National Library Board
Press Release 18 Dec 2020

Public call for records of experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic extended till June 2021

As of 30 November 2020, the National Library Board and the National Museum of Singapore have received over 510 submissions of more than 3,100 photos, personal stories, videos, ephemera, webpages, blogs and diaries and creative responses.

The National Library Board (NLB) and the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) will be extending the joint public call for records till 30 June 2021 to collect more materials and memories of Singaporeans during the pandemic. As Singapore prepares to enter phase 3 of reopening, the public call for records, titled ‘Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore’, will be extended for another six months to capture more contributions from the public on their memories and experiences of the new normal.

 

Launched on 22 May this year, this initiative seeks to engage the public to capture a key historical moment as it unfolds and to build the nation’s contemporary collection. Both NLB and NMS hope to preserve and present a more complete and richer picture of life in Singapore during COVID-19 for future generations.

 

Hear from the experiences of others

 

“The National Library Board continues to collect today, for tomorrow. This pandemic is an extraordinary moment in our history.  As we transition into new rhythms at home, school and work in Phase 3, we invite more people to share their stories with us. This will help us preserve our collective memories and experience of this significant event in world history and remember its impact on Singapore, especially on our daily lives,” said Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive Officer of the National Library Board.

 

One inspiring submission was the story of two brothers, 10-year-old Ryan Tan and 12-year-old Zachary Tan, who organised an online charity concert called ‘Music for Hope’ with 17 friends, raising over $7,000 for Community Chest. Taking inspiration from the ‘One World’ online concert – a global digital broadcast dedicated to frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organisation – the duo staged their version of a musical performance complete with guitars, violins, pianos, vocals, and even a band, to honour essential workers. The money raised went towards supporting vulnerable individuals and families affected by COVID-19 in Singapore.

 

NLB is featuring stories from the Documenting COVID-19 collection in a series of monthly blogposts on the National Library Blog from September 2020 to March 2021 (https://go.gov.sg/blog-covid19). Submissions are also being made available on NLB’s PictureSG website, where over 260 photos can already be accessed via the keyword search, ‘COVID-19’ (https://go.gov.sg/picturesg-covid19).

 

In addition, NLB has recorded 10 in-depth audio interviews since the launch of the oral history component of Documenting COVID-19 in August 2020. NLB aims to record at least 120 interviews from now till 2022 and the public will be able to access them progressively on the Archives Online website (https://go.gov.sg/c-19-oral-history).

 

NMS collection a part of upcoming exhibition

 

The National Museum has received various objects and stories including an assortment of handmade face masks, visual diaries documenting the Circuit Breaker, and other creative responses like artwork and illustrations depicting everyday life during the pandemic, as well as thoughtful thank-you notes to our essential workers.

 

The museum is also displaying a small selection from the first batch of objects and photographs collected through the Collecting Contemporary Singapore: Collecting COVID-19 in Singapore open call, in its Home Truly, Growing Up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present exhibition that will open on 19 December 2020. This includes three pieces of homemade face masks contributed by a family, as well as a special face shield developed by staff from the Institute of Technical Education to help lecturers be more audible when speaking. The design features an integrated melaphone to increase the speaker’s voice level when worn. The Home, Truly exhibition will run till 29 August 2021.

 

Chung May Khuen, Director of the National Museum of Singapore says: “We are amazed by how people continue to innovate in times like these and come up with such creative responses along with their inspiring stories. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we will keep on capturing moments of people’s lives during this new normal and welcome contributions from the public, particularly those related to face masks and innovative solutions, so that future generations can look back and learn from this important episode of our history.”

 

How to contribute to the Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore project

Types of materials to be contributed

Submission links & contact information

  • Photographs
  • Personal stories
  • Videos
  • Audio recordings
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Website/pages e.g. blogs
  • Journals and diaries

NLB has set up a dedicated webpage (https://go.gov.sg/documenting-covid19) for members of the public to submit their contributions.

 

Please refer to Appendix A for contribution guidelines. For more information, visit www.nlb.gov.sg.

 

For further queries, please contact NLB at NLB_Document_Covid19@nlb.gov.sg.

