LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025)

A five-year plan reimagining the future of libraries and archives.

“The pandemic has shown us that there is not much that can be predicted with absolute certainty. In this changed world and the world that we will transit into, we have to be prepared to adapt and ride on possibilities that present themselves. LAB25 is NLB’s response in this spirit and sets out how we will be with you as together, we refocus libraries and archives to empower you to learn and discover continuously to be ready for the future.

At its heart, LAB25 is an invitation to partners and the community to collaborate with NLB on a journey of innovation and experimentation to reimagine libraries and archives in Singapore.”

Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, NLB

The National Library Board (NLB) has been relentless in its efforts to nurture reading and to bring knowledge to all Singaporeans. From its formation in 1995 as a statutory board to transform Singapore’s public libraries, to managing the National Archives in 2012, to the development of a network of new regional and community libraries under the Library 2000 Masterplan, NLB has always kept in pace with the nation’s growth.

With LAB25, NLB goes a step further by developing an omni-channel network of library and archives services as the Singapore economy restructures and as society learns to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to support Singaporeans from all strata of society as the nation navigates the rapidly evolving social, cultural and economic landscapes.

We have identified four key roles to help those we serve: building a Learning Marketplace, nurturing an Informed Citizenry, inspiring Singapore Storytellers, and being an Equaliser. Click here for an overview of LAB25 and the four pillars.


We Hear You

In developing LAB25, we first consulted with partners and the public, organising workshops and focus groups to gather ideas as we charted the journey forward. Our public consultation in 2020 drew a strong response, with 440 respondents sharing their feedback. These suggestions and responses have helped us shape NLB’s four key focus areas, even as we invite you to continue voicing your ideas as we consider the future of libraries and archives in Singapore.

Our vision is to expand our formidable user base into a major national platform by opening our doors to partners interested in advancing lifelong learning and discovery. These partners can benefit from this expanded platform and play their part in expanding it further in a virtuous cycle of agglomeration by bringing in their content and audiences. Patrons will be able to enjoy a far greater and more diverse outlay of content and services in their lifelong learning journey.

To realise the Learning Marketplace, NLB will focus on three areas.

First, transforming our platforms. NLB currently operates a network of 29 libraries, the National Library and the archives reading room, as well as offers digital services through its website and the NLB Mobile app. Over the next 5 years, NLB will fully integrate its physical and digital offerings into a network of immersive hubs and nodes. The present NLB Mobile app could be further expanded into a digital “Learning Superstore” to provide seamless omni-channel user experiences. It will connect users to all of NLB’s content and services, offering enhanced access to online resources, transforming physical libraries to provide experiential learning, and nodes to reach out to new patrons.

Second, providing multiple learning pathways such as personalised recommendations for each patron with the use of data and machine learning to string resources to help lifelong learners continually build on their learning.

Lastly, supporting learning communities by connecting patrons with similar learning interests, leveraging the timeless power of libraries as relevant and effective community and social spaces for people to come together.


We aspire to nurture a thoughtful people who reflect deeply on the information they access every day.

We want to provide a platform for the public to access both thought leaders and content creators as well as a wide range of resources and perspectives, in addition to the skills needed to navigate the pitfalls of daily life.

To do this, we will rely on two of NLB’s tried and tested initiatives – the National Reading Movement and S.U.R.E. (an information literacy programme that teaches people to discern the facts from fake news) – and our extensive networks of partners.


Our past is a treasure trove of memories and stories that have helped shape our shared experience as Singaporeans. Through Singapore Storytellers, NLB hopes to nurture a stronger appreciation and understanding of the Singapore experience. This goal will be achieved through the following ways. We will:

  • Gather content about Singapore as a collector;
  • Lead digital preservation of content as a keeper;
  • Enable the discovery and use of content as a connector, and;
  • Inspire generations of storytellers.

We envision this role to be a shared partnership with Singaporeans, as we elicit curiosity and wonder, and help shape an understanding of Singapore’s heritage and identity in the process.

Building on NLB’s long tradition of promoting reading, we are ramping up our efforts to bridge societal gaps and empower as many people as we can in this digital age. We will extend our outreach to children from lower-income families to share the joy of learning, as well as equip seniors with digital skills.

Punggol Regional Library, which will open in 2023, will pioneer integrated services for persons with disabilities. These services will be progressively rolled out in other public libraries.

We also aim to provide a platform for Singaporeans to experience and understand technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud tech and virtual reality, offering even those who are tech-savvy with new opportunities for learning and advancement.

1. Grab-n-Go

Grab-n-Go is NLB’s latest experimental concept which allows the seamless borrowing of multiple books by simply going through exit gantries.

or NLB eCard, but only library members without outstanding charges can borrow books.library-compliant cardThese Grab-n-Go libraries are open to all with a

Borrowing has never been easier:

4. Exit the gantry.
3. Confirm the titles on the screen by scanning ID or NLB eCard.
2. Carry the book(s) to the exit gantry.
1. Grab up to 8 books.

While all visitors will need to tap their NLB-compliant cards to enter the Grab-n-Go, only borrowers will be prompted to tap their card again upon exit to confirm their loans.

