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.