The national library here is a GIFT and it upsets me that more people don’t appreciate it for the gem it truly is. I’m pretty sure a good chunk, at least a third of the books on my to-read list are in the entire national library. As in all of it’s locations across the island.
TREASURE YOUR LIBRARIES!!!!! And librarians.
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Early in February I took photos of a new exhibition that has opened at the national library headquarters down by Bras Basah. The exhibition features rare and important artifacts from their archive. It’s super cool so you should totally check it out.
Excerpt from the online article:
The exhibition of more than 100 items – including maps and children’s books, many of which are being shown to the public for the first time – is on till Aug 28 on the 10th floor of the National Library Building in Victoria Street…
Mr Chung says: “Even in the early 19th century, Singapore was already very cosmopolitan. It had booming trade and a booming population, and you had very different communities active in their culture and businesses. It was already a hub; for printing, for publishing, even for the opium trade. It was a trading centre. So in a way, it was similar to Singapore today, even more than 150 years ago.”
The oldest exhibit is from 1701, more than a century before Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles set foot on Singapore. It is the first-ever English-Malay dictionary, written by British trader Thomas Bowery. A 1960 edition of My Favourite Recipes, a cookbook first published in 1952, is the “newest” exhibit. The popular book, which is still on sale today, was written by the first Singaporean principal of Methodist Girls’ School Ellice Handy.
In library lingo, stacks refer to shelving units in a section of a library usually closed to the public. So From The Stacks, explains Ms Wong, is a way to offer the public a peek into the National Library’s collection of artefacts.
Most of the items on display come from its Rare Materials Collection, which has more than 11,000 items spanning the centuries. These are stashed away in a special climate- controlled room in the National Library Building, kept away from curious eyes and questing fingers for the sake of preservation…
From The Stacks is divided into clusters that focus on different themes to provide an encompassing view of Singapore in its early years. “We wanted to give a diverse view through these objects. We try to have each object give a little glimpse into early Singapore life, whether it’s literature, food – of course, food is very important to us – or education, or even the war,” Ms Tan says.
Ms Tan adds: “With things such as books and manuscripts, people think they’re ‘dead’ and boring. So we wanted to make it interesting, have objects come alive and tell their story. “To see people walk away, learning something new and saying, ‘I didn’t know that. So interesting’ – that’s all we need.”
[text src: nur asyiqin mohamad salleh] + more info on exhibition
I also shot an interesting story about how the national library selected a handful of local books to send overseas to other libraries!! So a library somewhere in New Zealand will now have some books from Singapore!! Which is super cool if you ask me.
In the ongoing SG50 Gift Of Books initiative, 10,300 books written on Singapore, or by authors here, are sent to 46 libraries around the world – from Brunei to New Zealand. The project by the National Library Board (NLB), in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started last year – the year of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee – and will wrap up in April…
NLB’s assistant director of international relations and development Michelle Lau says of the project: “Books provide valuable insight into the heart of each country. Although we are a relatively young nation, both Singapore as well as our literary community have come a long way in these 50 years.” “The SG50 Gift Of Books initiative was developed to allow us to share a small part of our history with our friends around the world, to showcase the progress we have made and the literary talent present within our shores.”…
The range of books spans hard-nosed tomes on the economy, such as Terence Chong’s Management Of Success: Singapore Revisited, to works of literature such as Reflecting On The Merlion, a poetry anthology edited by Edwin Thumboo and Yeow Kai Chai. The selected titles, notes Ms Lau, can serve as a tangible record of Singapore’s history and the ideas developed here, for readers who have never visited the country.
“Singaporean books and content, though gaining popularity, are not common in foreign libraries,” she says. So sharing these books adds to the diversity of offerings in libraries overseas and gives readers there a fresh literary perspective. She adds: “This also helps to elevate the status of Singapore authors and the literary community.”
Writers who made the list say the project can offer foreigners a glimpse of a different side of Singapore and may even help buck stereotypes of the country.
[text src: nur asyiqin mohamad salleh]
Anyway, while I was at this library in Pasir Ris, I checked out WAY too many books as illustrated by this monstrous pile and my face:
As of writing this post I have now read 7 of 12 these books and didn’t read the Batmanga because it was a second volume and I also couldn’t be bothered. SOZ BATSY!!
I also ended up visiting the Jurong Regional Library today and also checked out quite a few books, but this time just 4. Because that is all that my account will allow me. 😢😢😢
TL;DR – LOVE YOUR LIBRARIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!