Author Archives: rajen

Singapore Management University Libraries hosts ‘A Day in the Life’ Programme

Recently, Bryan Leow, Associate Librarian, Law from Singapore Management University Libraries (“SMU Libraries”) hosted participants in the ‘A Day in the Life’ Programme (“the Programme”) from other Singapore university libraries.

About the ‘A Day in the Life’ Programme

The Programme was developed in 2013 by an executive planning team comprised of representatives from Nanyang Technological University Libraries (“NTU Libraries”), National University of Singapore Libraries (“NUS Libraries”) and Singapore Management University Libraries (“SMU Libraries”). The draft terms of reference also note that the Programme was “a collaborative staff development programme for Singapore Universities library staff which promotes broad understanding of academic library environments, open sharing of good practices, and connecting with colleagues across libraries”.

To this end, the Programme aims to:

  • Provide opportunities for staff to have exposure to the operations and management of other academic libraries in a short, condensed, practical and simple way;
  • Provide networking opportunities for those staff so that they can keep in touch with each other for subsequent follow-up and collaboration; and
  • Provide opportunities for the staff of host organisations in gaining experience and confidence to plan and present about their own library to visitors, i.e., the programme will be delivered (as much as practicable) not by Heads of Departments/Divisions but by the staff working in those units.

The Programme’s intended audience are professional library staff (or equivalent), with a preference for staff with no prior experience working in an academic library; as well as those who have worked in a particular library for a long time and would benefit from being exposed to another academic library.

The Programme takes place twice a year. During each run, three nominated institutions act as ‘host’ institutions. Each host institution puts together their own programme that typically provides and overview of their library, core functions of the library highlighting services and functional departments and provide networking opportunities. Participants get to spend a full day at each host institution (3-day programme) and the Programme is open to one participant per academic institution (maximum of seven participants per run). Each participant is required to prepare a brief reflective report which is submitted to the executive planning team and annually submitted to the University Librarians of participating institutions. Some participants also share their experiences using various platforms such as staff meetings or writing.

Back on Track and in their Own Words

This year, following a hiatus of the Programme during the COVID pandemic, SMU Libraries, together with The Ngee Ann Kongsi Library, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT Library) and NUS Libraries hosted the Programme in November 2022. As a recent hire, Bryan was nominated as the SMU Libraries participant. He also put together the SMU programme which involved presentations, sharing of best practices, demonstration of tools and applications used for work, tours, and an important Reflection segment at the end of the day, which was facilitated by Rajen Munoo, Head, Learning and Engagement.

Wearing his IFLA, Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (“CPDWL”) Section Member hat, Rajen asked participants to pen their thoughts to the following question: Why is it important to have continuing professional development activities?

Below are some of their thoughts in their own words:

Participant 1: “It is important to stay relevant as the world keeps changing…Important to exchange knowledge, be open to ideas, learn from the others”

Participant 2: “It is important for us to have professional development activities as they give us a chance to learn about what other institutions are working on, how we can collaborate, network and do better. It gives us an opportunity and open our mind and think creatively.”

Participant 3: “The library/academic scene is changing rapidly e.g., moving into electronic resources, more interdisciplinary learning. Development is needed to stay relevant and to keep up to date with the latest changes.”

Participant 4: “Share ideas with others. Share how challenges were resolved. Students and staff need continually changes, and so…library must keep up with the times.”

Participant 5: “No professional is an island. Like, research, the professional work also should be made open to grow and contribute to the society (library) as one.”

Participant 6: “Staying relevant is crucial as technology evolves – information is readily available in just one click. Professional development programmes allow us to connect with other librarians or experts where we can continue to learn.”

Participant 7: “Teaching and learning are always evolving, so is technology continually improving and adapting to the changes and in response to the needs of faculty and students. Hence, the library and librarians must always engage in exploring new avenues of thought, learning from one another so that all SG libraries are not left behind in this digital innovative age.”

Participant 8: “It is as simple as for personal self-development and remain relevant not just for the present state but also future. It allows us to collaborate and share greater knowledge with one another to deliver greater value to our stakeholders. A win win situation.”

