Ngee Ann Kongsi (NAK) Library @ LASALLE College of Arts
DATE : 12Oct 2011 (Wed)  TIME: 10.15-1.00pm


I visited the NAK Library at LASALLE College of Arts on the 12th Oct (Wed) and was warmly received by Ms Malar Villi NADESON, the Library Director.

Learning points
I learnt much about the Arts Library through my conversation and tour of the library provided by the Ms Malar, Library Director herself.

Goals and users

The library’s primary goals are:

  1. To support diploma, degree and masters program’s learning and teaching through up to date resources (required readings and recommended readings).

2  To provide timely and cost-effective access to research resources and online databases. Identify and recommend freely available resources on the Net as well as the National Library portal.

3      To provide appropriate technical support and resources for information storage and retrieval within a transformed collection. This includes the capability to provide appropriate training to the university community in accessing these resources. (Strong IT Infrastructure and Support).

The Library exists to support the educational philosophy of the LASALLE College of the Arts, which is committed to education in the visual arts, performance arts and research in the arts. The Library acquires, organizes and makes available materials in the areas of the arts. Although identified as a general academic arts library, it is also to some degree an academic research library because of its comprehensive concentration in the arts. The library accomplishes this purpose by providing carefully selected materials and flexible, diverse services to aid all levels of students, as well as faculty and staff, in their pursuit of education, research, information in the arts. The Library in its overall goal has included the stimulation of all students to develop the skills needed to acquire and apply knowledge throughout their lives. The Library supports the teaching, learning and research activities of the students and faculty which comprise a community of artists, designers, musicians, dancers, actors, film makers, animators and  arts managers. The LASALLE community comprises about 2,300 students with about 30 percent international students.

The library’s main focus is on acquiring resources relevant to the curricula needs of all the 26 degree and masters program offered by the college. The library works in close collaboration with the faculties in acquiring all the resources reflected as required readings and 80-100% of recommended readings. The library acts as a facilitator, collaborator, information hub and disseminator of information. Apart from this, the library engages staff on a quarterly library acquisition activity, to continue the growth of the collection. Staff are alerted to new publications and links to university press websites are sent via email. Catalogues from publishers are also made available in the library for selection. Regular book fairs and books on approval plans are other methods deployed by the library to alert academic staff to new publications in their respective fields.

The collection
The library has a collection size of about 50 000 with  2000 DVD Collection, 3000 music CD collection, 100 over journal titles, online journals and eDatabases, such as Ebscohost, Projectmuse and Questia. The library’s main focus is to build a niche collection in the Contemporary Arts. The subject areas covered are Visual Arts and Performing Arts. The predominant resources are still the print collection –art books and periodicals. The library has converted their entire VHS collection built over the years into DVDs. Programs pertaining to LASALLE, documentation on arts education over the past 25 years, graduation shows and exhibitions have also been converted to DVDs. Unlike the Sciences, the Arts collection does not get obsolete and may even have historic value. The library periodically removes books that are in very bad condition, and based on circulation if resources have not been used for a long time, will be sent to the stack collection. Books that are in very bad condition, if still in use will be replaced with new copies, if not withdrawn from the collection. A committee has been set up to review physical preservation of in-house publication and production through digitization. The work is currently being discussed and they are in the midst of reviewing service providers such as DSpace and Digital Commons

The library has 3 professional librarians, 2 para-professionals and 2 student helpers.
Being a relatively new and small library with a steady growing collection, the staff receives training on site and attends professional development courses organized by LAS, NLB and NTU.

Reference Service
The library provides the standard face to face reference service at the counter as well as through email. FaceBook and blogs. The library director works very closely with postgraduate students in obtaining various resources needed. Small group information and research skills classes are conducted collaboratively with faculty staff.

Network & IT Infrastructure
The library is heavily dependent on the campus wide network and IT infrastructure for their services. The library is currently using the SPYDUS Integrated Library software (by Civica) for key library modules such as cataloguing, serials and acquisition. Most of the subject guides and instructional materials are disseminated via the library blog set up and maintained by the library director.

User Education & Location
User Education is carried out during the new students’ orientation period during which students are brought through a structured library induction programme. Information on collection, services and facilities are also posted on the library blog site. Information flyers and library display of new arrivals are other strategies adopted.

The contemporary design and aesthetic appeal of the library serve as additional draw to the students. Its central location to the main admin and faculty blocks add to its accessibility and popularity among the students.

One interesting take-away from the visit is with regard to the arts collection which is generally not weeded unless it is in bad condition through frequent use. Unlike other academic libraries, the information content of art books does not get dated and are less likely to become obsolete. Another interesting fact discovered through the visit is NAK Library’s intent to niche itself as a Contemporary Arts Library.