A new era for age-old habit

Sunday, May 27, 2012

By SUZANNA PILLAY | suzanpillay@nstp.com.my 0 comments

KUALA LUMPUR: EASY access to web-based information has not affected library membership, with the National Library enjoying a significant increase in the registration of new members last year.

.The National Library of Malaysia saw a 38 per cent increase in the registration of new members last year, including from Generation Y.

1 / 1

National Library of Malaysia director-general Datuk Raslin Abu Bakar told the New Sunday Times that there was a 38 per cent increase in the registration of new library members last year.

“Last year, 78,272 people registered as members compared with the 56,676 people in 2010,” he said in an interview.

He said in terms of book borrowing, there was also a 33.2 per cent increase in the number of books borrowed last year, where 1,034,517 books were borrowed compared to 776,347 in 2010.

“By the end of December last year, the National Library reached its millionth membership with a total of 1,000,278 members.”

However, the National Library has taken cognisance of the proliferation of tablet computers, and smartphones, and acknowledges that the penetration of netbooks due to cheap pricing and e-readers like Kindle may be heralding a new age of digital reading.

“Bearing this in mind, the National Library will now not only offer books and resources in all genres, but also in the electronic medium, where people can access information outside the library, anywhere and anytime with the help of their notebook computers, iPhones, BlackBerry’s and iPads.

“This means library users could save on travelling time to the library and instead spend more time reading in the comfort of their own home.

“Members of Generation Y nowadays like to read and get information through electronic gadgets such as iPads, telecommunication devices and the Internet. Online libraries and news publications are redefining reading habits, too, since people slot different hours during the day to catch up on news reading, unlike old times when the newspaper was religiously read with the morning cup of tea.”

To keep abreast with the Internet era, the National Library is implementing a revolutionary new documentation system based on digital and new media to document all materials in its collection including e-books, e-resources and e-journals.

Raslin said the switch to this new system, known by its acronym RDA (Resource Description and Access), is intended to benefit library users by providing a guide to all types of sources including digital and online web-based sources.

The new documentation system replaces the old AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) which the National Library has been using since it opened and has been used by libraries throughout the world since 1967.

Dr Barbara Tillett, chair of the joint steering committee for developing the RDA, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently to introduce the new cataloging system at a seminar, said the new RDA system will keep libraries relevant in the era of the Internet.

“The AACR2 was not sufficient to cater to new e-formats. We have been working since 1997 to develop an international content standard for describing all kinds of resources in every kind of format not only for libraries, but also archives and museums for describing materials in their collections, and also for preparing for the future where we can all be interconnected on the Internet,” added Tillet, who is also the chief, policy & standards division of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

She said the RDA system will be fully implemented in the Library of Congress in March 2013 and that Malaysia was the first Southeast Asian country to adopt the cataloging system.

Read more: A new era for age-old habit – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/a-new-era-for-age-old-habit-1.88041#ixzz1w7wGdV5r

Are Malaysians reading enough?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Question: Has the role of the library changed in the Internet era?

.The increase in the sale of books and the number of book fairs by book publishing consortiums indicate that books are still needed and are part of lives in Malaysia.

1 / 1

Answer: The role of the library never changes through the ages. What is changing is the way information is stored and disseminated due to rapid change and advancement in technology.

Question: How have reading trends in Malaysia changed?

Answer: I strongly believe people, especially the young generation, are still interested in reading. If we take into consideration the increase in the number of bookshops, the increase in the sale of books and the number of book fairs conducted by book publishing consortiums, they all indicate that books are still needed and are part of their lives.

However, nowadays reading trends in all countries, including Malaysia, are changing. People prefer to embrace the wonders of the Internet than read print copies of books or any other reading material.

Malaysia has, however, not yet conducted any research on reading trends, especially the Internet reading rate, and we hope that we can do so this year.

Question: Why are Malaysians not reading more?