Bryan too, noted that, “This Programme was very useful for me to better understand how other university libraries work, and to get a sense of the challenges they also face. I was also glad to get to know more people within the different universities, which would definitely come in handy for future collaborations between university libraries.”

From the reflections above, keywords such as change rapidly, sharing, collaboration, evolving, knowledge, staying relevant, digital innovation, how libraries work, keeping up with the times and more. Participant 5’s comment, is worth re-reading. As new professionals, it is important to start thinking about career paths and planning and having the relevant skills and competencies in hybrid working environments is essential as part of the digital transformation taking place in all libraries.

A Day in the Life Programme is an example of a CPDWL activity that has been a successful collaboration amongst university libraries in Singapore and is a simple model that can be adopted quickly by others.

Written by

  • Bryan Leow, Associate Librarian, Law, SMU Libraries
  • Rajen Munoo, Head Learning and Engagement, SMU Libraries

With inputs from the SMU Libraries programme participants:

  • Ms Jeyalakshmi Sambasivam, Senior Assistant Manager (NTU Libraries);
  • Ms Suhasini d/o Rajendran, Associate Librarian (Singapore University of Social Sciences Library);
  • Ms Stephanie Ow Tsin Li, Librarian (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (NIE NTU), Singapore;
  • Mr Muhammad Ridzwan bin Hussain, Senior Associate (Singapore University of Technology and Design Library);
  • Mr Allan Mones Quito, Senior Manager, Technology (SIT Library);
  • Ms Wendy Thun, Librarian (NUS Libraries);
  • Ms Poonam Lalwani, Curator (NUS Libraries) and
  • Ms Gladys Toh Mei Jun, Research Assistant (NUS Libraries).

Pandemic: Pain and Pride

2021 will be remembered as the year of vaccinations and stop-start-go measures we all experienced as we began to accept the new normal living with Corona or the COVID-19 pandemic bringing pain and pride for some, in the way we live, work and play whilst scientists try to find a cure.

As Chair, of the Council of Chief Librarian’s (CCL) Committee on Information Literacy (CIL), I initiated the Pandemic IL (Pain and Pride) in collaboration with the Library Association of Singapore (LAS). This is a curation of stories in 300 words by instruction librarians in Singapore that was published in the LAS Bulletin. Released on a weekly basis, this multi-part story series highlights the pivot to online during the pandemic and demonstrates the resilience, tenacity, commitment, and passion by instructing librarians to teach, educate and advocate not only information, media, and digital literacy, but multi-literacies using various digital learning strategies.

Enjoy their stories below:

Look out for the finale here.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Dr Sadie-Jane Nunis, President, Library Association of Singapore (2021-2023), and Ms. Kong Leng Foong, Publications for supporting this initiative and being a strong advocate in the continuing professional development of LIS workers in Singapore and beyond!

As we bring down the curtain in 2021, what were your Pain and Pride?

Enter your comments below.


Rajen Munoo

Head, Learning and Engagement, SMU Libraries

December/Winter 2021

What they said about Clare Thorpe’s ‘Curious, confident & committed: Transforming libraries into learning organisations’ webinar

Earlier on 13 October 2021, CPDWL and NPSIG invited Clare Thorpe, Director, Library Services at Southern Cross University in Australia to present a webinar entitled ‘Curious, confident & committed: Transforming libraries into learning organisations’ with the support of SMU Libraries and the Library Association of Singapore (LAS). Dr. Gillian Hallam did a summary of this well-attended webinar on her blog post on 20 October 2021 and this post concludes the series with a selection of responses based on the three feedback questions asked:

Q1 What are your key learnings?
Q2 Any ideas on how will you apply these in your professional practice?
Q3 What other webinar topics would you like us to organise?

Responding to the question “What are your key learnings?” the image below shows some of the deep reflections received:

In addition, participants remembered professional ‘gurus’ such as Senge and Ranganathan as noted: “To read books of Peter Senge” [Reference: Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Hint: Makes a nice gift anytime!]

This was underscored by other comments such as, “Learning is a continuous process, and we find the opportunity to learn. Reading is essential for our minds to grow.”

