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Former National Library


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Former National Library


The Former National Library Building was opened on 12th November 1960 by then President of Singapore, Yusof Bin Ishak. It was followed by a whole week of festivities known as the National Library Week.

In the 1950s, towards the end of the early struggles of post- World War II Singapore, there was demand for a public library that could serve as needs of the population. After receiving a generous donation from Mr Lee Kong Chian, a Chinese community leader and philanthropist, work was started on Singapore’s free public library.

The National Library Building was designed by then director of the Raffles Library L.M. Harrod and Lional Bintley, a British architect with the Public Works Department. It was constructed on Stamford Road among many civil and educational institutions in the city area. It was built in the red-brick epoch style of British architecture that was rampant in the 1950s. After extensive renovation in 1997, the courtyard and a café were opened to provide an area for members of the public to enjoy.

There was also a Renaissance Fountain placed at the courtyard to signify the renaissance of the arts in Singapore. The design of the fountain was influenced by the major period of the Early Renaissance in the 15th Century. There is also a Fleur-de-lis at the top of the fountain that stands as a symbol of Florence: the birthplace of the renaissance.

The building was closed on the 31st of March 2004 to make way for the Fort Canning Tunnel to help ease traffic to and from the city. 

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