Recommending books to NLB

a brief overview and details about recommendation statuses

  •  2 mins  •  

I'm not sure many people realise that the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore welcomes book recommendations. I'm an avid book recommender and have recommended many books over the years, and am glad to say that quite a number of my recommendations have been accepted.

I'm not sure what approach NLB takes towards determining whether or not to accept a recommendation, but in the off chance that they do take into account the quality of my previous recommendations, such as by measuring how often the recommended book was subsequently borrowed, I always try to borrow any books I recommend once they become available.

You can recommend books via NLB's website by visiting the Recommend A Title. You do have to log in with your NLB account (and you therefore have to be a NLB member to recommend a title). The interface is pretty self-explanatory:

Screenshot of web interface

Screenshot of recommendation modal

I'm not quite sure what should go in the "Other Information" field, but I usually put in the ISBN (if it's not already automatically retrieved) and a link to the product listing for the book on Book Depository,, or some other retailer.

You can also recommend titles using the new and improved NLB app:

Screenshot of mobile app

As you will have noticed, NLB assigns each recommendation a status of sorts. So far, I've seen the following statuses, and NLB has helpfully clarified that they have the following meanings:

  • Recommended: this is the initial status set once you submit your recommendation. NLB says that this means that its vendors are checking the stock availability of the title recommended.
  • Accepted: your recommendation has been accepted 🎉
  • Unable to Purchase: according to NLB, this means that their vendor is unable to supply the title or they are unable to process the recommendation (e.g. ISBN of the title has not been provided).
  • On Order: this status is assigned after the "Accepted" status and indicates that the recommended title is currently on order through NLB's vendors

There therefore does not appear to be a "Rejected" status per se (or perhaps my recommendations are of such quality that they are never rejected 🤔), but from experience it appears that the "Unable to Purchase" may also be used as a "Rejection" status.