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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 21 April 2005

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New National Library to open in July 2005

 

A NEW KNOWLEDGE ICON EMERGES IN THE ARTS, CULTURE, LEARNING AND ENTERTAINMENT HUB

The new National Library is scheduled to open its doors to the public in late July this year. It houses a rich and comprehensive range of collections, services and facilities geared towards promoting lifelong learning and supporting the nation’s information and knowledge needs.
Located at 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064, the 16-storey building is situated in the heart of Singapore’s Arts, Culture, Learning and Entertainment hub.
The new Library, with its expanded collections and services, strives to be a modern knowledge hub that will meet the information and research needs of scholars, professionals, researchers and students in Singapore and the region.
“The re-opening of the National Library at its new home is an important milestone in the developmental history of Singapore as it is a key pillar in the nation’s evolution into a global cosmopolitan city of excellence, powered by ideas and knowledge,” said Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive of the National Library Board (NLB).
“The new building will feature better facilities and services as well as a larger collection of materials for academics and researchers in Singapore and Asia. In time, we hope the National Library will be a place which inspires its users to create new knowledge, ignite their imagination and realise new possibility. And I hope that the new National Library will have the same place in the hearts of Singapore as the old one.”
With a gross floor area of over 58,000 sqm, the new National Library is more than 5 times larger than the old National Library at Stamford Road and plays home to a treasure trove of knowledge housing over 630,000 items.
The Singapore and Southeast Asian Collections, which are the core collections of the new Library, comprises over 170,000 items made up of microfilms, maps, audio-visuals, ephemera and more including works inherited from predecessor libraries such as the Raffles Library. Such items, which were under the closed collections in the old National Library, will now be openly available for public use.
Said Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Director of the National Library and Deputy Chief Executive of the NLB, “The new Library will continue the tradition of providing excellent reference and research services on or about Singapore and the region. It aims to build its collections and services so that the National Library becomes the premier stop for research needs on Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia.”
Reference Library1
The crown jewel of the new National Library is the reference library. Named the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (LKCRL) to commemorate the late Dr Lee Kong Chian, founder of the Lee Foundation, which gave a $60 million donation towards the library, the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library houses a range of collections including the Social Science, Humanities, Science and Technology Collections, the Arts and Business Collections, the Chinese, Malay and Tamil Collections, the Asian Children’s Collection, the Donors’ Collections, the Singapore and Southeast Asian Collections and a Rare Materials Collection.
More electronic resources will also be made available through the NLB Digital Library at www.nlb.gov.sg. Users will have access to a greater selection of images, unpublished works of local authors, digitised rare materials and thematic articles on Singapore’s heritage as well as digitised materials residing in partner libraries such as the British Library.
In addition, the Digital Library will see an expanded list of over 40 online databases, which will support the reference library's focus on Singapore, South East Asia and Asia. Such databases include the Bibliography of Asian Studies, Factiva, Asia Rom, China Infobank, REALIS (URA Real Estate Information System) and the NLB-owned Singapore Infopedia, which features topical information on the social and economic history of Singapore.
Lending Library2
Complementing the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library is the Central Lending Library. It focuses on visual, creative and literary arts, as well as business and management, to support the thriving businesses, art schools and groups, and residents in the area. The Central Lending Library will also cater to a broader user group of children, the youth and adults, with its extensive collection of mainstream materials and award winning literature in all of the four official languages.
More Than Just Books
To support library users, there will be roving librarians at the Central Lending Library and seamless on- and off-site reference and enquiry services in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.
At present, library users can access the reference services via a number of channels including approaching the reference librarians at the various Information Desks conveniently located on the reference library floors, and remotely through phone, fax, email and postal mail.
There will also be self-help and interactive kiosks as well as the cybrarian service for directional, lending and other information or enquiries. In a bid to improve service levels, work is underway to increase these access points for greater convenience.
In addition, there will be exhibitions and public programmes to complement the various collections within the premises, weaving interactivity into the overall learning experience.
A series of exhibitions to enrich the learning experience of library users will be held at the exhibition gallery. The first exhibition, entitled “Zheng He and Maritime Asia”, will tie in with the upcoming Third International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Overseas Chinese, and is scheduled from 13 August 2005 to 10 February 2006.
It celebrates the 600th anniversary of the maiden voyage of Admiral Zheng He, the legendary 15th Century Chinese explorer whose ports-of-call include Malacca, Aceh, Calicut, Bengal and Hormuz, and will feature ancient publications, maps, photographs, artifacts and more.
In addition, the National Library will also launch a permanent exhibition on Singapore’s library heritage beginning from the 1800s, later this year. Admission to both exhibitions will be free.
Additional facilities for public use include gardens, a café, the National Arts Council’s Drama Centre for public shows and performances, and programme zones throughout the National Library for library activities and exhibitions.
This includes an open plaza on the ground level, which will be a hive of activity for the community. This plaza will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day. The building will also house the NLB’s corporate headquarters.
Experience the National Library via the Virtual Flythrough
To give the public a glimpse of the new National Library, students from the Singapore Polytechnic have created a Virtual Flythrough of the new National Library. This 4-minute online video takes viewers through several key areas in the library. The Virtual Flythrough can be viewed online at www.nlb.gov.sg.

Source: National Library Board Press Release 20 Apr 2005

¹ The LKCRL provides research and reference materials and services to researchers, academics, scholars, government departments and other information seekers.
² The Central Lending Library is a public lending library that caters to a broader user group of children, the youth and adults.

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