Sembawang Public Library

Singapore Infopedia

by Tien, Jenny Mui Mun


The Sembawang Public Library (formerly known as Sembawang Community Library) is located in Sun Plaza Shopping Centre. Its design was inspired by Sembawang’s shipyard and shipbuilding history. It was also designed with spaces to promote inter-generational reading.1

The library was officially opened by K. Shanmugam, former Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC (Chong Pang), on 11 August 2000.2 It was one of the first few public libraries to be equipped with the Electronic Library Management Systems (ELiMS). The system could identify, categorise and track the loan and return of library materials, using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.3 The library was relocated to Level 5 of the Sun Plaza Shopping Centre and re-opened on  5 November 2014 after a revamp. The re-opening was graced by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (Dr), former parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport.4

The revamped library occupies the entire storey with a floor area of 1,607 sq m. It serves mainly residents in the northwestern areas, such as Lim Chu Kang, Mandai, Sembawang, Simpang, Sungei Kadut, Woodlands and Yishun. The library has a collection size of 150,000 publications for users of all age groups. The collection includes more than 400 magazine titles, an early literacy compilation for children aged six years and below, and digital resources such as electronic newspapers and magazines.5 In November 2014 the library started to use data analytics to improve its services. Improvements include functions that help library users find books that are popular with other users.6

Design theme
The modern nautical and maritime design theme of the library reflects the rich shipyard and shipbuilding history of Sembawang. There are also sitting and reading spaces modelled after shipping containers.

Guide to the library

A Library Guide station located near the entrance allows patrons to find out more about the library, read frequently asked questions, orientate themselves with a map of the library, or talk to the staff.

Reservations collection
A self-help pick-up service, COLLECT, allows patrons to retrieve their reserved items from lockers located at the entrance. This service is available during mall opening hours.

Thematic storytelling and readers’ advisory
Monthly storytelling sessions called “Stories and More!” conducted by librarians allow children to enjoy stories and activities based on themes such as folktales, friendship and festivals. Parents and children can also approach the librarians for enquiries related to books and recommended reads.

Children’s area
The children’s section is specially zoned into three areas. The “Babies & Toddlers” area, designed with low-seating and tactile furniture, features the early literacy collection. The “Young Readers” area, designed for older children aged seven to nine years, is furnished with children’s eReaders to give children an enriching reading experience in the library besides promoting digital literacy. The reading deck features an open seating area for parents and children. It hosts storytelling and other programmes, allowing parents to comfortably join in with their children.


Jenny Tien

1. National Library Board. (2008). Annual Report 2008. Retrieved 2016, August 4 from National Library Board website:; National Library Board. (2014, November 5). Revamped Sembawang Public Library anchors nautical look and inspires intergenerational reading [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website:
2. National Library Board (2016). Sembawang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, August 4 from National Library Board website:
3. New system saves National Library up to $50m a year. (2000, August 20). The Business Times. p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Sembawang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from National Library Board website:
5. National Library Board. (2016, March 10). Sembawang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from National Library Board website:; National Library Board. (2016, June 21). Sembawang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from National Library Board website:
6. Hio, L. (2015, August 29). New system helps library users find popular books. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website:
7. National Library Board (2016). Sembawang Public Library. Retrieved 2016, August 4 from National Library Board 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 of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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