Sengkang Community Library


The Sengkang Community Library is located at 1, Sengkang Square, Compass Point, #04-26/27, Singapore 545078. This is the tenth library of the National Library Board that is located inside a shopping mall. It is the first library of NLB to follow the Do-It-Yourself concept and is manned by just one librarian. The library was officially opened on 30 November 2002 by Rear-Admiral Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister of Education and Second Minister for Defence.

The Sengkang Community Library was opened to serve the residents of two new housing estates, Sengkang and Punggol. It is headed by Zahra Aljunied. it is a fully computerised library with a collection of 120,000 publications. The library hopes to reach the target of 660,000 visitors, 640,000 book loans and 6000 new members by March 2003.

DIY Concept
NLB's mission is to enhance the learning capacity of the nation. After Bukit Batok Community was fully automated, NLB decided to introduce the concept of self-servicing through automated services in another library. Sengkang Community Library's automated services makes borrowing and returning of books fast and easy for its users. The automated services were further enhanced by introducing a Cybarian kiosk and a Membership registration kiosk. Though there is only one librarian stationed at the library, there are at any one time more than 25 volunteers ready to help out its customers. This is to increase the involvement of the general public with the library.

Cybarian Service
A Cybrarian kiosk allows library customers to interact with library staff members without the need to speak to a librarian in person. The process starts by picking up a telephone hand set and pressing "A" to speak to a Cybrarian. The Cybrarian in this case is stationed at Tampines Community Library. The Cybrarian gives assistance via phone to a customer on looking for information, using the catalogue or online databases through a PC monitor situated in the Cybrarian kiosk or booth. This is done through what is called a co-browsing facility. The Cybrarian could even lead the customer to the exact location of the book in the library.

Membership Registration Kiosk
This self-service kiosk allows library patrons to register themselves as members. It also helps patrons to subscribe or renew their premium service membership, request for a new membership and replace lost membership cards. This facility is available to Singaporeans and PRs only. To use Sengkang Community Library services, foreigners have to go to other branches to register themselves.

The library has a floor area of 1,809 square metres. The library is divided into four zones namely, Collection, Cybercafe, Transaction and Activity zones. The Collection Zone is home to adult, young people and children materials, mainly for lending. It houses 99,530 lending books, 180 magazines and 470 reference books. The six multimedia stations and cafe area is situated in the Cybercafe Zone. The Transaction Zone houses the membership registration kiosks, cashcard top-up facility, three borrower's payment and enquiries stations as well as the seven borrowing stations and a Cybarian kiosk. Various programmes are held in the Activity Zone. There are a total of two bookdrops, seven online catalogues and two pre-payment stations.

Storytelling sessions and other programmes are conducted for children from time to time. Occasional talks for adults are also held. Entrance for all the programmes is on a first-come-first-served basis and no prior registration is required. The maximum capacity of the Activity Room is 40.

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

Sengkang has the first DIY library; There will be only one librarian at the Sengkang Community Library
. (2002, October 5). The Straits Times, Life!.

Sim, C. Y. (2002, November 24).
Self-service library opens in Sengkang; There will be no service counters and only one staff librarian will be based there. The Straits Times, Tech & Science.

National Library Board. (n.d.).
Sengkang Community Library information sheet [Brochure]. Singapore: National Library Board.

National Library Board. (November/December 2002).
@the Library - Feature stories: Sengkang Community Library - The wave of the future. Retrieved Januray 7, 2003, from

Singapore Government Press Release. (2002, 30 November). Speech by RADM Teo Chee Hean, Minister for education and second minister for defence and Member of Parliment for Pasir Ris - Punggol GRC, at the official opening of Sengkang Community Library on Saturday, 30 November 2002 at 2:15pm. Retrieved January 7, 2003, from

The information in this article is valid as at 2002 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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