It appears as though the National Library Board had consistently declined to comment on other books that were withdrawn, and offered a reply ("Removal of books: NLB replies"; Wednesday) only after The Straits Times brought the issue to light.
It has also failed to explain the process that led to the withdrawal of these other titles. Did it consult any internal or external experts before the decision was made that such books were age-inappropriate? And why were they removed from the catalogue instead of being reclassified?
For a statutory board, the NLB's lack of transparency and accountability is troubling.
Public trust in the NLB has been adversely affected, and the lack of explanations only aggravates the loss of trust.
As the institutional custodian of knowledge and literature, it cannot persist with its opaque review process.
For a start, the NLB should consider coming out with a quarterly list of books that were challenged, withdrawn, or reclassified.
Also, it should be more transparent in its review process and look into allowing the public to intercede in it. This would not only restore public confidence but also allow the NLB to be a public institution that is truly deserving of its world-class acclaim.
Ili Atiqah Mohd Razid (Ms)
This article was first published on July 18, 2014.
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