On Paper: Singapore before 1867

28 Sep 2019 – 22 Mar 2020

Through carefully preserved records from not only the collections of the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore, On Paper presents a rare treat to all who are interested in our nation’s past.

The First Print: Stories and Legends of Early Singapore

23 January – 24 March 2019

With many tales such as the strong man Badang and the attack of the garfish, Sejarah Melayu continues to enchant writers and readers everywhere. Discover these timeless stories and how one man managed to bring this ancient manuscript to the masses, thereby ensuring that its legacy live on through the ages.

The Rare Collection Gallery


The Rare Collection Gallery showcases treasures from the National Library’s Rare Materials Collection of valuable research materials on Singapore and Southeast Asia. Comprising over 15,000 books, journals, manuscripts, maps, photographs and ephemera, many of the items in the collection were inherited from the National Library’s predecessors – the Singapore Library (1844–1874) and the Raffles Museum and Library (1874–1960). The collection is also further enhanced by recent donations from institutions and individuals.

Donors’ Gallery


Donations of library materials to the National Library play a significant role in adding diversity and depth to our collection and are instrumental in assisting the library to obtain notable National Collection items. This Donors’ Gallery was set up to acknowledge our donors and showcase their donations. On display is a small selection of materials which provides a glimpse of the variety of materials that have been gifted to the National Library over the years.

Singapore Literary Pioneers


The gallery displays the books, letters, calligraphic works, manuscripts, photographs and portraits of Singapore’s literary pioneers. Some prominent writers have also donated their pens, typewriters and literary awards. In addition, visitors can appreciate audio and video recordings of the writers in two multimedia screens.

From Books to Bytes: The Story of the National Library


Throughout our history, the library has been an integral part of Singapore’s cultural and social fabric as well as its residents. The exhibition traces the founding, development and growth of the National Library, Singapore from 1823 till present.