library@chinatown marks 10th anniversary with partners and volunteers, and new programmes for all

Singapore, 17 February 2023 – The library@chinatown, the National Library Board’s (NLB) first partner library that is fully supported by the community and run by volunteers, marked its tenth anniversary today with an evening of celebration for partners and volunteers. Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, was the Guest-of-Honour for the event.

Over the past ten years, library@chinatown has been fully supported by the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple and CP1 Pte Ltd, and managed by volunteers. NLB manages the library’s systems, collection development and programmes.

NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “The library@chinatown established the model for how volunteers, the community and partners, can help co-create a space for all to read, learn and discover in. This has led to more community and volunteer-supported spaces across our libraries, including the latest Punggol Regional Library. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers and our partners, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple and CP1 Pte Ltd, for their strong support. Importantly, their support over the years has enabled many to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Chinese heritage and culture.”


Celebrating Ten Years of Community Partnership

NLB also celebrated and thanked its partners and volunteers for a decade of close partnership, which reaffirms its LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025) launched in 2021, to reimagine libraries and archives with the community.

Since 2018, the number of volunteers at library@chinatown has quadrupled to almost 300 who contributed each year, underscoring the success of the volunteer-supported model. Volunteers are onsite daily to maintain and promote the library collections through the sorting and shelving of books and curation of book displays. They also address basic queries from patrons who need help with library services, and assist to advocate good library etiquette. Their contributions have helped to create an exciting space for patrons to read, learn and discover more about Chinese arts and culture.

NLB has adapted the successful volunteer-supported model in different ways across other public libraries including at the recently opened Punggol Regional Library.

The library’s sponsors have also been instrumental to the success of library@chinatown. In the past ten years, The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple has funded the library’s operations, and has committed to do so for the next five years. The Temple’s funding enables the library to refresh its collection regularly, acquire digital content, and organise a diverse variety of cultural, heritage and literary programmes for patrons. CP1 Pte Ltd provided the space for and sponsored the set-up of the library.


More Programmes and Collections, with Something for Everyone

NLB will continue to work closely with its partners, along with interest groups and academic institutions to offer new programmes and resources at the library, that aim to cultivate a deeper appreciation and understanding of Chinese arts and culture.

From 11 March 2023, patrons can look forward to a monthly Children Reading Club conducted in Chinese by trained volunteers and teachers for children aged four to eight years old to learn more about Chinese literature. The Qing History Reading Club, which was set up at library@chinatown in April 2015, will also offer the first-ever English quarterly sessions, from 15 April 2023, for more patrons to discover the literature, arts and history of China’s Qing Dynasty. Other new offerings include Traditional Chinese Medicine wellness programmes, and workshops on Chinese opera and musical instruments. The library is also exploring to use technology to enhance the engagement in activities such as Chinese calligraphy and chess. An AI Chinese chess robot will be available in the library from March to teach and plays chess with patrons. More of library@chinatown’s upcoming programmes can be found in the Annex.

In 2022, NLB also refreshed and expanded the collections in library@chinatown to include new topics and genres beyond Chinese arts and culture to encourage more to read widely in their topics of interest. The Adults’ collection now includes books on digital readiness and computer literacy for seniors, while the Children’s collection has also been broadened to include more fiction and non-fiction books, including popular titles in English. Those looking to travel can also benefit from expanded travel content which now also covers popular destinations such as Thailand and Japan.


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 in 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).

For more information, please visit the NLB website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Hoe I Yune
Weber Shandwick
Tel: 9324 2061

Eric Seow
Weber Shandwick
Tel: 9231 3834



Upcoming Programmes at library@chinatown


Description (What is it about, how often, the target audience)


*NEW: Children’s Reading Club (in Chinese)

Monthly Children's Reading Club by volunteers who are current or retired teachers, or grandparents, who engage children four to eight years old and their caregivers in interactive Chinese storytelling and fun-filled activities.

Starting on 11 Mar 2023, Saturday, this programme will take place monthly on every second Saturday of the month

*NEW: Qing History Reading Club (in English)

A community that reads, learns and discovers together about China’s Qing History, the Qing History Society Reading Club is a popular reading club that was set up in NLB in April 2015.

The reading club’s discussions will tap on the popularity of television drama series on life in the imperial palace, to explore interesting facets of Chinese history, arts and culture, and highlight the differences between actual history and falsehoods portrayed on television.

In 2022, the club experimented with conducting English sessions on top of their regular Chinese sessions to reach out to an English- speaking audience. The new English sessions will be conducted at library@chinatown.

The club has been successful in attracting young adults, with an average of 100 participants per session (pre-COVID number).

Starting on 15 Apr 2023, this quarterly programme will take place on the third Saturday of June, Aug and Oct 2023.

*NEW: Chinese Opera Workshop Series by TAS Theatre Company Singapore Ltd (in Chinese)

This is a series of workshops where participants will be taught the basics of Chinese Opera movements such as 动作, 体形in Chinese. TAS Theatre is a non-profit company, accredited with “Charity” status under the National Arts Council Arts Housing Scheme. It was founded in 1993 by a group of talented and experienced artists Mr. Lee Ngoh Wah, Mr. Chong Kah Hoo and Mdm Goh Siew Geok. TAS hopes to promote the appreciation of arts to our younger generation and to cultivate our local artist talents.

Starting on 27 May 2023, Saturday, this programme will take place every fourth Saturday of the month.

*NEW: Elderprenuership - How to Be (in English)

The “How to Be” series aims to connect seniors with their recognised peers who have monetised their passions in a friendly and casual setting. Seniors can take this opportunity to clarify their queries on the profession discussed and be inspired by the speakers’ sharing of their experiences and life stories. Guest speakers will include SilverHype or 銀色组合 (famous local busking team) and Josephine Chia (well-known local author).

Starting on 14 July 2023, this programme will take place every second Friday till December 2023.

*NEW: Play Chinese Chess with a Robot (in both English and Chinese)

Can you win a game of Chinese chess against a robot? In this new programme, an AI Chinese chess robot teaches and plays chess face-to-face with users.

This programme is organised in partnership with SenseTime, a global AI solutions company.

Starting on 22 Mar 2023, this programme will take place over four more sessions in 2023.

随笔南洋读书会/ SG Writings Reading Club (in Chinese)

Formerly the Tea Chapter’s Chinese Reading Club (established in Oct 1998), the club has based their sharing sessions at library@chinatown since May 2018.

It aims to encourage the public to explore the essence and beauty of the Chinese language, and appreciate Chinese literature and art. Members are mainly local enthusiasts of Singapore history and culture, as well as Chinese writers, including immigrants. Books shared include local works and award-winning titles from China, and the club often invites authors and special guests for their sessions.

Ongoing, and conducted every last Sunday of the month.