寄出,五分鐘的時間得到她正面回應,五個小時得到訪問全部回覆,印出來是4A4滿滿的經驗分享,從很小地方可以看到她所指的服務的熱忱和績效。臺灣館員對於她一定也不陌生,2013年國家圖書館館慶曾經邀請她來分享新加坡經驗,話語間她提到自己的母親高齡八九十歲,使用iPad下載影片觀賞的故事,讓全場驚豔科技的無懈可擊,數位資源不僅所短城鄉距離,對於樂齡老人有意想不到使用效果。今年她來臺灣要更進一步分享讀者服務的成果,我們熱切期待她在國立臺灣圖書館的館慶盛會演說。



採訪附錄

中文簡譯
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 ?
Ngian :
在新加坡圖書館(NLB)採用關鍵績效指標(KPI)對圖書館服務的發展是一個非常重要的指標。而採用KPI 的原因是,透過指標衡量我們的讀者如何使用圖書館以及讀者的看法,圖書館就更可以提供給讀者最符合讀者需求的服務。在新加坡國家圖書館,我們每月衡量各項服務利用狀況,其中包括實體的空間服務及虛擬的圖書館服務。同時每年我們也測量讀者對圖書館的滿意度衡量。每兩年,我們透過員工問卷調查的方式用瞭解並衡量員工對組織發展的參與與滿意度,作為檢測組織是否有效運行。

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。

另外一個例子是數位化報紙資料庫利用率的提升。圖書館提供檢索20年之前的報紙數位化服務,將報紙內容並放在搜尋引擎爬梳與索引後,使用量因而大幅提升。從原本一年約3.6萬的使用率提高到一年1,030萬的頁面瀏覽量,增加了286倍。
新加坡國立圖書館憑藉關鍵績效指標向政府申請更多的經費,同時,也是讓政府可透過實際使用的數據來了解圖書館提供的服務與使用率的最有效率的方法。

圖書館從業人員透過衡量回饋組織是經營管理上重要的課題。關鍵績效指標是用於衡量工作人員的參與度、對組織中領導階層的願景與使命的瞭解程度,能有助於團隊合作的向心力。根據研究結果顯示,採用KPI 後,管理階層與工作各部門朝向一致目標與使命運作,減少了工作人員的焦慮與不滿,同時改善工作人員的工作狀況。高度參與也帶來了更快樂的工作氛圍與團隊。更重要的是,快樂的團隊就對帶來更好的讀者服務。

Library Watch:在新加坡,從圖書館提供服務與善用圖書館館藏的角度來看,其主要趨勢為何
Ngian
在新加坡,我看到的主要趨勢有:
  •   教育程度高等化帶來要求高品質的讀者
  •    人口高齡化的趨勢必須重新設計圖書館的空間館藏與提供的服務
  •    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2014923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。
  •    資訊素養的重要性增加。尤其在網際網路的時代,龐大且品質不一的訊息來源之下,讀者必須透過資訊素養的技能判斷所需要的資訊。為了協助使用者,新加坡國立圖書館與教育部將資訊素養納入中小學教材中。這也讓新加坡國立圖書館可嵌入到中小學與教師充分合作發揮學生的資訊素養技能。
Library Watch:你可以多談談在新加坡的KidsREAD計畫和Read@school計劃?
Ngian:
·         KidsREAD是兒童啟蒙閱讀的計畫,其發起想法是源自於在貧困家庭之中,父母忙於謀生,沒有時間帶子女到圖書館。新加坡國立圖書館積極招募志工協助孩子閱讀,志工也會到孩子的家庭唸書給孩子們。這些家庭都對這樣的社會服務肯定與認同對他們的幫助。兒童啟蒙閱讀始於2004年,透過184個讀書會協助27,742位兒童。

·         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20131月到20146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

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?
Ngian :
新加坡國立圖書館成功的改造圖書館並滿足讀者需求,總結其關鍵因素如下(詳見原文)

·         *   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:看到您在圖書館積極推動和參與圖書館服務,您可以告訴我們您對專業的熱情與信念是什麼
Ngian
·         我在圖書館行業超過35年。我一直很感謝有機會來服務並堅信圖書館可以創造讓人類的不同生命或有所作為。我的看法是,如果孩子從小開始閱讀,他們會成為終身的閱讀者與學習者。我看到許多讀者從小閱讀成為好公民,有些讀者甚至參與圖書館的服務團隊。聽到讀者述說圖書館怎樣改變他們的生活故事總是讓人窩心。我相信,圖書館只要站在讀者的需求思考,無論圖書館要發展成為實體與虛擬的,圖書館會長久存在。

英文原稿
Library Watch What is your opinion about applying KPIs to facilitate library services in Singapore?

Ngian :
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 ?

Ngian :
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?

Ngian :
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?

Ngian :
 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 ?

Ngian :

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】


 


參考資料

  1. NLB launches mobile app to streamline borrowing process (Access from

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/nlb-launches-mobile-app/1376828.html)