Institutions and Subsidiaries

NLB's institutions and subsidiaries serve the reading and learning needs of our communities and carry out out NLB's statutory functions of acquiring, preserving, and providing library and archival materials.


Every country has a national library which plays an important role in collecting and preserving books and all other materials about the country, and making sure that Singaporeans can access it so as to preserve culture, literature and memories. The National Library Singapore does this via the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. We are also always expanding our vast array of reference collections and services, so that the patrons, researchers and businesses are empowered to find the information they need.

Occupying seven floors at the National Library building (levels 7 to 13), the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library is the best place to find works about Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. Its physical collection of about 800,000 items includes rare materials which date back to the 15th century, the personal collections of donors who are renowned scholars, and even Asian children’s literature. It is named after prominent Singapore philanthropist Dr Lee Kong Chian, in honour of the $60 million donation from his foundation, the Lee Foundation.


About the National Archives 
As the official custodian of Singapore’s collective memory, we offer a wealth of information to anyone who is interested in the history and heritage of Singapore.

Custodian of Singapore’s Memories 
If you want to see maps of Singapore from the early 19th century or listen to an audio recording of someone who experienced life in Singapore during World War 2, you should pay a visit to the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). NAS is the official custodian of Singapore's collective memory and it is where you can find the most comprehensive collection of Singapore’s archival records. Some of these, date back to the early 19th century and include government files, private memoirs, historical maps, photographs, oral history interviews and audio-visual materials.

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Our public libraries cater to patrons from the young to working adults and senior citizens and provide a wide lending collection of books, magazines, newspapers and audio-visual materials, across a range of subjects for everyone to use and enjoy. Complementing this are reading and learning services and programmes such as multimedia stations, where one can access NLB’s eResources and the Internet, storytelling sessions for children, talks for adults on a plethora of topics and workshops for senior citizens, among others. The choices offered for reading and learning in our public libraries are endless and almost all these services and programmes are offered free-of-charge to Singaporeans and permanent residents in Singapore. Among our public libraries are two specialised libraries with a focus on the performing arts (library@esplanade) and design (library@orchard).

Prefer to browse online? Through the NLB mobile app, we run a highly popular 24/7 digital library which offers all residents, including those based overseas, access to a wide collection of eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers, eComics and learning resources such as courses and videos.

We manage three libraries on behalf of partners. The library@chinatown is supported by the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple to promote Chinese language and culture in all four languages, while the LLiBrary at the Lifelong Learning Institute is supported by SkillsFuture Singapore to promote reading and lifelong learning among working adults. The Singapore Botanic Gardens' Library of Botany and Horticulture supports the work of the Gardens staff, students, and researchers across the globe in a diverse range of science and horticulture disciplines.

In addition, we extend our support to organisations that are keen to set up smaller community-run libraries by donating pre-loved books and offering advice on how to operate these libraries. For instance, we support more than 50 reading corners islandwide located in community centres, senior activity centres, pre-schools and hospitals. Each corner offers a collection of between 500 and 3,000 books donated by us, for different age groups in the four languages, based on the community’s needs.

Founded in 2005, the Asian Film Archive is a non-profit organisation that preserves the rich film heritage of Singapore and Asian cinema and encourages scholarly research on film.

The Asian Film Archive reference collection is available to the public at library@esplanade and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

The Asian Film Archive organises regular film screenings, workshops, talks and exhibitions to promote a wider appreciation of Asian cinema. These activities are held at the Oldham Theatre in the National Archives of Singapore Building and at various public spaces including the National Library Building and the public libraries.

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The Library & Archives Solutions Pte Ltd (LAAS) markets and exports our expertise, products and services to libraries in Singapore and overseas. This includes a wide range of services such as library planning and design, library and archives consulting services, management of library operations, cataloguing, digitisation and training services.

Some of the overseas projects are the China-Singapore Friendship Library in Tianjin Eco-City, and the National Library of Myanmar in Naypyitaw.

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