Central Community Library (Stamford Road)

Singapore Infopedia


Opened on 12 November 1960, the Central Community Library was located in the former National Library Building on Stamford Road.1 It used to be called the Central Lending Library2until 1 September 1995 when the National Library became a statutory board and it was henceforth renamed Central Community Library.3 It was closed in April 2004 as the National Library Building would be demolished.4

Being on Stamford Road, the public library was located in the commercial and cultural hub of the central region and served residents living and working in the Central Business District, as well as the constituencies of Cairnhill, Jalan Besar, Kampong Glam, Kreta Ayer and Tanjong Pagar.5 Until the first branch library was established at Queenstown in 1970,6 the Central Lending Library, as it was known then, was only lending library for many Singaporeans.7

The children’s section only had air-conditioned installed in January 1982 after young children were observed to be fainting from the heat at the area.8 A more extensive renovation and major upgrading works, done together with the rest of the National Library building, was carried out from April 1997 to January 1998.9  

In 2003, the Central Community Library was reported to have 128,182 members, with 1,100,073 patrons visiting the library and borrowing 965,438 library items.10 However, the Central Community Library, along with the National Library, was closed on 1 April 2004 after serving patrons for 44 years.11 On 12 November 2005, the new Central Public Library was reopened at the basement of the new National Library Building on Victoria Street.12 

The Central Community Library was located on the first floor of the National Library Building. The second and third floors were occupied by the Multimedia Centre and the National Reference Library respectively.13 The library consisted of the adult, young people’s and children’s sections. It was equipped with Online Public Access Catalogues terminals, self-checkout borrowing stations, self-service borrower’s enquiry service and payment terminals, self-service multimedia pre-payment stations, cashcard top-up machines and a 24-hour bookdrop service.14 The library also featured a cafe located in the building’s courtyard.15 

In 1997, the Central Community Library had 183,600 books, 260 periodical titles and 3,000 music scores – it was the only library with a collection of music scores.16

Class visits and outreach programmes were conducted for schoolchildren from schools in the nearby constituencies,17 along with storytelling sessions and other children’s programmes.18 For adults and young people, there were regular programmes held at the courtyard centred on subjects such as business, science, wellness and the arts.19 

Anasuya Balamurugan

1. K. K. Seet, A Place for the People (Singapore: Times Books International, 1983), 121. (Call no. RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]) 
2. National Library Board, Singapore, Central Community Library (Singapore: National Library Board, 1966). (Call no. RCLOS NC15)
3. “About Us,” National Library Board, Singapore, accessed 30 May 2016.
4. Shobha Tsering Bhalla, “History Repeats Itself at Library’s Closure,” Today, 2 April 2004, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
5. National Library Board, Singapore, Central Community Library.
6. Shen Swee Yong, “Chatter from above as Lee Speaks on Noise Levels,” Straits Times, 1 May 1970, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
7. A. Lourdes, “A Library Right at Their Doorstep in Queenstown,” Straits Times, 8 February 1970, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Seet, Place for the People, 129.
9. Claudette Peralta, “National Library’s $ 2.6M Facelift,” Straits Times, 12 March 1997, 2; Ong Sor Fern, “Welcome to 60,000 New Books, 38 PCs,” Straits Times, 16 January 1998, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
10. National Library Board, Singapore, Annual Report 2004/2005: Loans for FY2003 to FY2004 (Singapore: National Library Board, 2005). (From BookSG)
11. Philip Lee, ed., Moments in Time (Singapore: National Library Board, 2004), 2. (Call no. RSING 027.55957 MOM) 
12. “Central Public Library,” National Library Board, accessed 30 May 2016. 13. 
13. Ong, “Welcome to 60,000 New Books.”
14. National Library Board, Singapore, Central Community Library.
15. “Dad Can Have a Cuppa Here,” Straits Times, 14 June 1999, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
16. National Library Board, Singapore, Annual Report 1997 (Singapore: National Library Board, 1998). 
17. National Library Board, Singapore, Programmes: Central Community Library (Singapore: National Library Board, 1973). (Call no. RCLOS NE4)
18. National Library Board, Singapore, Central Community Library.
19. “Tips on Evaluating Business Ideas,” Straits Times, 24 June 2000, 22; “Science under the Stars,” Straits Times, 18 January 2001, 11; Jessica Tan, “Library Learns to Put Down the Book and Xpress Itself,” Straits Times, 10 July 1999, 13. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as of 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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