NLB is giving out free books at these two places this Saturday, but there’s a catch

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When was the last time you visited a library? If you cannot remember, this is probably the reason why NLB is giving out free books in its latest efforts to encourage Singaporeans to cultivate the habit of reading books.

NLB is introducing this scheme in which they will be giving out three free books to those who are interested. The books they are giving out will be titles from a wide range of genres from children books to non-fiction.

So what’s the catch? In order to receive these free books, you will have to sign an online pledge promising to read more often. Here are some facts about this event that will interest all bookworms.

What is happening
The free books distributed by the NLB are part of a wider campaign known as the National Reading Movement the organisation is rolling out in a bid to encourage and spread a culture of active reading among Singaporeans.

There will be a total 10,000 books given out for this activity. In order to get your hands on the books, you can head down to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park between 8-11 am and East Coast Park between 4-7pm on Saturday where mini-libraries (vans packed with these books) will be parked at the above-mentioned locations.

Why is this happening
Recent findings showed that the number of books loaned out from libraries across the entire country has seen a steady decline in past years.

A total of 32.5 million books from public libraries were loaned out in 2015, this is a drastic fall from the 38.5 million books being loaned out back in 2012, which was recorded by NLB as the peak of book borrowing here in Singapore.

Data gathered by the NLB through the National Literary Reading and Writing Survey has also seen a worrying decline, with many respondents commenting that they have not read a literary book during the period of March 2014 and March 2015.

How can we help ourselves
Despite these statistics showing a bleak future for book lovers here, there’s still hope. You must not forget that even if there is a decline in the loaning of books, an increasing number of people are purchasing ebooks from sites like Amazon for their devices, which may be part of the explanation why this trend was spotted.

But of course, we’re not unhappy because, hey, free books! Right?

Get yourself reading
Reading is a lifelong activity most of us neglect after graduating from education. Why? Because we don’t see a need to, right?

Well, there’s a need to now because by studies have shown that by the time our primary school kids today join the workforce, a huge number of them will be working in jobs that don’t exist today, which translates to a huge, disruptive change in skills requirement for employment in the future.

So get reading, keep up with your industry or just upskill, you’ll thank us for it later. Start by downloading a couple of free apps on your mobile device to read on your phone. Ditch those games and shows and get into the habit of reading (news, if need be).

As mentioned by Mr Kenneth Quek, the deputy director of the National Book Development Council, reading is not a habit that many have simply because there are too many distractions such as the TV and social media around today that compete with reading for your attention.

This article was first published on

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