National Library Building, Level 5 Study Lounge
Explore a collection of approximately 5,000 English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil titles across multiple genres like comics, romance and non-fiction, in the pilot Grab-n-Go within the National Library Building. 


2. Singapore Storytellers Video Series

The brand-new Singapore Storytellers video series highlights the collections of the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore through innovative storytelling. Comprising three original video series, our aim is to tell stories of Singapore – about the people who lived, the food we love, and the way things were.

.“Stories from BiblioAsia” and “From Book to Cook” and our two other Singapore Storyteller video series, this seriesA children’s video series, “The Time Travelling Trio” stars three children, Sarah, Rina and Rokawa, who learn about Singapore’s past with the assistance of Liana, the friendly librarian. In each episode, the trio and Liana look at a different theme and talk to a special guest who brings his or her perspective to the topic. Don’t miss out on 

3. Curiocity

Are you curious about this city we call home? What is Bras Basah’s connection with “wet rice"? Discover lesser-known stories about places in Singapore through Curiocity, in the form of digital Story Maps and seasonal events like art showcases and treasure hunts!

This 1893 map shows "Bras Basah Road" spelled in the form we know today. The map is among the earliest that carried this spelling. (Image via National Archives of Singapore)

Curiocity on the Web

Story Maps, a new feature on the Curiocity website, allow you to encounter stories about districts and neighbourhoods wherever you are using your mobile devices. The Story Maps draw from the rich collections of the National Library and National Archives of Singapore, as well as from partners' repositories of historical photos, maps, oral histories, and videos.

Explore brand-new content like an in-depth feature on Bras Basah which investigates early maps to show how its name came to be. Trace its development as an entertainment district, a food haven, and a place for bibliophiles (through the National Library)! Check back as new Story Maps and content are released progressively!

4. Read to be SURE

Read to be SURE aims to educate and inform the public on trending topics through a combination of curated reading content and accompanying programmes. By exploring multiple perspectives on these topics, readers and participants will benefit from a balanced and credible knowledge base.


In the latest edition of Read to be SURE, explore multiple viewpoints on gender equality. Read the issue here.


Manga Library@City Square Mall

manga library

After a successful pilot in the National Library building, NLB is bringing Grab-n-Go to a public space for the first time. This self-service library takes the form of a niche library, with a collection comprising mostly Manga titles. 

On top of these 5,000 Manga books, the library also features an interactive Mr Kiasu robot concierge, eReads screens displaying eManga for loan, and a showcase wall of Singapore’s own local comic scene. 



5. Nodes

With nodes, we are extending the library experience beyond its physical walls, bringing content and services to you wherever you are. You may have experienced NLB’s collections in shopping malls last year, through eBooks presented through QR codes on immersive wallpapers and lift decals, as well as through interactive digital doors and Experience Labs. This year, NLB will be working with partners to share the joy of reading through unexpected and surprising formats – stay up to date on the latest information here.

Nodes at Parks: The Sustainability Showcase

. Discover NLB’s exciting eResources on sustainability by scanning the QR codes on the showcase display.Nodes at ParksThis is your final chance to learn and discover more about sustainability through NLB’s


nodes at parks

Ever wondered how your daily purchasing decisions impact the environment? Don’t miss this opportunity to browse our “supermarket” aisles and learn about eight different topics on sustainability. The items on display showcase innovative ideas and products by green entrepreneurs. Learn about topics such as single-use plastics, composting, sustainable food production, and more. The Read to be Sure component of the Sustainability Showcase also provides multiple perspectives on sustainability issues.

6. LearnX: Learning Pathways and Communities 

LearnX’s Learning Pathways are a gateway to learning and discovery, offering a wide range of programmes and resources from NLB and our partners. Explore specially curated pathways for eight key learning focus areas – Digital, Careers, Sustainability, Reading, Science, Singapore, Wellness, Arts – or be empowered to create your own tailor-made learning journey!

Our communities are the heartbeat of our libraries. With our LearnX Communities initiative, we engage with groups across our public libraries to empower volunteer-led learning communities that span a diverse range of interests and passions. Our community projects include an interactive chatbot project created by members of the Chatbot learning community and the Communities: Zzzink! club at library@orchard that aims to promote the reading of zines through its zines reproduction, displayed in a gallery showcase.

Explore our Learning Pathways and find your learning community today on the new LearnX website!

The LAB25 logo embodies our vision for the libraries and archives of tomorrow – dynamic, collaborative, open-ended. Pixels in motion capture a forward-looking attitude and a strong momentum as we embark on the journey ahead. Neon streaks reanimate NLB’s brand colours and highlight the diversity of roles and initiatives that energise LAB25 as a perpetual process of information, innovation, and transformation. Deconstructed elements express a work-in-progress spirit and opportunities for building together in collaboration. The logo, like LAB25 itself, is a blueprint for what could come next, and an invitation to all of you to reimagine libraries and archives with us. For now and the future.

Giving Made Easier through Partnership with

Partner Us

This is just the start of our exciting LAB25 journey and we are eager to explore its many possibilities with you. We would like to invite you to join us as a partner or a volunteer. Working together, we can reimagine our libraries and archives to meet the challenges of the future.