General Reference Collection

The General Reference Collection at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library has the largest selection of reference works for the general public, including citizen researchers and scholars, and contains authoritative information sources for research, education and decision-making. It broadly covers the various fields under the Arts (literary, visual and performing arts), Business, Languages (Chinese, Malay and Tamil), Science and Technology and Social Sciences and Humanities.

Onsite Access

The collection is distributed across levels 7 to 9 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library:

  • Arts Collection
  • Business Collection
  • Chinese, Malay and Tamil Collection
  • Science and Technology Collection
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Collection

In addition to books, magazines and journals, there is also an extensive collection of subscribed online databases covering eBooks, academic journals, music tracks, magazines and newspapers.

While most subscribed databases can be accessed remotely, some are only accessible onsite due to licensing restrictions. These subscribed databases are also accessible via the Multimedia Stations located within the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library's reading rooms, as well as through personal mobile devices or computers. The National Library Board MyLibrary account is required to access this collection. To sign up, please check our website on library membership.

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library level 8 (English), level 9 (Chinese, Malay and Tamil) and level 11 for Reference Closed Access Collections (RCLOS) and special format materials 

Catalogue Location Code: 



The Arts Collection in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library covers the literary, visual and performing arts. It reflects global influences as well as trends with an emphasis on Singapore’s literary arts and the visual and performing arts of Southeast Asia and Asia. The collection aims to support appreciation, education and research into the development and history of the arts.

  • The Literary Arts Collection includes fiction, poetry, drama, essays, literary history and criticism, including translations of works of Singapore writers especially those written in Chinese, Malay or Tamil.
  • The Visual Arts Collection includes books, magazines and journals as well as exhibition catalogues covering Singapore and Southeast Asian arts. It offers global perspectives and exchanges in art traditions, and critical texts on the production of art in areas such as architecture, art history, fine arts, sculpture, graphic arts, design and photography.
  • The Performing Arts Collection has publications on the performing arts history of Singapore and Southeast Asia including in areas such as music, vocal music, plays and public performances and stage performances. This collection complements that of library@esplanade, a public library under the National Library Board dedicated to the performing arts

The Arts Collection can be found at level 8 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Singapore-related ephemera and primary materials such as photographs, posters and manuscripts as well as books and periodicals published before 1970 are located at the Reference Closed Access Collections (RCLOS) and can be consulted upon application at level 11 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. 

In addition, the Arts collection includes donations related to Singapore from individuals, collectors and organisations such as writers, musicians, theatre practitioners, arts groups and associations.

Two of such donations are highlighted below:

Edwin Thumboo

Edwin Thumboo is one of Singapore’s most distinguished poets and an integral figure in the development of Singapore literature. He was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 1980. His donation of over 2000 items range from literary works and critiques, to manuscripts and typescripts of his works including those of his iconic poems Gods Can Die (1977) and Ulysses by the Merlion (1979).

Michael Chiang

Michael Chiang, a prolific playwright since the 1980s, is well-known for his contributions to the arts scene in Singapore. He donated more than 100 items to the National Library. These comprise typescripts of his stage productions and screenplays including popular comedies such as Army Daze and Mortal Sins, as well as ephemera relating to his plays.

For more information on the Arts Collection,  Ask a Librarian.

For more information about donations or donating to NLB, please see “Donate to our Collections”.

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library level 7

Catalogue Location Code:


The Business Collection features a wide variety of resources in print and online formats, offering a global perspective on business and management. As quick access to current information is important, access to serials and up-to-date electronic databases are important in the provision of timely business information.

In addition, the National Library, Singapore’s Eye on Asia initiative provides up-to-date information on growth opportunities in ASEAN, China and India.  

The Business Collection focuses on the following areas:

  • Country Information
  • Industry Information
  • Business Directories
  • Market Reports
  • Legal Information (e.g. Taxation & Intellectual Property Rights)
  • Financing and Investment
  • Statistical Information
  • Business Start-up
  • Human Resource Management
  • Innovation
  • Marketing
  • China Business Resources

For more information on the Business Collection, Ask a Librarian.

Chinese, Malay and Tamil Collection

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library level 9


In addition to English, the National Library, Singapore comprehensively collects materials in Chinese, Malay and Tamil. A wide range of books and periodicals can be found at level 9 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

The language collection has also been enriched with donations from a range of sectors such as the literary and performing arts, social and community history, business, architecture and maritime sectors. In addition to publications, unpublished and primary materials such as manuscripts, typescripts, playscripts, photographs, music scores and ephemera (eg. programme booklets and brochures) have been added to the collection.  These special formats are located in the Reference Closed Collection (RCLOS) section of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library and can be consulted upon application at level 11.

For more information, please see our website on how to donate your collections to the National Library, Singapore

Examples of donated collections include:

Chinese clan associations

Singapore engages with clan associations covering various dialect groups

The National Library, Singapore engages with clan associations covering various dialect groups. We have received donations from over 15 clans such as the Eng Teng Association, Kim Mui Hoey Kuan, Lam Ann Association, Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, SFCCA, Sam Kiang Huay Kuan and others. The types of materials collected include primary documents, letters, meeting minutes, publications, photographs.

