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Singapore to Produce More Local Bilingual eBooks

Through a three-year strategic partnership, Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB) and Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism (LKYFB) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide additional Mother Tongue Language (MTL) resources and programmes to promote bilingualism from a young age and increase the number of local MTL writers.

“Our partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism will help to grow our Singapore collection and nurture a pool of writers of such works. In turn, this will grow the Learning Marketplace for all to read, discover and learn about our multi-cultural heritage and culture,” says Catherine Lau, NLB Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Archives and Libraries Group).

Children, their parents, and educators can anticipate additional publications, including eBooks, written by local authors in diverse mother tongue languages. To commemorate the beginning of this relationship, NLB will add 10 new titles translated from English to Chinese, Malay, and Tamil to its collection.

Beginning on 27 September 2022, users can borrow these titles via the NLB Mobile app and at any of the NLB’s public libraries beginning on 31 October 2022. Additionally, more titles will be added in the coming years.

Under the MOU, LKYFB will offer funding to convert print books it previously funded to eBooks, which will be accessible to the public via the NLB’s mobile app and at future physical and digital storytelling sessions beginning in January 2023.

Through the MOU, local authors who publish works for children in Chinese, Malay, and Tamil can likewise anticipate increased funding. NLB and LKYFB will collaborate to create an ecosystem of support for local MTL writers to assist them in creating and contributing works that promote the discovery of mother tongue languages and related cultural heritage.

NLB will organise book releases and include these titles in its programming and outreach initiatives. The NLB can provide interested authors with more information about the support.

The Learning Marketplace aspires to serve as a national platform for lifelong learning and is one of four roles under the NLB’s LAB25 initiative (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025). The remaining roles include Singapore Storytellers, Informed Citizenship, and Equaliser.

Singapore believes that a child’s early years are crucial for establishing a solid foundation in language development. This partnership with NLB will allow the nation to increase the number of children and parents who have access to MTL and bilingual books sponsored by the LKYFB in order to foster an early appreciation for language learning.

The NLB has been persistent in its efforts to promote reading and provide Singaporeans with knowledge. Since its establishment in 1995 as a statutory board to modernise Singapore’s public libraries, management of the National Archives in 2012, and construction of a network of new regional and community libraries under the Library 2000 Masterplan, NLB has always kept pace with the nation’s progress.

The NLB goes a step further with LAB25 by building an omnichannel network of library and archives services as Singapore’s economy restructures and society adapts to the COVID-19 epidemic.

NLB wishes to assist Singaporeans from all social strata in navigating the nation’s rapidly changing social, cultural, and economic landscapes.

The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, on the other hand, supports resources ranging from pleasant movies to interactive games that can help children develop their enthusiasm for learning dual languages, supplementing efforts of the Ministry of Education (MOE).

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