Monday, June 25, 2012

Borrowing iPads in Singaporean Libraries

You can now borrow iPads, Kindles and such from Singaporean libraries:
Apart from borrowing books and DVDs, the public can now get their hands on iPads, TumbleBooks Playaways and Kindles as part of the National Library Board's (NLB) efforts to help bridge the digital divide among Singaporeans.
One hundred TumbleBooks Playaways, 100 iPads and five Kindles will be available for loan from today at Bedok Public Library.
In Malaysia, you still can't even borrow a decent book from the national libraries. Of course this is slightly exaggerating, but this is a serious handicap in Malaysia. Books are expensive. In the last two months, I have spent over RM300 on books and I already feel the burn in my pockets. Libraries are important to enable accessibility to books that some people may not be able to afford.

Central Public Library, Singapore

In this respect, Singapore is centuries ahead of Malaysia. Just look at this multi-storey national library in Bugis. This is just one of the many, many libraries in Singapore. Singapore has at least 24 public libraries to cater to its population of five million people. I shudder to think how many functional public libraries Malaysia has. 

I used to volunteer at public libraries in Singapore and despite going there almost on a weekly basis, I continued to be amazed by how many interesting books there are and how easy it is to get a book that you want in any library there. This may be a bit bonus to a Singaporean, but I was rather impressed with the fact that you could request for a book to be delivered from another library to the library that is closest to your home so that you can borrow it at your convenience. You don't have to travel all the way across town just to get a book that is only available there. 

And now, they have iPads that are pre-loaded with 2.2 million ebooks. I don't even think Malaysian libraries have 2.2 million books.