When was the last time you visited a library?
If you attribute poor reading habits to having no time to borrow books, downloading the National Library Board (NLB) Mobile app will give you access to e-books for you to read on the go.
After downloading the app, there are two ways to sign up for the membership. You can either use your SingPass or NRIC. Note that membership is only available for Singaporeans and Permanent Resident aged 15 and above only. If you do not meet any of these requirements, you will have to sign up at a physical library.
Beyond free e-books, there are also local and international newspapers for your viewing pleasure, audiobooks and podcasts for the audio-visual learner, and other exclusive benefits.
#1 BORROW AND READ E-BOOKS
E-books are categorised into genres, such as "Cookery", "Non-English Fiction", and "Travel". You will be able to see the latest arrivals and bestsellers and reserve those books on your app. If choosing a genre is too tough for you, you can scroll through the recommended reads to narrow down your choices.
If you borrow a book in a library, you will have to remember when to return your book. But when you borrow an eBook or audiobook, you will not need to worry about deadlines as all borrowed material will be automatically returned, which means no more overdue fines or penalties!
That being said, you can still borrow physical books using the app by scanning the barcode of the book using the in-app barcode scanner. The book will be checked out for you.
Since April this year, all members can enjoy a bigger loan quota of up to 16 e-books and eAudiobooks, as well as 16 physical books under the basic plan.
#2 READ ENEWSPAPERS & EMAGAZINES
Under the "eNewspapers & eMagazines" section, you will be redirected to PressReader, a separate app you will have to download.
You will be able to browse and download more than 6,000 newspapers and magazines by categories, countries, or languages. With such great flexibility and convenience, you will always stay ahead in current affairs.
If you do not have a Straits Times subscription but wish to read premium articles, using the NLB Mobile app is a hack to overcome this constraint. However, daily papers are only available on the same day of publication. All publications are sponsored by the National Library Board of Singapore.
#3 ENJOY E-LEARNING SERVICES FOR FREE
Within the app, there is an "eLearning" section for members to get access to online courses such as business and creative design. You will be redirected to lynda.com, where you will have to create an account.
After which, you are free to explore video tutorials on the most in-demand skills, such as data analytics, technology, and design.
This feature acts as a free classroom for you to learn new skills on the go, without having to fork out a single cent. Who knows, you might embark on a learning path and discover a passion you never once knew you had.
#4 BE INFORMED ABOUT LIBRARY EVENTS
It can be frustrating having to google for the latest library event all the time. In the NLB app, there is an in-built calendar where you will be able to see upcoming events and all the necessary details.
Certain events are catered to a particular demographic. For example, the Original Comics Festival that will be held on 28 July at Jurong Regional Library might interest cartoon fanatics or aspiring illustrators.
You can register for the event directly on the app and just show up on the day of the event. It is that hassle-free. You do not even have to google for the library's address because the app will show the location of nearby libraries.
HAVING THE LIBRARY IN YOUR POCKET
If you have always resorted to buying books online because you have no time to head to the library, the NLB Mobile app is the perfect app for you.
Beyond the four benefits, using the app also allows you to gain points. During promotional periods, the points may be redeemed for rewards, such as Book Bugs II cards in 2018.
If you'll like to chope a book, you can reserve library items. You can even bookmark your favourite books for the convenience of borrowing it again in the future. If you want to update your contact details, you may do so directly on the app.
Lastly, you can track library accounts for your whole family in just one app. The NLB Mobile app is available on iOS and Android, which allows all Singaporeans to read and acquire knowledge on the go.
Currently, the National Reading Challenge is still ongoing, so read a book or eBook and stand a chance to win $200 worth of shopping vouchers and other attractive prizes.
This article was first published in Dollars & Sense.