An independent consultative panel has been formed to advise the National Library Board (NLB) in reviewing library materials.
In a statement yesterday, NLB said it set up the panel on April 1 this year, to provide recommendations on materials that will reflect community views.
The Library Consultative Panel comprises 19 members from "a broad cross-section of society", said NLB, and each member will serve a two-year term. The panel may also decide to seek views from the public through focus groups and interviews.
The move comes over half a year after an uproar last July, when NLB removed three children's titles which contained homosexual references. In the wake of that incident, it promised to set up a panel to evaluate potentially controversial titles.
One of the books removed, And Tango Makes Three, is about a male penguin couple raising a chick. Another, The White Swan Express, features two women, who are partners, adopting a baby.
The episode led to two petitions: one for and the other against the decision. Some writers and academics showed their displeasure by dropping out of NLB-related events.
The independent panel is chaired by Mildred Tan, managing director of Ernst and Young Advisory.
Said Mrs Tan: "Our libraries are public learning spaces for the community. They serve people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds, as well as diverse needs and interests. By providing perspectives from our experiences, I hope that this panel will enable NLB to come to balanced decisions in the review of library materials."
The other panel members are: Adeline Foo, author; Asnida Daud, education technology officer at the Ministry of Education; Chan Cheow Pong, associate news editor of Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao; Claire Tham, author and partner at Hin Tat Augustine & Partners; Danny Yeo, founder of Pure Talents; Genevieve Low, undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University; Hadijah Rahmat, deputy head of the Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group at the National Institute of Education; Imran Chng, senior manager of CPG Facilities Management; Karen Sik, principal clinical psychologist at the Ministry of Social and Family Development; Kumaran Rasappan, orthopaedic surgery resident at Tan Tock Seng Hospital; Lim Chin Chuan, Transcab taxi driver; Michelle Khoo, postgraduate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Penny Goh, partner and head of corporate real estate at Allen & Gledhill; Raja Mohamad Maiden, managing director of Five Pillars; Shanmugam K., head of programme (Tamil) at SIM University; Su Zhangkai, founder of Sprout Language Centre; Tan Boon Khai, head of global procurement at CapitaLand; and Tan Ling Ling, clerk at Mayflower Primary School.
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