When I last visited my friend SF in KL, I was appalled at how untidy her 5ft desk was. Strewn on the tables were letters, papers, receipts and junk mails. Where does she have space for actual work? Since I was free and with her permission, I set about organizing and filing everything for her. I know I make a good secretary but that would be 大材小用 right? Better to be at home nurturing the next generation of leaders. Anyway, I came across some receipts that were months old. Can I throw them away?
‘No, I need to file them for tax rebate. The government encourages reading by rebating us for book purchases,’ said SF.
My first thought was: That’s great! If only the Singapore government do that too! My shelves are bursting with books and the rebate I could get from the book purchases can fund a holiday.
Then the rational part of me argued, ‘Wouldn’t it be more effective to encourage reading by building more libraries?’
I’m not comparing with Malaysia, but credit must be given when due. The library Board in Singapore is first class. Just within 10 km of my house, I can access to 4 libraries – Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Bukit Batok and Jurong, with another one coming up in Clementi by next year.
The libarary has the most up to date books. The most recent one that was reviewed in Times – Packing for Mars by Mary Roach is already available. There are of course a beeline for the popular books but one can always reserve it online.
In fact, the online system is so effective one can search, reserve, extend and even review a book all from the comfort of your home. It even sends out reminders three days before the books are due via email. You only need to visit your libary of choice to pick up the books. One can return the books at any library, not necessarily from the same one you borrowed from.
I’m surprise at the wide choice available. The sticker at the spine directs you to the genre you are looking for. Eg: The shape of a heart for romance; a falling star for fantasy; sihouette of Sherlock Holmes for crime, etc. While there are no Mills and Boons, there are the new Little Black Dress romance series, and even Lorie Foster’s thrashy books (love her books!).
Not a reader of books? There are tons of local and foreign magazines to choose from. My yoga mates love the baking and cookery magazines and books. There are audio books and DVDs if you are really not into reading.
The librarians are helpful and friendly – a really great bunch of people.
I’m kicking myself for not using the library sooner and saving myself money and cupboard space. Now that my library board NLB is on Facebook, it’s even more convenient as my friends can see what I’m reading.
If you are not already a library member, you have my sympathy.