Singapore libraries use technology for easier, faster service

A machine that automatically sorts returned items, a mobile app and a reservation locker are some features recently adopted by local libraries to cater to an increasingly IT-savvy population.

SINGAPORE: Libraries are making use of technology to ensure users can get the books and materials they want in an easier and faster manner. Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim saw some of these improvements during a visit to Sembawang Public Library on Friday (Aug 28).

For example, there is a machine which automatically scans and sorts returned items into specific categories, making it easier for staff, especially the older ones, to shelve the books. Previously, they had to manually sort the items – a time-consuming and laborious process. The machines are now used in Sembawang Public Library and library@chinatown, and there are plans to have them in more libraries.

Other improvements include a mobile app, which allows users to borrow and renew library materials on the move. It also recommends reading materials, based on users’ past loans.

The app has been available for download since September 2014. Users can also view digital newspapers and magazines with large-screen tablets. They are now used in Sembawang Public Library but there are plans to have them in more libraries, especially the new ones, and those undergoing upgrading.

It is also a more convenient experience when readers can collect reserved items from lockers that operate even beyond opening hours. The lockers are located at the entrances of Sembawang Public Library and Library@Orchard.

“The sorter helps a lot in terms of increasing efficiency and productivity, the books are sorted out a lot faster,” said Dr Yaacob. “And I think it is also good from an ergonomics point of view, because we do not have to get our workers to bend down, collect the books. So the sorting machine has done a great job and I was told the efficiency is quite good in terms of its accuracy.”

Dr Yaacob added: “The leveraging of technology is the right thing to do because we do have a more IT-savvy population who prefer to read things on mobile devices. So, that I think is a good start.

“The other thing the Library@Orchard is trying to do, which should be encouraged, is to build a virtual community of readers. Using IT, you can share what you have been reading, and you share together with the librarians and therefore, you create a virtual community of like-minded individuals.”


Texto original retirado do site Channel News Asia.

CHIA, Alice. Singapore libraries use technology for easier, faster service. Channel News Asia: 28 ago. 2015. Disponível em: <;. Acesso em: 31 ago. 2015.

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