Geylang East Public Library

Singapore Infopedia

by Tien, Mui Mun


Geylang East Community Library (known as Geylang East Public Library from 2008)1 was the seventh branch library opened by the National Library Board (NLB). This standalone library was officially unveiled on 26 July 1988.2

Funds for the Geylang East library were approved by the Treasury in 19853 and piling work began in 1986.4 The S$4.5-million branch library was completed on 1 December 1987.5

At the time of its opening in July 1988, it was a fully computerised library with a collection of 100,000 publications. The library was intended to serve the residents from Geylang East and West, MacPherson, Paya Lebar, Aljunied, Geylang Serai, Kallang, Jalan Besar and Kampong Ubi.6

The Geylang East Library was closed to the public from 18 March 2002 until 28 April 2002 for the installation of the new Electronic Library Management System.7 This system works with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which allows books to be cancelled immediately as they are returned through automated bookdrop and the loan records of the patrons are updated instantly.8

The three-storey library has a floor area of 3,817 sq m. As at December 2013, the library’s collection comprises 243,438 items, with the largest proportion coming from English children’s books. Geylang East Library is also the first public library in Singapore to have a special thematic collection on cookery and food-related literature.9 In the financial year ending March 2011, Geylang East Public Library served more than 1,069,713 visitors and registered 1,082,498 library loans.10

The first level of the library is the children’s section with a parenting collection and a storytelling room.11 Volunteers conduct storytelling sessions regularly at the library.12 The second floor houses the adult and young people’s sections. It contains multimedia services, audiovisual materials and a newspapers and magazines collection. Level three of the library has an exhibition hall, meeting rooms and a 200-seat auditorium.13

In 2012, the library underwent a renovation but was still open to the public. In line with the lush greenery around the Geylang East Library, which is located near the Aljunied MRT station, NLB brought in potted plants and trees indoors to bring nature closer to their readers.14 To complement this new nature theme, a lounge space was created at the adult section, while new reading tables that are sloped at an angle for better reading of newspapers were also installed.15

Special features
On 12 July 2013, the Sony eReader loan service was launched at the Geylang East Public Library. It is among four libraries in Singapore equipped with this loan service. The 400 eReaders were donated by the Embassy of the United States, Singapore.16 Readers can borrow the eReaders to read eBooks from the libraries for a period of three weeks.17

On 30 May 2014, Geylang East Public Library joined Jurong Regional Library and Toa Payoh Public Library to become a host of smart work centres. These three library-located smart work centres are aimed at allowing residents to work nearer their homes, thus promoting work–life balance and productivity. The centres have rooms for meetings, with a secured wireless internet as well as video-conferencing, copying and printing facilities. These centres are jointly operated by Regus (a business centre operator),18 the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and NLB.19


Jenny Tien

1. National Library Board. (n.d.). National Library Board annual report 2008/2009. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website:
2. Govt wants all to have access to information. (1988, July 27). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Geylang library. (1984, June 30). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Computerised $4.5 m library to open next year. (1987, December 2). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Two drainage contracts awarded. (1986, March 12). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. National Library. (1988). Geylang East Community Library. Singapore: Author. (Call no.: RCLOS NC24)
7. $15.6m plan to upgrade six public libraries. (1997, March 7). The Straits Times, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. NLB's queue cutting tactics. (2001, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. National Library Board. (2014, September 1). Geylang East Public Library. Retrieved May 24, 2016, from National Library Board website:
10. 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: summary.pdf

11. National Library Board. (n.d.). Geylang East Public Library. Retrieved 2016, June 24 from National Library Board website:
12. National Library Board. (n.d.). Event information. Retrieved 2016, June 24 from
13. National Library. (1988). Geylang East Community Library. Singapore: Author. (Call no.: RCLOS NC24)
14. Zaccheus, M. (2013, April 14). Libraries now reflect their communitiesThe Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. National Library Board. (2014, September 1). Geylang East Public Library. Retrieved 2016, May 24 from National Library Board website:
16. US Embassy donates 400 eReaders to NLB. (2013, July 12). AsiaOne. Retrieved from AsiaOne website: News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20130712-436706.html
17. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Loan of e-devices. Retrieved 2016, May 24 from National Library Board website:
18. Regus Group Companies. (n.d.). Singapore, Geylang East Public Library (Regus Express). Retrieved 2016, May 24 from Regus website:
19. Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. (2014, May 30). Smart work centres officially open in public libraries. Retrieved 2016, June 24 from IDA website:

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 on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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