Travel Review

National Library Building, Singapore

I love books, bookshops and libraries. And when I think of libraries I am reminded of my visit to the Seattle Public Library and Chennai’s historic Connemara library. Last week (8th May 2019) while I was in Singapore with my family, we visited Singapore’s National Library at Victoria Road. It is a tall and impressive glass building. As I walked inside and went around, I got a familiar feeling like I have seen the interiors and bookshelves before, on enquiring I learned Chennai’s Anna Centenary Library had been inspired by NLB, Singapore, and the similarities were unmistakable.

History

If you step outside the reading area, you can see a heritage structure with red bricks, that has old pictures from times gone by. The photos there read the following:

//The construction of National Library at Stamford Road came to fruition through the generous donation of $375,000 by Lee Kong Chian in 1953, on the condition that the library would be made a free and public library for all.

The laying of the foundation stone for the library was officiated by Lee Kong Chian on 16 August 1957 and the distinctive red-bricked library was officially opened on 12 November 1960 by Yang-di-Pertuan Negara (then Head of State who later became Singapore’s first President), Yusof Bin Ishak.

After about forty years in operation and following the government’s announcement that the National Library at Stamford Road would be demolished to make way for urban redevelopment, the library closed its doors on 31 March 2004. Some 5000 red bricks from the facade of the former library at Stamford Road are preserved in the form of a heritage wall in the Central Public Library’s garden.//

The library was first at Stamford Road, opened on the 12 November 1960
The library was first at Stamford Road, opened on the 12 November 1960
 "வாசி, மகிழ்" என்று படிப்பதை ஊக்குவிக்க தமிழ் வாசகம் பதித்த கல்.
வாசி, மகிழ்” என்று படிப்பதை ஊக்குவிக்கும் தமிழ் வாசகம் பதித்த கல்.
Venkatarangan with Mr Azhagiya Pandiyan, Head (Tamil Language Services) at NLB
Venkatarangan with Mr Azhagiya Pandiyan, Head (Tamil Language Services) at NLB
Magazines on display, Tamil magazines and Tamil books for Kids
Magazines on display, Tamil magazines and Tamil books for Kids
Tamil books section
Tamil books section
மறைந்த சிங்கப்பூர் தமிழ் எழுத்தாளர்களின் நினைவில் - நா. கோவிந்தசாமி மற்றும் ந. பழநிவேலு
மறைந்த சிங்கப்பூர் தமிழ் எழுத்தாளர்களின் நினைவில் – நா. கோவிந்தசாமி மற்றும் ந. பழநிவேலு
இலக்கியப் படைப்புகள், மற்றும் MD. Ariff Ahmad ( a titan of Malay literature) பயன்படுத்திய தட்டச்சு கருவி, கண்ணாடிகள்.
இலக்கியப் படைப்புகள், மற்றும் MD. Ariff Ahmad ( a titan of Malay literature) பயன்படுத்திய தட்டச்சு கருவி, கண்ணாடிகள்.
Children's section
Children’s section & Play area
Neatly arranged stacks of shelves with books
Neatly arranged stacks of shelves with books
Every floor has clear displays in four languages - English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil
Every floor has clear displays in four languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil
The atrium in the reference library
The atrium in the reference library
The top floor has a meeting room
The top floor has a meeting room
The top floor has a meeting room provides a 360 degree of the Marina bay area
The top floor has a meeting room provides a 360 degree of the Marina bay area

If you love books, don’t miss this place when you are visiting Singapore next!

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