Answer: It is not fair to say Malaysians are not reading more. Statistics show that in 2010, Malaysians read between eight and 12 books compared with only two in 1995. Cultivating the reading habit among people, especially the younger ones, is not easy but this is not a Malaysian problem alone. The whole world is facing this problem, especially developing countries.

A home library is no longer part of the compulsory architectural brief when one is building a home as it can be costly. It takes several books to stock up a library, whereas a single desktop computer can bring an ocean of information through the Internet to one’s desk at the click of a button.

However it is debatable whether digital reading is going to take over the print medium, particularly since it is seen that typically, people use the web to scan for relevant information. Web habits show that people tend to spend no more than a few minutes on each site.

Question: What is the National Library’s role in educating its community and how do you think the library ties into the community’s goals, missions and needs?

Answer: As the users of the National Library of Malaysia comprise all age groups and different educational and academic backgrounds, the library provides books and e-resources in all genres.

Libraries play fundamental roles in society and should ensure equality of access for all citizens. They are the collectors and stewards of heritage and also organisers of knowledge, adding value to their communities by cataloguing, classifying and describing books and resources they collect.

Their role is to collect knowledge of the past and present and lay it down for the future, according to the needs of society,

Question: Do you think the National Library has been unfairly burdened with the task of getting the nation to read and build more intellectual minds?

Answer: As the Secretariat for the National Reading Promotion, we seriously undertake the responsibility to coordinate and conduct various reading promotion programmes and activities at national, state and rural levels to help Malaysians develop intellectually and to help Malaysia become a developed nation, as envisaged in Vision 2020.

This is reflected in our Reading Promotion tagline “A Reading Society, A Successful Society” (Bangsa Membaca, Bangsa Berjaya). The Reading Campaign concept and implementation strategy under the auspices of the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry has been given a new and fresh approach every year.

Since 2006, the campaign has intensified, with programmes and activities conducted to create more impact in cultivating and nurturing reading.

Question: Who else plays a part in building more intellectual minds through reading?

Answer: We have involved various institutions and 10 non-governmental organisations in making reading activities and promotion programmes successful.

We have smart partnerships with state libraries, ministries, government departments and private agencies as well as schools, universities, the book industry, clubs, individuals, associations and other institutions to encourage public participation in reading activities and programmes in order to generate awareness of the importance of reading.

It is also to encourage Malaysians to read various types of materials and to make reading part of our culture.

A five-year plan of action for the reading campaign focused on, and is still focusing on planning and implementing reading programmes and activities which include educational and family institutions, the civil service, public libraries sector, publishing sector and the community at large.

Question: How successful has the library’s engagement of reading ambassadors been in promoting reading in Malaysia?

Answer: The Reading Ambassador is just one of the strategies to promote reading here. The National Library has appointed Malaysian icons Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al-Masrie, Malaysia’s first astronaut and actress Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh to encourage young people to read and also to participate in our reading programmes.

Although we are confident that their popularity will help generate interest and wide publicity in our reading campaign, it is difficult for us to quantify this with exact statistics reflecting their impact on the public’s reading habits.

Question: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also recently appointed as a reading ambassador. How do you think his appointment will inspire young people to read more?

Answer: Dr Mahathir is considered a suitable reading ambassador because he is admired by Malaysians of all age groups due to his illustrious achievements in nation-building. His success and great wisdom are strongly attributed to his great passion for reading. He is a role model and a source of inspiration for most Malaysians.

His appointment as a reading ambassador will have a significant impact on our reading promotion campaign.

Question: Are Malaysians less employable now because they have poor reading habits?

Answer: I do not agree with that statement because Malaysians do read, and there are many other reasons why Malaysians are less employable.

According to a recent government survey on Malaysian graduates, about 60,000 were unemployed due to lack of experience and soft skills, poor communication skills, poor English and because they had pursued studies irrelevant to the marketplace.

