Legend: Document Newspaper
Where information was not readily available, NL would initiate a search with other sources to obtain the information, and if the information could not be obtained, NL would offer alternatives. For example, when NL did not have the 1885 - 1886 annual reports of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, it traced their whereabouts to the Public Records Keeper (London), the British Museum, and finally to the Foreign and Commonwealth Library. Searches were free of charge but photocopied/ microfilmed copies of materials were supplied at nominal rates. The efforts taken by NL to respond to each query speaks to the customer-centric culture of NL, a quality still very much in evidence today.
Seeing that a growing number of the Reference services users were students working on school assignments and projects, library staff endeavoured to teach them how to fish - rather than merely supplying the answers, taught them how to locate information in periodicals and how to use the periodical indexes .
Visitors to the Reference Section hovered around 400 per day in the late 1960s, and the number of queries could exceed 2,000 in a month . One thing remained consistent - the perennial struggle to beat the heat - evidenced by the monthly reports on how the air-conditioning was performing, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celcius!
By National Archives of Singapore. Published June 2018.