library@esplanade collections, programmes to move to National Library Building

More centralised arts collections and services for all to learn, discover and create with


Singapore, 2 May 2023 – The collections and programmes from the library@esplanade will be moving to the National Library Building, in the heart of the Civic District. The move will enable NLB to centralise the performing arts collections, services and programmes, alongside other existing arts resources at the National Library. The centralised services will be in close proximity to the academic and arts institutions, as well as the community and arts practitioners in the vicinity. The current library@esplanade will close on 30 June 2023 (Friday) and its current premises will be converted by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay into arts and commercial spaces.

As early as August this year, familiar favourite programmes from the library@esplanade, including recitals, movie screenings, jazz appreciation workshops and showcases of original works will be available at the new location of the National Library Building. Other popular offerings from the library@esplanade like the music studio, movies, music scores and books, will be made available from the second half of 2024 in the National Library Building as well. By then, students, researchers, practitioners from the arts and academic institutions in the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct can look forward to arts programmes and collections of material, for both borrowing and reference. This will include the following:

  1. Collections: Books, music scores, play scripts, classical as well as popular CDs and video recordings of films, operas, dance performances, and theatre productions.
  2. Facilities: A Piano Practice Room and a Silent Studio where musicians can hold jamming sessions, and anew programming zone that is fitted with a baby grand piano will continue to host a variety of performing arts programmes.  There will also be a Screening Room available for patrons to rent and watch movies.
  3. Programmes (available from late-2023): Weekly Movie Screenings, Open Stage Originals, recitals, jazz appreciation workshops and more performing arts workshops will be made available to patrons.

The relocation of the performing arts collection to the National Library Building, will add to the rest of the arts collection within the National Library, and offer invaluable arts resource for academic and arts institutions in the vicinity, including the School of the Arts Singapore, Singapore Management University and University of the Arts Singapore, an alliance of constituent collegesLASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. This will also serve the community and art practitioners within the arts belt of Waterloo Street, Stamford Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre as they will soon enjoy greater access and convenience to this treasure trove of arts resources and facilities. 

NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “While we are sad to leave the Esplanade, we are excited by the opportunities of creating a new, consolidated arts resource right in the heart of the Civic District. In addition to the strong performing arts collection carried over from the library@esplanade, patrons can enjoy the convenience of accessing NLB’s rich arts collections under one roof at the National Library Building. We look forward to working with partners, including Esplanade and the arts institutions and communities around Bras Basah-Bugis to deepen the creation, learning, and appreciation of the arts among Singaporeans.”


New Offerings at the Plaza

In addition to having a more centralised location to access arts resources, visitors to the National Library Building can also look forward to new offerings in the Plaza area in 2024. NLB plans toprovide more spaces there for arts and cultural performances, and new food and beverage options for people to connect and collaborate over coffee and conversations. NLB will open a call for proposals to develop the space, and more details will be available when ready. 


“Intermission Party”

During the month of June, NLB will host a series of events at the library@esplanade, including performances and movie screenings. Patrons are also invited to join the Intermission Party on the last day of its operations at the Esplanade, and to celebrate the move to new arts opportunities at the National Library Building. This Intermission Party will be held on 30 June 2023, 6pm, and is open to members of the public. More details of the Intermission Party will be available on LearnXArts Facebook Page in the upcoming weeks.

Ms Yvonne Tham, Chief Executive Officer, The Esplanade Co Ltd, said: “library@esplanade has been a big part of the arts-going and learning experience at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, as well as a valuable amenity to our visitors since our opening. However, our strong partnership with NLB does not end here as we continue to work in synergy with them to further arts and cultural education and learning. Esplanade will further our national role in developing the cultural sector by creating much needed studio spaces for small-scale performances, public workshops and talks, masterclasses and rehearsals. Secondly, part of the space will also be converted into an office space for the Singapore Symphony Group, which manages the flagship Singapore Symphony Orchestra and its affiliated performing groups. Visitors can also look forward to new F&B offerings as part of Esplanade Mall’s unique positioning as an arts-meets-lifestyle destination in the Civic District and Marina Bay precincts.”


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About the National Library Board

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 29 libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore's history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services, and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

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