SINGAPORE: The National Library Board (NLB) has launched a children’s book subscription service that will allow customers to get a monthly doorstep delivery of eight curated books.
Subscribers of The Little Book Box will get eight English children’s books monthly, which will include fiction and non-fiction reads, NLB said in a news release on Thursday (Oct 1).
“The books span a broad range of children’s interests and are catered for two age groups – from four to six years old and seven to nine years old," it said.
The books from the service do not fall within the usual loan quota, NLB added. This means subscribers would still be able to borrow up to 16 books from the library.
The loan duration for these books, excluding the delivery time, will be 21 days. Overdue fines will be incurred as usual, said NLB.
The books can be returned to any of the 25 public libraries in Singapore, it added.
READ: All public libraries to resume regular opening hours from Sep 1; COVID-19 measures to remain in place
Before the introduction of The Little Book Box, NLB said it conducted a survey earlier this year to ascertain if there was a demand for such a service.
“More than 2,000 responses were received and the majority were receptive to this idea,” NLB said.
The service would make it “more convenient and accessible for parents to get a variety of books for their children”, NLB’s CEO Ng Cher Pong said.
He added: "Families have busy lifestyles and parents have to juggle work with childcare. Some might find it difficult to go to the libraries together with their children regularly.
“Many may also be staying at home more during this period.”
The pilot service – priced at S$10.70 per month – will be available for registration from Friday and is expected to run for nine months from November to July next year.
There will be a minimum subscription period of three months, and the subscription will be automatically renewed after that for another three months unless it is terminated.
NLB said it has also ensured the subscription service is accessible to children from low-income families by partnering with the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund to sponsor up to 200 children from such households with a free nine-month book subscription service.
Based on the response to the pilot service, NLB said it will “consider extending” the service beyond July 2021 and expand the scale.
Public libraries in Singapore resumed regular opening hours since Sep 1 with safe distancing and capacity control measures continuing to remain in place.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public libraries were closed from Apr 7, which was the start of the country's "circuit breaker".
They reopened on Jul 1 with shorter opening hours, as well as limits on the number of people allowed and duration of visits.
Under the current revised restrictions, libraries are operating on the "borrow and go" basis, which means that people will be able to borrow and return physical materials, as well as use reservation and book drop services.
Each person is also limited to a 30-minute and a two-hour restriction to the public libraries and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library respectively.
All seating and study areas, including newspaper and multimedia stations, are not available. All programmes, guided tours and events remain suspended.