However, I strongly believe that if Malaysians inculcate reading as part of their daily lives, it could further enhance their command of English, increase their knowledge which will in turn help them to make up for their lack of experience and soft skills.

Read more: Are Malaysians reading enough? – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/are-malaysians-reading-enough-1.88043#ixzz1w7vKqNif

EDUCATION: The role of resource centres in schools

Friday, May 18, 2012

THE high-level Education Revamp Committee will review and deliberate on nine areas in our education system.

“Effectiveness of resources usage” is one area. Mention resources in school, and students and teachers will instantly refer to the Pusat Sumber Sekolah or PSS (School Resources Centre).

It was during the early 1990s that the Education Ministry instructed every school to set up its own PSS. In the beginning, it was merely the school library that was being upgraded.

Over the years, with advancements in multimedia resources, PSS in schools began to acquire materials, equipment, systems as well as sophisticated digital software and hardware.

PSS also evolved from a one-location centre to multifaceted facilities sited at strategic locations in school.

We have now a teacher resource centre, special-purpose/function rooms, computer labs, science labs and workshops — all considered to be part of PSS.

Every year, the Education Ministry provides PSS with grants based on the student population. It also supplies hardware and software from time to time. In addition, some schools collaborate with parent-teacher associations to raise funds for their PSS.

Through the years, much had been expanded and much effort had been put into PSS. The main objective is for PSS to help improve teaching and learning.

The Education Ministry, state departments and district education offices organise annual PSS competitions to select the “best PSS”.

A PSS is judged for its structural set-up, usage and effectiveness, among others. As a result of these evaluations, we have “good PSS” and “weak PSS”.

The position of a PSS depends very much on the efforts the teachers in charge put in and theemphasis the school administration places on it.

A “good PSS” is one that is well-equipped, has the relevant hardware and software and is frequented by students and teachers.

A “weak PSS” is the opposite.

This seems to be the norm today and is generally accepted as a kind of “standard” to strive for. But, it should be better.

An interesting observation I have noted: there has been no mention by our Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah/Penilaian Menengah Rendah/Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia/Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia “scholars” that their school PSS had contributed to their “successes” in their exams.

These students were quick to speak of help and support from teachers, parents, study mates and even tuition centres. But they did not mention their school PSS.

This is puzzling. Surely they had spent much time in their PSS. Why then did the “contributions” of PSS not come to their mind? Why did these students not feel “indebted” to their PSS?

This begs some interesting questions for us as educators, teachers and parents to ponder:

WHAT kind of work do the students do in PSS? Are they there just to do revision, homework or exercises? Are they there to use up the “free” period to read at leisure? Or is it a place for them to “socialise”?

DO the subject curricula demand that students use PSS to source for information individually or in groups?

DO examinations demand from students mere textbook knowledge that can be easily obtained from revision textbooks and books on exam questions, thus rendering PSS’ role insignificant?

ARE the scheduled (timetable) periods in PSS done just to satisfy a “statutory” requirement?

Or are these periods meant to help students expand their knowledge, leading to improved exam grades (in which case, “scholars” would not have forgotten to mention about PSS when they expressed their gratitude after getting their exam results)?

IN designing the curriculum, has PSS been factored in as a “tool” to extract and cultivate the varied potentials of the students?

If the role of PSS and its effectiveness are to be enhanced, the above questions should be deliberated comprehensively.

K.C. Liong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Read more: EDUCATION: The role of resource centres in schools – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-the-role-of-resource-centres-in-schools-1.85027#ixzz1vBXEFGDb

Enhance resource centres

Friday May 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/5/18/focus/11312805&sec=focus

I REFER to “DPM: Work to improve libraries and resource centres” (The Star, May 15).

Under the ongoing education revamp exercise, “effectiveness of resources usage” is one of the nine designated areas to be reviewed and deliberated on.

Mention about resources in school, students and teachers alike will instantly quote the Pusat Sumber Sekolah or PSS (the School Resource Centre). Not that this is the only resource that a school has, but it is the one that stands out.