Another respondent remarked,

“I’ve learned the value of professional development and that learning is a never-ending process. We should consider learning to be a part of our daily routine and that we are in charge of our own learning. I’ve also gained an understanding of the concepts of curiosity, confidence, and dedication. It was also encouraged to learn independently. Be inquisitive, ask questions, and learn to share your experiences so that others may benefit from what you’ve learned.”

I couldn’t agree more with this comment especially during these times of the pandemic and the focus on digital transformation, “Being/Becoming learning organisations are important to libraries as this support the 5th Law of Library Science by S.R. Ranganathan, “The library is a growing organism”. It supports the growth and lifelong learning of library staff.” [Read more about the Five laws of library science in this article].

Thus one participant noted,

“Work must become more interesting and meaningful” and another highlighted, “Libraries are not just part of an organization, it is the heart and soul of an organization!”

The transfer of learning into the workplace is one of the key focus for CPDWL and responding to the second question, “Any ideas on how will you apply these in your professional practice?” there were 32 meaningful responses such as:

“Ensuring that policies take note of all stakeholders. Keeping an eye on existing policies to ensure that they are egalitarian” and looking within is also important as noted in this comment, “Realign the goals of the library into a learning organization.” And who better to start with to ensure no one is left behind as noted by this respondent, “Talk to my team together and as individuals about their goals and where they can take active responsibility in partnership with our organisation to develop themselves.”

Someone remarked,

“I will definitely be applying the 3:2:1. I also already use the ALIA CPD program, but see more value in using and applying it now. I also have better insight into how I can advocate for workplace support for my PD.”

So what is the 3:2:1?

The 3:2:1 strategy was frequently noted by many participants. I got curious again and read Dr Gillian Hallam’s blogpost here where she noted,

“Thanks were extended to Michael Stephens from San José State University in California, USA, for a very simple strategy for reflecting-sharing-applying the learning, referred to as the 3-2-1 approach. Clare suggested that, after participating in a learning activity, you should identify three things you were introduced to that amazed you, two concepts that you will focus on, and one idea that you will apply immediately.”

There were many other comments along the lines of getting support, sharing and motivating others about our “5 star profession” such as “I will share the article and webinar recording with all staff at my library (including our new big boss) and suggest we discuss what we can do at our library to foster/support PD even more [learning]” and “Encourage co-workers to attend or present in the conferences or at least have a simple chat with them about their experiences at work.”

The concluding question asked “What other webinar topics would you like us to organise?” and in addition to the many thank you’s and regular topics such as information literacy, leaderships, librarianship and some just wanting to ruminate on it over time, others highlighted specifics topics as can be seen from these below:

“How to choose a specialisation within your career- I am currently a student, and am excited about starting my career – but I don’t really have a clear understanding of what type of library I would like to work in, and what type of role I aspire to.”

“Developing digital literacy strategies for staff for continuous professional development. Wellbeing at work Networking and developing a Personal Learning Network”

A clustering of comments around the impact of the pandemic and coping strategies were also synthesized from the open-ended questions focussing on strategies, techniques, how to improve our services and engagement with the community to learn new things.

Other areas included, “CPD in an online environment” and some wanted more of the same, “Maybe a follow-up on this kind of topic. Thank you :)” and “Any topic that is related to this.”

Encore Clare!

As can be seen from the comments above, the webinar was a success and participants took away many learning points. The suggested webinar topics are worth exploring in 2022.

Rajen Munoo

Head, Learning & Engagement. SMU Libraries

CPDWL Standing Committee Member

Wow! What Did I Do in Athens? Reflections on my first year as SC Member in CPDWL during IFLA WLIC 2019

Contributed by

Rajen Munoo,, Head, Learning and Information Services, SMU Libraries

‘Tis the season of thanksgiving, of reflection, of baubles, tinsels, good tidings, and gifting! With travel plans up in the air and the next opportunity for a face-to-face IFLA WLIC distant, my blogpost gifts to CPDWL a celebration of my last gathering at the IFLA WLIC 2019 in Athens and showcases the opportunities afforded to me by CPDWL as new SC member.

