15 May 2021
New President of the Library Association of Singapore
If you took a look at my background, there were elements that possibly led to my becoming in late 2018, the Head Librarian of the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM); and then in 2019, the Vice-President of the Library Association of Singapore (2019 to 2021); and ultimately, as of 27 March 2021, the President of the Library Association of Singapore, a post that I will hold up to 2023.
When I was first approached by my company to take over as the Head Librarian, my first thoughts were when I am going to get started with my professional qualifications. Mind you, I was pursuing my doctorate during the same period. Never one to say no to a challenge, I took it up, gleefully.
Since I was young, I have always been an avid fan of the library. My mom would bring me to the National Library (at the then historical location at Fort Canning) at least once a week and I would fit as many books as I could into my bag. Trust me, even until today, nothing much has changed! During my school days, apart from the National Library, the National Archives and the school library were my other two best friends where I sought comfort, knowing that the books were and will always be my faithful companions.
When I told my friends that I was going to become a Head Librarian, nobody seemed surprised as my life revolved around books in some way or another throughout the years. My previous experience included handling the marketing, publicity, advertising, events management, and public relations aspects of all the authors that my company distributed, both local and global.
When I decided to pursue my masters, I moved on to sales. After which, I was headhunted by a few companies from various industries ranging from airlines to banks as well as education. No prizes for guessing which industry I ended up with.
At the Singapore Institute of Management, I initially started as a learning and development consultant whereby I helped the human resources development heads to best plan out the training and development needs of their people by providing the best offerings that helped them close the skills gaps.
Seeing an opening in the publications department, I decided to pivot and take over the publications team—I applied and got the job! Being Editor and Publications Head (a position I still hold together with my Head Librarian post), I managed to see things from the other perspective, especially since in my previous role, I was on the other side of the fence looking after public relations and publicity. Plus, I get to maximise what I have learnt in journalism school.
Until today, I still manage the senior quarterly management magazine Today’s Manager as well as the management portal Management360 (http://m360.sim.edu.sg). I was Editor of the management journal Singapore Management Review which is currently on a hiatus.
Now the reason why I am sharing my background is because I see the library shifting to not only being knowledge curators but knowledge creators as well. This is where I am pivoting my library towards and I am looking towards working with my association to do the same too.
Given my background, I will be looking towards not merely developing librarians in terms of library related activities or programmes, but expanding their scopes by looking at the possibility of introducing a range of speakers or facilitators who will help them relook at their own roles and see how else and what else they can contribute to this amazing world.
I have met many librarians locally and globally in my current role. I have found that most of them are just ready to share their knowledge so readily. I am looking to do the same in my capacity not just as Head Librarian at SIM but more importantly, as the President of the Library Association of Singapore.
In 2021 alone, there is an E-book and a joint conference in the works that celebrates the 65th anniversary of both the Library Association of Singapore and the Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia.
I am excited about what is going on in the library world, and I am even more excited about the prospect of playing an instrumental role in the changes to come. I look forward to being able to get to know more of you and finding various ways to collaborate.