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31st October 2019

Lifelong learning: How libraries can prepare us for our changing future

Learning is a lifelong journey, and it certainly shouldn’t end with school or university. Even those of us well-established in our careers need to continue to learn to create value in our rapidly changing world.

The 2019 OECD report The Future of Work found that across OECD countries 46% of jobs are at significant or high risk of change due to technology.[1] The World Economic Forum’s 2018 report The Jobs of the Future found that more than half of all employees around the world will need to upskill in the next three years.[2]

Against this backdrop, lifelong learning is paramount.

Libraries for lifelong learning

Since 2017, the Singaporean Government has implemented a variety of initiatives to encourage lifelong learning in response to the 2017 Committee for the Future Economy policy report which recommended: “learning throughout life needs to be our way of life, so we can quickly and easily adapt to new job demands, or even switch jobs or industries as the economy transforms”.[3]

Australian research shows there is strong evidence to suggest learning engagement increases with interaction with library resources, library staff and use of library services.[4]

The Australian School Library Association argues that access to a library and a qualified librarian has multiple positive outcomes for students, including teaching students how to learn and thus setting them up for a successful life of learning.[5]

A community that learns also prospers

Lifelong learning not only provides benefits to individuals, but wider society too. The Institute for Adult Learning Singapore highlights three key advantages.

First, lifelong learning delivers continual value in the short and long term as it reframes all previous learning activities. Second, it is crucial to a country’s continued competitiveness and prosperity. And third, it enhances social cohesion, societal progress and community well-being.[6]

Civica has proudly supported Singaporeans on their lifelong learning journey for more than 14 years. Civica’s cutting edge Spydus Integrated Library Management System has helped thousands of students engage with and access information easily. With over 300 onsite staff in schools across the nation, Civica’s support goes beyond software.

For nine years, Civica’s Tales of “S” creative writing competition for Singaporean school students has encouraged students’ love of reading and learning.

The creative writing competition aims to support the Singapore education system’s objective of bringing out the best in each child, enabling them to discover their talents and develop a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime.

This year’s theme “Voyage of Discovery” asked students to write a story of “discovery” which might include a journey of self-realisation, untapped potential or the discovery of new lands. In 2019, there were 475 entries from 52 schools with the winners’ works being published in a downloadable eBook. 

The important part that libraries, librarians and a passion for reading play in lifelong learning can’t be understated. Civica proudly supports libraries around the world to provide the best service for lifelong learners.

The role of libraries in society is growing from traditional formal educational institutions through to public and specialist libraries where as adults we can constantly access the tools and media required for developing new skills. Careers in the modern world will be multi phase and require constant reinvention  of ourselves with Libraries as a key enabler. 

Richard Fiddis, Executive Director, Civica Asia

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