My story is around 5Is.


Session 101: Active and Interactive Learning and Development Strategy – Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning and Evidence for Global and Disaster Health SIG. This was joint session with CPDWL and IFLA Special Interest Group E4GDH (Evidence for Global and Disaster Health):

The remit of this session was around the need to equip a skilled, flexible and agile library and information workforce for the future and to demonstrate a range of strategies and methods that improve learning and knowledge transfer – and build on the experiences of the participants. With interactivity being key, various options were put forth such as practical exercises, group work, or other innovative methods, e.g.  Fishbowl Technique / Speed Networking / Pyramid Discussion / Gallery Method /Appreciative Inquiry / Opinionator Triangle / Knowledge Café / Flipped Classroom


And so the team was formed co-led by Dr Gillian Hallam, Co-Chair CPDWL, Dr Anne Brice, Head of Knowledge Management, Public Health England and Feili Tu-Keefner as facilitator, Assoc Professor School of Library & Information Science, University of South Carolina. Included was Emma Farrow, Public Health England together with Blessing Mawire, Librarian & Knowledge Management Specialist, Pretoria, South Africa and Mercy Moyo, Senior programme Officer, ITOCA (Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa) Pretoria, South Africa. With different time zones and countries, we had numerous virtual meetings and curated a successful programme down to the minute!


I gave a presentation entitled, “Engaging Students using a webinar to deliver and information literacy class as part of Emergency Preparedness Teaching and Learning at the SMU Library: Learning from Our Experience”

In 35 minutes, What do I cover? How do I structure my presentation? How do I fulfil the learning outcomes? My presentation plan, outline and transferrable learning strategies included:

Part A: Singapore in a VUCA World

  1. Scene setting [2 mins] > outline questions
  2. Video [5 mins]
  3. Reflection [5 mins]: Pairs / Table Talk
  4. Who are the different stakeholders? [Discuss at tables]
  5. Is anyone missing? [Discuss at tables]

iii. What opportunities for libraries and librarians (as first responders)?  [Feedback via Mentimeter]

Part B: Case Study [15 mins]

Part C: Fireside chat [5 mins]

Blessing Mawire and Mercy Moyo used the fish bowl method for discussion, including a silent fishbowl member. This session was highly interactive and popular.

Interventions, strategies and methods that improve learning and knowledge transfer

  • Self-Reflecting Questions: Posing a few scene setting questions before the start of your presentation piques the curiosity of your participants especially if it’s a provocative one!
  • Video: This is good to grab the attention of your participants and also brings a sense of realism especially if the video is produced in-house as the one created by Blessing and Mercy.
  • Fireside Chats: Creates and informal conversational setting personalising the experience where the facilitator and presenter share using a set of guided questions
  • Mentimeter: Visual word cloud presentation of ideas for participants to share especially for introverted and extroverted participants.
  • Fishbowl: Provides opportunities for proactive sharing of ideas and experiences by ‘taking the chair’ and facilitates discussion around a topic. A silent Fishbowl member plays the role of scribe, and resource person
  • Social Learning: Tweets and postings using social media tools on social networking sites highlights the Aha! Moments and key learning points to a wider audience

Upon reflection, little did I realise the foresight of my presentation on our current COVID-19 pandemic.

In my current role, I have oversight of the SMU Libraries staff learning and development portfolio and I am excited about being involved in the taskforce to develop the CPDWL Toolkit – Transferring learning back to the workplace which I hope to use myself.


CPDWL made me feel welcome and I actively contributed in the following ways:

  • Attended both the business meetings where I got to meet other members and understood the pulse of this awarding winning section.
  • I also co-facilitated Session 184 Knowledge Café 2019 – Knowledge Management with CPDWL and Library and Research Service for Parliaments with Crehalet Marie-Estelle where we harvested ideas around the topic, “Focus on what the library does versus what it has”
  • Session 251 Coaching Drop in Session – CPDWL with Management and Marketing was also enriching were I am still Facebook friends with my coachee who was from Athens!

In closing, being a CPDWL SC member provides opportunities for all! It’s how you seize them to be actively involved. I look forward contributing further during my term.