CyberFair Project ID: 5529

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: National Library Board, Singapore
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: National Junior College
    Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

7 students, ages 16-17 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 24, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2009

Classes and Teachers: National Junior College Information Technology Club

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Singapore is a small island country located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in South-East Asia. Singapore has about 4,839,400 people (as of December 2008) spread over a land area of about 710.2 square kilometres (44th smallest country in the world), making it the densest-populated country in the world after Monaco at 6,814 persons per square kilometre.

Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country, made up of four main ethnic groups, namely the Chinese, the Malays, the Indians and the Eurasians. Everyone is able to coexist in peace and harmony, and we have stood together as one people to face challenges such as the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the 2003 SARS crisis.

As Singapore is a highly educated society, its population needs educational facilities such as libraries for further expansion of knowledge. Thus, in 1995, the National Library Board (NLB) was set up, to oversee the libraries that were being built to cater to people's needs.

In 2008, Singapore's residents made more than 37 million visits to the library, loaning a staggering 28 million books in one year alone. This proves that Singapore's library system is indeed attractive and unique, continually providing its services to the general public. The NLB is definitely a successful library model that Singapore can be proud of, and one that other countries can tap on.

2. Summary of Our Project

The main aim of our project is to educate visitors about the National Library Board (NLB) and the library system in Singapore. We would be providing detailed information on the past, present and future of the NLB. We would also be revealing the more interesting facts of a typical library in Singapore so as to let visitors have a deeper impression of it.

A library in Singapore is not only a place for reading or borrowing books, but also a place to relax. Some libraries are equipped with cafés that allow library patrons to have refreshments while enjoying their book. Also, for those who are more internet-savvy, the NLB also has multimedia stations that allow users to access their online portal, where they can retrieve information and use other services.

Furthermore, the library often organises events for the public, such as the Fathers Reading Programme, an initiative to involve fathers in active parenting. These activities help to foster social bonding and allow the public to appreciate the library more.

We also interview a librarian working presently in the National Library to gain an insight into how the library is run and how it works, behind the scenes.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The process that we went through to complete the project was fraught with problems and obstacles that we had to make a huge effort to overcome.

We had to cope with many problems, due to our extremely tight schedules as students and the large amount of homework that we have. Some of us, as Junior College 2 students, also have to take an ‘A’ Level exam at the end of the year. Thus it was very stressful for us as we had to juggle between schoolwork and the requirements of the competition. Also, we had to face a sudden change in our project topic midway through our project, due to the difficulties we faced in understanding the previous topic. We also had trouble contacting the organization which was related to our previous topic and this led to a lack of time to do research for our present topic.

Our group, which includes people of different ages, had a problem communicating with each other at first as we did not know each other well. Even so, as the competition progressed, we got to know each other better, and the speed at which we were able to progress was greatly increased.

Due to other school commitments such as other competitions, our team members had trouble completing the work before the deadline. We had to work on several competitions simultaneously with the deadlines close to each other. Adding this on to the pile of schoolwork we had to complete, we faced even more difficulty in completing the work. In order to meet the deadline, we had to sacrifice our sleep as well as time for recreation.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

We have learnt many things that could not be learnt in our normal classroom setting and it has been great as we now know more about the library system in Singapore that we all so often take for granted. Now, we are able to appreciate that Singapore has such an efficient library system, unlike many other countries who are less fortunate. We also realized that teamwork and perseverance are two very important factors throughout the process of completing this project. Without teamwork we would not have been able to consolidate all our work, and without perseverance we would not have been able to continue through our work and would have given up halfway.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Through our activities and research for the CyberFair competition, we have gained knowledge and improved on our skills.

Completing the project on the Singapore National Library Board (NLB) has allowed our team to have an in-depth knowledge about how the library system is put in place, and we know and understand more about the NLB and what it does. This project has also allowed us to see how the library system in Singapore has improved over the years, corresponding with our History syllabus on Singapore's modernisation into the 21st century.

Also, we have improved in various technical skills after completing the project. Our skills in taking photographs, designing webpages, and editing pictures have improved. All these Information Technology (IT) skills are essential for us as members of our school’s IT Club, as we make use of it in our various projects and competitions.

The CyberFair competition has also given us the opportunity to work in a group, enhancing our ability to work together and enabling us to understand the importance of working as a team. We were gradually able understand each other better as the project progressed, and we found that we could make use of each person's strengths to help us progress faster. This has helped us gain experience in adapting to different surroundings with different people around us, which is important in our school lives as well as in the future when we work in society.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

The main and most valuable tool that was used throughout the entire process of our project is the desktop computer. Everything we did depended on it, for example designing our website, doing research, and digitizing the information that we collected.

We sourced the Internet for information regarding the National Library Board (NLB).

We also referred to books for information that concerned the history of the NLB.

Many different kinds of computer software were used to complete our website. Some of them included Adobe Photoshop CS 3 for design, Notepad for the website and Microsoft Word for the research.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

To act as “ambassadors” and spokespersons for our CyberFair project both on-line and in person, our group conducted an interview with a library staff.

We conducted an interview with a library staff working in the National Library, to find out more about NLB. Through the interview, we gathered much information about the National Library Board (NLB) behind the scenes that was beneficial to our project.

Also, it was quite a surprise when we interviewed the librarian, as it was the first time that she heard someone doing a project on the NLB. She was impressed with our attempt at publicising the NLB to the world as Singapore’s library system is relatively unknown in the world. This really encouraged us to move on and complete our project.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

The main aim of our project is to educate visitors about the National Library Board (NLB) and the library system in Singapore. Although the library is relatively well-known in Singapore, few people actually know what goes on behind the scenes. Our project thus educates this group of people on the NLB inside out, so that they will be more informed and appreciate the library more.

Also, our project provides detailed information on the past, present and future of the NLB. It showcases the history of the NLB, the present NLB and where the NLB is headed in the future. People from all over the world will know more about the system, and if they are interested, they can come to learn more about the library in Singapore to implement a similar system in their country.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Our project involved the librarian who had accepted our interview and the liason who helped us with getting photos of the library. Our interviewee accepted our interview happily and provided us with the information which we needed. Our liason from the National Library Board (NLB) helped us find photos which we needed about the library.

Just thanking our helpers would not mean much to them since some may not even be able to view this. Thus, we would like to dedicate our website to them to express our greatest gratitude.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

At the start of this project, we were all strangers and did not know each other well. But through the process of completing this project, we interacted with each other and then knew more about each other. Through conducting the interview and researching together, we were able to know more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We also discovered more about the library system and this increased our knowledge of the National Library Board (NLB).

We learnt that things should be planned before hand. This is because there was once where we wanted to take photos but later realized that the library does not allow it thus we had to cancel it and it led us to ask our liason for photos of the library. We also learnt that every single detail is important. During the process of coding the website, there was a major problem due to a ‘/’ which was found in part of the research. It led to us not being able to view the website and this wasted quite a lot of our time trying to debug.

The most surprising thing that we learnt is that the library actually has many services that we do not know about, maybe because they are less well used. However, this is not to say that these services are not useful. In fact, these services are extremely useful and without having done this project, perhaps we would not ever find out about this aspect of the library, thus this project has indeed benefited us a lot.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5529)

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