National Library, Singapore

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National Library
Singapore National Library-2009-06-12.jpg
TypePublic library
Established22 July 2005; 14 years ago (2005-07-22)
Location100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064
CoordinatesCoordinates: 1°17′52″N 103°51′15.2″E / 1.29778°N 103.854222°E / 1.29778; 103.854222
Branch ofNational Library Board

The National Library (Malay: Perpustakaan Negara, Chinese: 国家图书馆, Tamil: தேசிய நூலகம்) in Singapore is the flagship building of the National Library Board, located on an 11,304-square metre site in 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.[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. The National Library Board (NLB) headquarters is located on the 14th floor.

On the highest 16th level rooftop, there is a large closed area designed like a bubble called The Pod, used for functions and events. Although not a public viewing gallery, it has a panoramic 360-degree view of the city core and Marina bay area. The plaza on the ground floor has a cafe and is often used as an exhibition space. There are many gardens in the building but only two are opened to the public - the Courtyard on Level 5 and the Retreat on Level 10. There are three glass elevators for public use. There are escalators on every floor, from Basement 3 to level 14th. The basement carpark has 246 lots. A number of old bricks from the old National Library building has been incorporated into the present building.


The National Library traces its history back to the establishment of the first public library suggested by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. It was renamed the Hullett Memorial Library in 1923, 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

Previously called the National Reference Library, the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library adopted its new name after receiving a S$60 million donation from the Lee Foundation, founded by 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. Materials from this library cannot be borrowed, but may be consulted on-site.


The main collections found at each level of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library includes:[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 11 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  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 11 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Accessing Lee Kong Chian Reference Library's Resources". Retrieved 14 August 2012.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]