Monday, February 12, 2007

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library Excursion

Er ok, it seems that people are actually expecting me to blog about this... but I was going to blog about it anyway. So here goes.

Before we start...


Nawww naww... NPs are nice people... mostly... just... stick to your own canteens ya. Cos we need to eat as well dammit.

As written in the Mission Brief, General Lim started our briefing at LT4.12 at 1140h sharp. We soon moved out to our buses - Joanne&Dionne, Sabrina&EeLin, HansGrahamMe, and MandyJoseMelvinJane&gang sat in our bus. Even with Kevin, Dr Holbert and Jill Peters (UGC lecturer), the bus had alot of empty space. Not complaining.

We got to the library really early. Actually, everything went far ahead of the schedule. We finished at... 1415 or something like that. But more on that later.

So we hung around Han's (not Hans's restaurant unfortunately) till it was time and the librarian-guides came down to meet us. We moved up and kept hushing each other along the way like some Primary 2 kids.

Up to the Possibility Room on the 5th floor, and just outside was the Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery, exhibiting works of early Singaporean writers, I presume. Never got down to walking into the exhibition.

In the Room of Possibilities (or Possibility Room), ironically black-themed, we had our briefing, where the naturally soporific voices of the librarians, I'm terribly sorry to say, sorely tempted half of the class to fall asleep.

Apart from the green theme that seemed to pervade our class today, if you look carefully you'll notice Hai fighting the battle of his life. And hmm... what is Mr McKelvey doing? ;P

So we somehow got through the talk. The content was interesting, looks like we have kickass resources to help us about our research. It was just the librarians' voices. I always regret not recording these voices. They're really good for insomnia. After the talk we split into groups of 15 and went about our tours of levels 7 and 11. Unfortunately the observatory pods at level 16 which I daresay was a major reason for coming was closed for a CNY polish. Public tours however are available on... Fridays and Saturdays I think.

View from the lift

So we first moved up to level 11, where the Singapore and Southeast Asian Collections reside. This includes local magazines (they actually bothered to bind Teenage magazine into leather volumes) and literature from the region. For local publications, The National Library Act mandates for 2 copies to be given to the National Library to keep as heritagal reference.

Outside every reference library (floors 7-13) there are lockers to store one's belongings, while bringing only pen and paper in. For the tour we were spared the trouble.

Along every bridge leading to the library area there would be this sign...

And then the reference section name.

The designers, who were Malaysians, designed the bridge to seperate the reference library and the entry area because the research area is made to be as quiet as it can possibly be. Also there is temperature regulation in the interest of book preservation. All the noisier activities - toilets, escalators, lockers, are located on the other side of the bridge, with warmer temperature, and where one can afford to make more noise. The Information Counter, in my opinion, is an artistic masterpiece, but photography in the library itself is disallowed, so it's a real pity.

In the reference library there is a ground floor of books, open to the public. There are two more floors however, with special archives of a rarer nature. Only 'serious' researchers with credentials as proof are allowed up there, where there are individual cubicles to work in utmost quiet. There is, however, a dark microfilm room with about 8 or 10 reading machines to view microfilm archives. Rarer books can sometimes be accessed this way; the only reason why the actual copy is kept from just any person is because of preservation purposes. So they sometimes make a microfilm copy and then whoever needs to read it can zip through the pages as fast as they want without worrying about tearing anything. There is also an AV room to view VHSs or video discs, or listen to CDs. The 11th floor is the only floor with AV materials, and none are loanable.

We didn't get to go to the 16th floor pod, but we did get a glimpse of what we would have seen from the splendid view from the 11th floor windows. We were allowed to point our cameras out to take the scenery, just not the libary itself. I was tempted to snipe some pictures, but I thought it wasn't worth if I were to be caught by... ISA... or something.

Proceeded to the 7th floor - Social Sciences and Humanities, Science and Technology Collections. The order of things again...

Yes the first two pictures are the same.

The 7th floor looks smaller than the 11th. But the collections were impressive all the same. I noted that magazines weren't bound as those on the 11th floor were, and the librarian explained that binding was generally saved for heritagal material, since it wasn't cheap.

Thus ended the tour. We went back to the 5th floor to fill the survey forms out, and wrapped up for the day. And that was it. Ended very early.

On our way walking to Peace Centre, Graham and I passed the Singapore Art Museum (should be ba...). And the exhibit outside were these four... things that looked remotely like girls. Graham didn't capture it, but the two girls I was posing in between had their right arms pointing diagonally downwards to the left, so I um... tried to mimic them. But whatever, it still turned out not bad.


Kevin said...

OMG, that's just plain hilarious... "if you look carefully you'll notice Hai fighting the battle of his life." Great photos there!

Renhao said...

hah thanks! had great fun writing this post.

Melissa said...

Hahaha! Yes I agree with Mr. Kevin, that comment was hilarious! XD
Cool post about our little excursion :)