Operation National Library: The Postmortem

Map for Singapore's National Library

National Library Drop-Off Point (far) National Library Drop-Off Point National Library Atrium National Library Atrium Stage

With the largest people movement I’ve ever planned now over, I thought I’d shared some of my personal experience organizing a decent class outing that’s hopefully fun for everyone.

First, get everyone involved.
This operation was not done in isolation. I watched for students’ receptiveness to the idea, fellow instructors combined their class hours with me so that we could commit to a half-day excursion, the school’s administration (Lena Chia) helped book transportation (2 x buses), and our NLB librarian contacts, namely Wun Han and her team, received both my class syllabi in order to produce a presentation customized for my students’ needs. I was fortunate to work with a lean organization, so everything was agreed upon in just one day.

Second, make ideas very explicit.
If you look at the itinerary published on the COM242 blog, you’d see the people involved (e.g. mission officers, mission observers, mission contacts), a mission timeline, as well as mission objectives. If you noticed, I also listed a bonus objective which involved students submitting their final projects to the library’s book blog “High Browse Online” as a way of gaining exposure as well as for monetary incentive (i.e. coffee vouchers). I like how this allowed for a win-win situation for both the national library and my students.

Lastly, always get feedback.
The gig isn’t over if you haven’t followed up with some way of getting responses. There will always be room for improvement and so talking to your contacts (e.g. NLB librarians, instructors, students) will allow you to rethink some of your future strategy. In this case, I asked for student volunteers to blog about the event so that those who couldn’t make it wouldn’t miss out. This also allows me to have a grassroots perspective of events that transpired, especially interesting when they share photos they took as well. So far two students have blogged about their trips, namely students Carol and Renhao. While some students did mention to me how they’ve been to the library before, thus found it a little boring, other students were appreciative of the presentation on effectively searching the library’s various online databases, which should help them in their research projects.

On the side…
One of the best compliments I’ve received from the trip came from librarian Wun Han herself, who mentioned how she has taken many communication students from local schools for library training and tours before, and has never seen a course syllabus as cutting edge as mine. I must give credit to fellow UB conspirators, Derek Lackaff and Dr. Mary Cassata, for sharing their material with me, and allowing me the freedom to take it even futher.

UPDATE: A few photos from the trip are now available…