It was during the early 1990s that the Education Ministry instructed every school, primary as well as secondary, to set up their own PSS. In the beginning, it was merely the school library that was being upgraded.

Over the years, with advancements in multi-media resources, PSS began to acquire materials, equipment, systems as well as sophisticated digital software and hardware.

PSS also evolved from being a one-location centre to a multi-faceted facility sited in strategic locations in the school.

We have now teacher resource centres (as distinct from student resource centre), special-purpose/function rooms, computer labs, science labs and workshops; all of which are considered part of the school’s PSS.

Every year the ministry provides PSS with monetary grants based on their student population. It also supplies some designated hardware and software from time to time.

In addition, some schools on their own initiative collaborate with their parent-teacher associations to raise funds for their PSS.

The main objective and hope was that PSS would help improve teaching and learning.

The ministry, state departments and district offices organise annual PSS competitions to select the “best” PSS. A school PSS is judged for its structural set-up, usage and effectiveness, amongst other criteria.

As a result of these evaluations, we have “good” PSS and “weak” PSS.

The position of a school’s PSS depends very much on the efforts the teachers in charge put in and the emphasis the school administration places on it.

A “good” PSS is assessed to be one that is well equipped, have all the available and relevant hardware and software and is also one that is much frequented and used by students and teachers.

A “weak” PSS will be the opposite.

An interesting observation is that there has been no mention by our UPSR/PMR/SPM/STPM “scholars” that their school PSS had contributed to their “successes” in exams.

These students were quick to speak of help and support from their teachers, parents, study mates and even their tuition centres. But, they have not mentioned of any help and support from their school PSS.

This is puzzling! Surely they had spent time in their PSS.

Why then the “contributions” of PSS do not come to their mind immediately? Why do our students not feel “indebted” to their school PSS?

This begs some interesting questions for us as educationists, teachers and parents to ponder.

What nature of work do the students do in the PSS? Are they there just to do revision/ homework/exercises? Or, are they there to use up the allotted “free” period to read at leisure, and in random? Or is PSS a place for them to “socialise”?

> Do the subject curricula demand that students use the PSS to truly source for information either individually or in groups?

> Do examinations demand from students mere textbook knowledge that can easily be obtained from revision texts and exam-questions-answers books, thus rendering the PSS insignificant?

> Are the scheduled (time-tabled) periods in PSS just to satisfy a “statutory” requirement?

> Are these periods meant to help students to expand their knowledge base, leading to improved exam grades (in which case, “scholars” won’t have forgotten to mention about PSS when they express their gratitude after their exam results)?

> In designing the curriculum, has PSS been factored in as a “tool” to extract and cultivate the varied potentials of the students?

If the role of school resource centres and the effectiveness of their usage are to be enhanced, the above questions should be deliberated on comprehensively.

LIONG KAM CHONG.

Seremban.

DPM: Work to improve libraries

Tuesday May 15, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/5/15/nation/11292430&sec=nation

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry should work together to enhance the role of libraries and resource centres in schools, says Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, proposed that both ministries work on a joint strategy to upgrade the function and role of libraries and resource centres.

“As of today, there are a total of 12,382 libraries nationwide. Of the total, some 9,721 are resource centres in schools.

“I believe that these resource centres have great potential to improve the quality of their services,” he said after launching the National Reading Icon and 1Malaysia values campaign at the National Library yesterday.

Muhyiddin said that to be a developed society, the reading standard among the public had to be on par or better than that in developed countries.

During the event, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was named as the National Reading Icon.

On another matter, Muhyiddin hit out at the Opposition for changing their stand on the development of Putrajaya.

“In the early stages, the Opposition constantly criticised the Government for the project and accused it of being Dr Mahathir’s white elephant and a waste of public funds. They even vowed to auction off Putrajaya if they came into power.

