National Library, Singapore

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National Library
Singapore National Library-2009-06-12.jpg
Country Singapore
Type Public library
Established 1923
Location Victoria Street
Coordinates Coordinates: 1°17′52″N 103°51′15.2″E / 1.29778°N 103.854222°E / 1.29778; 103.854222
Branch of National Library Board

The National Library, Singapore (Malay: Perpustakaan Negara, Chinese: 国家图书馆, Tamil: தேசிய நூலகம்) in Singapore is located on an 11,304-square metre site between Bugis Junction and the Bras Basah Complex at 100, Victoria Street.[1]

Current building[edit]

Entrance to the National Library

The current building, a 16-storey, two-block development situated in the city's Civic District, replaces the old National Library at Stamford Road, which closed on 31 March 2004, the MRT stations nearby are Bugis MRT Station and Bras Basah MRT Station.[2] The library moved to its new home on 22 July 2005, it is the flagship building of the National Library Board, bringing together the core functions of the old library by incorporating a reference library, known as the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (Chinese: 李光前参考图书馆), as well as a public library, the Central Public Library, under one roof.

The Retreat, National Library Building.

The building designed by T.R. Hamzah & Ken Yeang[3] consists of two 16-storey blocks, with three basements. The blocks are linked by skybridges on every floor, it houses two libraries, the Central Public Library in Basement 1 and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library from Levels 7 to 13. It also houses the Drama Centre from Levels 3 to 5, which is managed by the National Arts Council, on the 16th floor, there is a closed viewing point called The Pod. It is only used for functions and events, and is not a viewing gallery, from the Pod, it has a panoramic view of the island of Singapore, outlying islands, and also neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. There are also many gardens in the building but only two are opened to the public, they offer a good view of the city, and one is the Courtyard on Level 5 and the Retreat on Level 10. The building has three public panoramic elevators with a city view, the National Library Board headquarters is on the 14th floor of the building. The building has escalators from Basement 3 to the 14th storey, it has a carpark with 246 lots. On the first floor are the main entrance and a café, with a big space the Plaza and is sometimes used for exhibition space. A number of old bricks from the old building are in this new building.


The National Library traces its history back to the establishment of the first public library as a result of suggestions by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, this library, renamed the Hullett Memorial Library in 1923, was co-located with Singapore's first school, Raffles Institution, at a site now occupied by the Raffles City complex.[4] It moved to a separate Library and Museum Building in 1887 under the name of Raffles Library as part of the Raffles Museum, before moving to the Stamford Road premises in 1960 under the name of the National Library of Singapore opened by Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore Inche Yusof Ishak.

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library[edit]

Singapore and South East Asian Collection, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library

The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library is the new name of the National Reference Library, the name was changed after the Lee Foundation donated S$60 million. Therefore, the library is named after Dr Lee Kong Chian, it occupies 7 storeys (Levels 7-13) at the National Library Building with a floor area of 14,265 square metres.[5] It has a start-up collection of 530,000 print and non-print materials, the Library provides reference services onsite, or via email, sms, telephone and fax. It has a full range of facilities such as access to electronic databases, document delivery service, microfilm, reprography and audio-visual are available. Other facilities at the library include wireless access to the Internet, as well as the use of reading and meeting rooms. Books from this library cannot be borrowed, but may be consulted on-site.


These are the collections found at each level of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.[6]

  • Level 7 – Business, Science and Technology Collections
  • Level 8 – The Arts and Social Sciences Collections
  • Level 9 – Chinese, Malay and Tamil Collection
  • Level 10 – Donors' Collections, Asian Children's Collection
  • Level 11 – Singapore and Southeast Asian Collection. Microfilms. Maps.
  • Levels 12 and 13 – Rare Materials Collection (limited access, only with permission)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Library Board > About > History of National Library Singapore". Retrieved 2018-02-11. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Pearson, Clifford A.: "T.R. Hamzah & Yeang applies its trademark bioclimatic design principles to the new National Library in Singapore" in Architectural Record, August 2006
  4. ^ "History of National Library Singapore". National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "National Library Board > About > Lee Kong Chian Reference Library". Retrieved 2018-02-11. 
  6. ^ "Accessing Lee Kong Chian Reference Library's Resources". Retrieved 14 August 2012. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]