The National Library Board (NLB) is launching a subscription service that delivers to customers eight curated English children's books a month.
Up to 200 children from low-income families will get the subscription free, as part of a partnership with The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).
The pilot service, called The Little Book Box, will cost $10.70 a month and run for nine months from next month to July next year.
Registration opens today, with a cap of 1,000 slots.
The book boxes will include fiction and non-fiction reads and are catered for two age groups - of four to six and seven to nine.
These will not fall within the subscribers' usual library loan quota.
The loan duration is 21 days, excluding delivery time. Subscribers can return the books at any of the 25 public libraries. Overdue returns will incur the usual fines.
The service is available on a first come, first served basis, with a minimum subscription period of three months, following which the subscription will be automatically renewed for another three months unless it is terminated.
Depending on the response to the pilot, NLB will consider extending and expanding the service beyond next July.
NLB chief executive Ng Cher Pong said: "Families have busy lifestyles and parents have to juggle work with childcare. Some might find it difficult to go to the libraries together with their children regularly."
He added that many may also be staying at home more amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Safe distancing measures and capacity controls are still in force at the libraries, even as they resumed regular opening hours last month.
Mr Ng said: "The Little Book Box will make it more convenient and accessible for parents to get a variety of books for their children. We hope this will boost the children's love for reading and their thirst for knowledge and information."
The 200 students for the STSPMF free subscription will be selected by social service agencies.
STSPMF chairman Warren Fernandez, who is ST editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: "All of us at The Straits Times believe in the power and value of reading. Reading opens doors to new worlds, people and ideas.
"We want to help young Singaporeans to enjoy reading and have opportunities to do so. This should include those who might not have the means to do so.
"The ST School Pocket Money Fund is happy to work with NLB to help make this possible for some of the families who turn to us for help. We believe this is a meaningful way for us to mark the fund's 20th anniversary."
The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.Back