“But now, such vows are no longer heard. All that they talk about these days is about ‘the road to Putrajaya’,” he said, adding that the Opposition had seen how the administrative centre had grown to become the nation’s pride.

25 sekolah rendah terima manfaat daripada perpustakaan bergerak

Posted on April 20, 2012, Friday

SIBU: Sebanyak 25 sekolah rendah di bahagian ini telah menerima manfaat daripada perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak yang dikelolakan oleh Perpustakaan Awam Majlis Perbandaran Sibu (MPS).

Kebanyakan sekolah ini terletak di kawasan yang tidak mempunyai atau jauh dari perpustakaan awam selain daripada perpustakaan sekolah yang kekurangan sumber bahan bacaan.

Perpustakaan bergerak yang mempunyai lebih kurang 1,000 naskhah buku pelbagai genre itu bergerak seawal jam 8.30 pagi dan berhenti di sekolah terpilih dua minggu sekali kecuali pada cuti sekolah dan cuti umum.

Menurut Ketua Unit Perpustakaan Awam MPS Habsah Johor, perkhidmatan tersebut diwujudkan bagi menanam sikap suka membaca di kalangan orang ramai terutama murid-murid sekolah.

Sejak diwujudkan pada 1995, perkhidmatan ini telah mendapat sambutan menggalakkan daripada pihak sekolah.

“Perkhidmatan pinjaman buku kami beri secara percuma kepada murid Tahun 4,5 dan 6 dan guru-guru tetapi sekiranya sekolah tertentu kekurangan murid, murid Tahun 1 hingga 3 boleh turut serta,” ujar Habsah.

Habsah berkata, sekolah yang mendapat perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak perlu memenuhi kriteria tertentu sebelum pihaknya membekalkan perkhidmatan tersebut.

Antara kriteria-kriterianya adalah lokasi sekolah, mempunyai ruang luas bagi membolehkan perpustakaan bergerak diletakkan dan kawasan yang selamat.

“Sekolah yang berminat untuk mendapatkan perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak boleh memohon dengan menulis surat kepada Kementerian Kerajaan Tempatan dan Kemajuan Masyarakat,” katanya.

Selain daripada memberi perkhidmatan di sekolah-sekolah, perpustakaan bergerak ini juga melakukan aktiviti lain seperti pameran dalam program-program tertentu sekiranya ada permintaan.

“Pihak kami mengalu-alukan dan sedia membekalkan perkhidmatan ini kepada mana-mana sekolah mahupun organisasi yang berminat,” kata Habsah.

Habsah menambah, pihaknya telah memohon perpustakaan bergerak baharu untuk menggantikan yang lama bagi memberi perkhidmatan yang lebih baik dan selesa kepada penggunanya.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/04/20/25-sekolah-rendah-terima-manfaat-daripada-perpustakaan-bergerak/#ixzz1sXmwJXgI

Local publishers must submit five books to National Library

Wednesday December 7, 2011

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/7/nation/10048794&sec=nation

KUALA LUMPUR: Beginning next year, local publishers must submit at least five of their books to the National Library, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said many publishers failed to deposit their newly-published books causing problems for the National Library when it came to keeping records.

“We will take stern action against those who do not comply with the ruling as stated under the Deposit of Library Material Act 1986. Those found guilty will face various levels of fines but we do not want this to happen,” he told a press conference after launching The Star‘s coffee table bookHotshots, yesterday.

He also noted that the Government had allocated RM2mil next year as an incentive to produce more local writers under the writer’s welfare scheme.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

“The value sale of books generated in 2008 was RM1.6bil, RM2.1bil in 2009 while RM1.9bil was recorded last year,” he added.

Dr Rais said that the number of local writers in the country had reached 5,150 last year with about 208,755 books published.

“According to a research done by the National Library, a Malaysian only reads an average of four to five books per year. We hope more people will pick up the habit of reading, not just materials online but also from our local talents,” he said.