Bukit Batok Public Library

Singapore Infopedia

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala


Bukit Batok Public Library is located in West Mall.Known as Bukit Batok Community Library until 2008,2 this public library is the fifth library under the National Library Board to be located inside a shopping mall.3 The library was officially opened on 21 November 1998 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.4

In 1998, Bukit Batok Community Library became the first library in the world to use the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Electronic Library Management System (ELiMS). The ELiMS, which manages the tracking, distribution, circulation and flow of books in the library, was developed jointly by Singapore Technologies LogiTrack and the National Library Board. This technology allows books to be processed immediately as they are returned through automated book-drops so that the loan records of the borrowers are updated instantly.The reader can then borrow books immediately after returning his or her loan items instead of waiting up to 30 minutes with the previous system.6 ELiMS was touted as the world’s first fully integrated RFID library management system to be used in the public libraries.The system was expected to save NLB up to S$50 million annually.8

In February 1999, Bukit Batok Community Library hosted Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who came see the cutting-edge technology used in the library.9

The library has a floor area of 1,279 sq m.10 As at 1 September 2014, it is home to 166,925 books and audiovisual materials. The library has a customer service counter, an adult and young people’s section, a children’s section, an Activity room and 8 multimedia stations. Facilities in the library include ekiosks for enquiry and payment, six borrowing stations, two book-drop services, browsing shelves of books and periodicals in the four main languages and multimedia services.11 In the financial year ending March 2011, Bukit Batok Community Library served more than 1,122,371 visitors and saw 1,205,167 library loans.12

Storytelling sessions for children (aged four to six years old) are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday. Adults can take part in book discussions via the Heartlands Book Club which was formed in August 2005. A main feature of the book club involves inviting local, as well as foreign, authors to discuss their books and enrich club members’ literary experience. The club meets on the last Friday of every month.13

In 2011, the library underwent renovation. Some of the enhancements include shifting the customer service counter nearer to the library entrance, converting the existing counter space into a digital service area housing eight multimedia stations, and expanding the newspaper reading area. In addition, other physical improvements such as carpeting and repainting works were carried out to improve the ambience. Lights were also replaced to reduce uneven lighting in the library.14

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Bukit Batok Public Library. Retrieved 2016, May 23 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/286/Default.aspx?branch=Bukit%20Batok%20Public%20Library 
 National Library Board. (n.d.). National Library Board annual report 2008/2009. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy08/
Gwee, J., & Neo, B. S. (2013, March). A library for the people: A case study of the National Library Board. Retrieved 2016, May 6 from Civil Service College website: https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/knowledge/pages/a-library-for-the-people-a-case-study-of-the-national-library-board.aspx
Ministry of Information and the Arts. (1998, November 21). Speech by DPM Lee Hsien Loong at opening of Bukit Batok Community Library at Bukit Batok Community Library, West Mall, Bukit Batok Central Link on 21 Nov 98, 11am. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website:, www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
5. New system saves National Library up to $50m a year. (2000, August 23). The Business Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Bukit Batok’s e-library management system a first for Singapore. (1998, November 23). The Business Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Hail the high tech library. (2000, August 23). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
New system saves National Library up to $50m a year. (2000, August 23). The Business Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Thai princess meets PM. (1999, February 2). The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Bukit Batok Public Library. Retrieved 2016, May 23 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/286/Default.aspx?branch=Bukit%20Batok%20Public%20Library
National Library Board. (2014, September 01). Bukit Batok Public Library. Retrieved 2016 May 23 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Bukit%20Batok%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
National Library Board. (n.d.). Statistical summary: National Library Board annual report FY2010/2011, p. 49. Retrieved 2016, May 6 from National Library Board website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy10/content/NLB_AR10_11_statistical summary.pdf
National Library Board. (n.d.). Book clubs. Retrieved 2016, May 23 from National Library Board  website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/readsingapore/book-clubs/
National Library Board. (2014, September 01). Bukit Batok Public Library. Retrieved 2016, May 23 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Bukit%20Batok%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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