 

  • Face masks

The face mask is likely the most ubiquitous item of the present, central in our pursuit to keep others and ourselves safe. We have seen numerous creative interpretations of face masks that have been specially created or adapted – whether for added protection, social identity, supporting various causes or even just to make a cool fashion statement. We welcome the public’s contributions of their stories of unique face mask creations.

  • Innovative and creative responses to COVID-19

We have seen many innovative responses on objects that people have devised or adapted to help them or other communities face the unique circumstances and challenges of the pandemic, as well as beautiful and inspiring creative works that reflect people’s thoughts on the pandemic – ranging from sketches and paintings to craft objects in different forms. We invite the public to share their innovative creations with us.

 

Please refer to https://go.gov.sg/nms-ccs-covid19 for contribution guidelines.

 

For further queries, please contact the National Museum at NHB_NMS_Curatorial@nhb.gov.sg

 

 

For more information on how to contribute to the project, please refer to the attached Annex. More details are also available at the NLB webpage (https://go.gov.sg/documenting-covid19) and NMS webpage (https://go.gov.sg/nms-ccs-covid19).

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ANNEX

Contribution Guidelines for NLB’s Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore project

From now till 30 June 2021, members of the public can contribute materials online through the NLB website (https://go.gov.sg/documenting-covid19).

Physical materials such as written journals or printed ephemera (e.g. paper flyers) are also welcome. Interested parties can write to NLB_Document_Covid19@nlb.gov.sg to find out more about donating written journals or collaborating with NLB on this initiative.

Members of the public can also nominate blogs and other forms of online journaling, as well as born-digital ephemera (e.g. an e-poster on a website) for NLB’s web archiving using this form (https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/webarchives/recommendation).

Public contributions will be carefully preserved by NLB’s librarians and archivists. They will be catalogued and made publicly available through NLB’s eResource platforms such as PictureSG (http://www.eresources.nlb.gov.sg/pictures), for personal research, academic work, publications and exhibitions.

Please do not submit:

    • Materials that do not directly and clearly represent the impact of COVID-19, e.g. subject is abstract, blurred, taken in poor light, etc.

    • Materials with identifiable person(s), including children, taken or submitted without their consent;

    • Materials that may potentially cause distress or offence to others.

      As part of NLB’s long term preservation efforts, submissions should preferably be in the following formats:

Type

Requirements

Image

Uncompressed, high-resolution images in TIFF format with a minimal standard of 300 ppi. Photographs should be at least 3MB in size to ensure high-resolution images. If you are unsure about the specifications, simply share the image with the best resolution available.

Video

Videos should be filmed in mp4 format and at least 720p resolution. Videos should not exceed 3 minutes or 250MB, and may need to be edited to meet these limits.

Audio

Audio recordings in mp3 format.

The following questions help to guide members of the public on what they can contribute for this project:

         1. DAILY LIFE DURING COVID-19

We hope to document what life during this pandemic in Singapore has been like, and what home (in a physical or symbolic sense) means to you in a time of  COVID-19:

  • How has your routine changed? – from going to work or school, getting food and groceries, your exercise routine, pursuing your hobbies

  • How did you spend time at home and stay connected with family and friends?

  • What do celebrations and commemorations look like now – birthdays, anniversaries, school holidays, festivals?

  • Looking around you, what changes have you observed in your neighbourhood, and for life in Singapore in general? How does this make you feel?

  • What are some of the challenges that you have faced, or are facing? How have you overcome these challenges, or how are you currently dealing with them?

  • What are the moments or stories that bring you happiness, hope and encouragement, even during this time of uncertainty?

  • What do you miss, or not miss, about circuit breaker?

  • How has the new normal been for you? What do you most look forward to?

     
    2. EVERYDAY HEROES OF COVID-19

    We want to capture the stories and experiences of those at the frontlines of Singapore’s fight against COVID-19 and who are working to keep our essential services going. If your life has been touched by an everyday hero, or acts of kindness at this time, we would love to hear your stories as well. Everyday heroes include medical professionals, volunteers, social service professionals, essential service staff, as well as groups and individuals that have helped the community tide over this period.

  • What does your life look like as a frontline or essential worker during this time, and how have you adapted to the changes?

  • What have been some of the most difficult or memorable moments? How does this make you feel?

  • What are the acts of kindness you have experienced, or shown during this time?  

Contacts