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Book Sanctuaries - Libraries in Singapore

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We settle to read any work of fiction with the same squirm of anticipation primitive people experienced as they gathered closer to the fire and the storyteller began the tale”.

A story that was revered a thousand times and traveled through centuries was probably the first one to be ever recorded. Stories are an important aspect of our lives as we learn and relate to them. Such, they educate and enlighten us with philosophical thoughts; cultures of distant worlds; interesting ideologies; not forgetting unseen places that urge us to explore. Before the IT industry took over the communication sectors, books were a vital part of our growth and everyday life. Moreover, in ancient times, libraries were consecrated as part of monumental buildings, while some were desacralized and burned in fear, by Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 213B.C.

In Singapore, we are very fortunate that our education system places much importance in reading and comprehension, at a very early stage of one’s childhood. Without this basic life-skill, that is much taken for granted, we could very well be isolated, as we live in a world of signs- literally and instructions, not only to travel from one place to another but a necessity when we communicate via the internet. Good news is the world’s literacy rate is at a gradual growth, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This is probably due to the generosity of some NGO’s and Government Organizations.

Having said all these, how do we retain the interest of our kids to read beyond the textbooks, to write and tell their stories- presumably leave their legacy for the future generation – from an artistic perspective. An art that can be very well be compared to that of a painter or the flair of a musician. A weekly scheduled visit to the library would certainly be insufficient in any case, and here are some great ways to cultivate the love for reading and writing, not only for your kids but for you too.

A little introduction to the Libraries and their facilities in Singapore. The National Library Board, www.nlb.gov.sg manages the National Library, 26 Public Libraries, and the National Archives. The National Library itself, within its premises of 11,304 sq. meters has a richly diversified selection of books, available to be borrowed away, while some reserved for research. You could spend hours to peruse over the National Archives, that dates back to circa 1900; interesting historical maps, private memoirs, photographs, oral history interviews, and audio-visual materials. Then, the 26 Public Libraries within the satellite towns, that have a great selection of books, that network among themselves to facilitate borrowing and collection from one another, via requests online.

To nurture reading habits, one should participate among the variety of events & programmes that are specially tailored for different age groups, that include story-telling, arts, crafts, business, heritage, in fact, you can find the schedules of these events on the NLB websites. Such, reading stops being a mundane textbook requirement. It propels us towards a larger perspective of life, that we are able to relate – coupled with entertainment.  

Check out our website at www.rosesandrhinos.com. Walk into the libraries in style, dressed to the nines, from our cool collection. Whoever said that you have to be a nerd to love books!

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