Patimah Jaludin

Patimah Jaludin

Patimah Jaludin is a retired Malay language teacher who writes under the pen name, Rosemala or Mala. She began writing for radio in 1965, short stories from 1972 and poetry from 2013. Patimah donated her collection of radio play scripts and short stories which included her award-winning works, Delima Gadis Masturah, Kerana Cinta dan Kasihku and Hatiku Di hatimu.


P. Krishnan

P. Krishnan, also known as Puthumaithasan, is one of Singapore’s Tamil literary pioneers. He is a prolific short-story writer, playwright, poet and radio broadcaster. He was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 2008.  Mr Krishnan donated over 100 manuscripts and typescripts of plays that he wrote for broadcast in the 1970s and 80s.


Chinese Collection /中文馆藏

Chinese Collection /中文馆藏

新加坡及东南亚主题华文馆藏、其他主题华文馆藏:第 9 楼








Malay Collection / Melayu

Malay Collection / Melayu

Lokasi: Perpustakaan Rujukan Lee Kong Chian Tingkat 9

Kod Lokasi di katalog: R, RSEA, RSING


Koleksi Melayu di Perpustakaan Rujukan Lee Kong Chian mengandungi bahan-bahan rujukan umum dalam bahasa Melayu yang menyentuh serta merangkumi segala aspek kehidupan masyarakat Melayu Nusantara, terutamanya aspek sosio-ekonomi, politik, kebudayaan, agama, bahasa, sastera, seni, pembangunan negara dan sejarah. Selain dari naskah buku, terdapat juga bahan-bahan pandang-dengar.

Bahan-bahan rujukan Melayu boleh juga didapati di Koleksi berikut:

  • Koleksi Singapura dan Asia Tenggara
  • Koleksi Nadir
  • Koleksi Kanak-Kanak Asia

Fokus Koleksi:

  • Rumpun Bahasa Melayu
  • Kesusasteraan Melayu
  • Tamadun Melayu dan Islam.

Untuk maklumat lanjut mengenai Koleksi Melayu, Ask a Librarian

Tamil Collection / தமிழ்

Tamil Collection / தமிழ்

நூலகத்தின் 9 ம் தளத்தில் உள்ளது.

புத்தகங்கள் இருக்கும் நூலகக் குறி: R, RSEA, RSING

தமிழ்த் தொகுப்பில் பன்னிரெண்டாயிரத்திற்கும் அதிகமான புத்தகங்களும் 45 சஞ்சிகைகளும் உள்ளன. இத்தொகுப்பில் உள்ள அனைத்து நூல்களும், தமிழ்நாடு, இலங்கை, மலேசியா ஆகிய நாடுகளிலிருந்து தருவிக்கப்பட்டு வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. இத்தொகுப்பில் பொதுப்பிரிவு, மெய்யியல், சமயம், சமூகவியல், மொழியியல், அறிவியல், கலைகள், இலக்கியம், புவியியல், வரலாறு என எல்லாப் பிரிவுகளிலும் புத்தகங்கள் இருக்கின்றன. உயர்நிலை, தொடக்கக் கல்லூரி மாணவர்கள், ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள், இலக்கிய ஆர்வலர்கள் பொதுமக்கள் என எல்லாப் பிரிவினருக்கும் ஏற்றவாறு புத்தகங்கள் இங்கு சேகரித்து வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

சிறப்புத் தொகுப்பான ஆசியச் சிறுவர் இலக்கியத் தொகுப்பும் இத்தளத்தில் சேர்க்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. சீனா, மலேசியா, இந்தியா இலங்கை போன்ற நாடுகளின் சிறுவர் இலக்கியங்கள் அந்நாடுகளின் கலாசாரம், சமூகம், புராணங்கள், இதிகாசங்கள் மற்றும் நாட்டுப்புற இலக்கியங்களின் பதிவாக அமைந்திருப்பதால், சிறுவர் இலக்கிய ஆய்வாளர்களுக்கும் உதவியாக இருக்கும்.

மேலும் விவரங்களுக்கு Ask a Librarian என்ற முகவரிக்கு மின்னஞ்சல் செய்யவும்

The Science and Technology Collection contains library materials on topics ranging from biology, physics, engineering, technology, health and wellness and environmental science, with a collection depth suitable for researchers as well as non-academic researchers and educators. There is also an emphasis on materials of current interest and relevance to Singapore.

The areas of focus in this collection include:

  • Energy (including Alternative energy and clean technology)
  • Applied sciences e.g. chemicals, manufacturing
  • Life sciences (Biomedical sciences and biotechnology)
  • Environmental science
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • Materials science
  • Natural resources e.g. water
  • Safety and security     

Social Sciences and Humanities

Lee Kong Chian Reference Library level 8

Catalogue Location Code:


Social sciences and humanities play an important role in the education of the individual, contribute to the economy and enhances our understanding of society and culture.The Social Sciences and Humanities Collection aims to support the existing as well as anticipated needs of users for responsive, timely and accurate information resources. These resources may be used to support research, education, and government policy decisions. The Collection focuses on the following areas:

  • Communication and technology
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Library and information Science
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Political science and public administration
  • Social policy
  • World History, in particular the general history of Asia

For more information on the Social Sciences and Humanities Collection, Ask a Librarian.