Following the recent uproar over the removal of controversial children’s books titles And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express, NLB has said that it will be re evaluating its communication process. (Read also: NLB in PR storm after “pro-family” move)
According to Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, the NLB will now have clearer processes on how books will be withdrawn. Yaacob was cited on several media outlets saying that NLB will have an advisory panel to help better reiterate the communication rationale behind the review decisions.
The panel would also be tasked to balance the diverse views of the various groups in the country. He added that this would not be the last time “public institutions like NLB would face such controversy” and Singaporeans not forget the positive reinforcements made by NLB over the years.
NLB has not yet responded to Marketing's queries as to whether or not it will be enlisting the help of PR agencies to better its communication strategies.
Meanwhile in an earlier statement, NLB said that its decision to remove the books from the children’s section was intended to make sure that books in the section are “age-appropriate.” However, netizens were further angered when NLB stated that the books would be pulped.
To clarify, NLB in a statement on its website added:
“NLB is not deciding what books children can or cannot read. That decision remains with parents, as it always has been. Many objected to the idea that books which are withdrawn from circulation will be pulped [...] We had used the term without any intention at all of denigrating books. As book lovers ourselves, we understand the reactions. [...]We do not want to be viewed as destroying books that are in good condition, as it was never our intention to denigrate books.”
It also recognised the need for improvement when it came to reviewing feedback about books adding that it will look at other organisations that have tapped on external panels and develop a process that will work best for NLB.
In an earlier article, Lars Voedisch, principal consultant and managing director of PRecious Communications said that creating policies on the selection of books and sharing those guidelines publicly will help to avoid the impression of random, externally initiated or closed door decisions on the definition of what is appropriate.