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Apr 20, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Public Library

The Five-Footway Public Library in Chinatown
A bare-footed young girl reading with concentration

Ways done in the past, present and the future through the investment on education is the greatest universal  development, research and resources to the benefit for mankind.

The purpose of education is therefore to develop our potential and to guide us to understand the resources in the world as well as utilize our potentials and the resources to attain happiness in life.  If there is one important thing that you can do to help your child become a success in school and in life -  it is to encourage him to be a reader and love reading.

The most successful people in the world are voracious readers.  This is no surprise, as reading opens the door to virtually all knowledge.  Moreover, it is the path to lifelong learning.  Helping your child to love reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent – and it will be worth your time and energy.

Before the increasing number of public libraries built by the National Library over the decades in Singapore,  five-footway libraries were available in various parts of Singapore in town.

Elder sister engrossed with her book


The little boy doesn't bother big brother while he reads...


Avid readers rushing to loan books...
The Raffles Library was located at a section of the National Museum of Singapore in 1849 and it was called the Raffles Library and Museum. 
Magazines and books displayed on wooden racks.
The old National Library and Museum where readers were seated on wooden benches

Young readers at Raffles Library in the 1950s




On 15th Aug 1953, this stone for the National Library was laid by Mr. Lee Kong Chian.



Mr Lee Kong Chian, a renowned Chinese community leader and philanthropist, offered S$350,000 in 1953 towards the founding of the first free public library in Singapore on condition that vernacular languages were promoted and encouraged in the public arena.




His Excellency Yang Di-Pertuan Negara, Inche Yusof bin Ishak officially opened the new red-bricked building and christened as the National Library on 12 November 1960 while Minister of  Culture Mr  S. Rajaratnam looks on.

The VIPs and guests at the opening of the National Library on 12 November, 1960.

Mrs. Hedwig Anuar was appointed the first Singaporean Director of the National Library in April 1960 and served until June 1961.


The Japanese government presented 146 books on various aspects of Japanese life and culture to the National Library - its second donation of books to the library since 1962.  The new gift was handed over by the Japanese Ambassador T. Ueda to Mrs Hedwig Anuar on 18 January, 1967.

Mrs Hedwig Anuar attended the Queenstown Public Library - 40th Anniversary for the cake-cutting celebration in her honour here.

Related blogs:
Key To Knowledge - Libraries for Life
Public Libraries Singapore - "Spot A Reader" "Friends of the Library" .
Reading Carnival @ Changi Simei .

My 7-year-old daughter, enjoy reading at an early age.  "Book Readers - are the last word"

Please note that photos with "For online reference - viewing only" watermark are posted with courtesy photo credit of National Archives of Singapore. With acknowledgement and thanks for sharing these archived photos on this blog.


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3 Comments:

Blogger lim said...

The red brick building of the National Library is etched in the cultural memories of many Singaporeans. It's a cultural heritage that will always be part of Singapore even if the building is no longer there.

In my youth, I and my classmates would make use of the National Library to mug for our exams. As I grew older, the library became a place to read and relax.

My most memorable visit to a library anywhere was a small library right next to a lake. It was so peaceful and relaxing as I read and gazed beyond the vast lake through the glass windows. The library was small but oh so open!

Later on, I did make a suggestion to the NLB to build a small library somewhere along the East Coast Park in place of the Marine Parade Library. It would strictly have no study table, only cushion chairs and a nice cafe so that visitors can read and relax over a cup of coffee. Even one at the West Coast Park would be nice.

April 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you Mr Lim for sharing your fond nostalgic memories of the red brick National Library at Stamford Road, Singapore where we grew up and acquired our key to knowledge in Singapore through books and the new media.

Whilst I share your sentimental value of an unique architecturally designed, heritage building in Singapore with strong feelings, the current National Library Building at Victoria Street to cater to our present and future generations to serve the increased growing needs for our peoples and our public library users.

April 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger FL said...

James, I still remember, those storybook stalls set up along 5-foot ways in many parts of our island during the 1950s/1960s. These books are comic formats with few Chinese words, ie. mostly pictures, swordfightings, ghosts, "sea dragon king", monkey gods, "la char", etc. As a kid, I used to borrow these books until I run out of pocket money ! Serious.

April 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM  

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