Malarvele Ilangovan
Nanyang Technological University
School of Communication and Information
Division of Information Studies
Nanyang Circle
Singapore 639819
ilangovan@nlb.gov.sg

Susan E. Higgins
Charles Sturt University
School of Information Studies
Boorooma Street
Wagga Wagga NSW 2678
Australia
shiggins@csu.edu.au

This study explores the provision of public library services to the Tamil Community through the National Library Board of Singapore’s system of public libraries. Results of the study are analyzed and implications for services deduced through focus group interactions and researcher observations. The study concludes that improvement is needed in collections, facilities, programming, and services, particularly in the area of provision to young people. Focus group participants also propose an Internet portal in Tamil. Many indicate that the library could, through facilitating the reading and use of the Tamil language, help in promoting the usage of the Tamil language in Singapore. The recognition of Tamil as a national language of Singapore has given the Tamils intrinsic satisfaction because the language provides them with a living link to their ethnic culture. They believe the library can help them regain their cultural identity and also assist them in repositioning themselves positively in Singaporean society. The contribution of this study to the professional literature is the idea of cultural identity being central in public library services to special user groups.

Download Article