Library Book Sale



The National Library Board’s first centralised Library Book Sale was held at the Suntec City Entertainment Centre in 19981 in conjunction with the Great Singapore Sale.2 Since then, the book sale has been taking place almost every year either at the Singapore Expo in Changi or the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. The sale is usually a two-day event where used library books are sold cheaply.3 The Library Book Sale has met with great success, drawing huge crowds.4
 
History
Before the first centralised Library Book Sale in 1998, library book sales were held at individual libraries. The National Library, which used to be located on Stamford Road, held its book sale at the staff carpark area of its former premises. The purpose of these book sales was to clear old and worn-out books in order to make space for new ones. The money raised was used to fund library operations and to buy new books.5 Due to the huge demand for used books, it was decided to centralise these ad-hoc book sales to give book lovers a wider choice of books to purchase. The National Library Board saw the event as a meaningful way to promote reading, literacy and lifelong learning as well as to recycle and extend the lifespan of books. Hence the first centralised book sale was held in 1998 at the Suntec City Entertainment Centre, where 120,000 books were put up for sale.6


Description
The book sale has been held almost annually since 1998, usually at the Singapore Expo in Changi and sometimes at the Suntec City Convention and Exhibition Centre.7 About 300,000 books and magazines are put up for sale each year, though the actual numbers vary from year to year, depending on the number of books weeded from the individual libraries. The average shelf life of a book at the sale is at least four years. The materials are arranged by language, age group, and fiction or non-fiction. Books are sold for S$1 to $S2, and magazines for S$5 per pack of 10 or 20 issues.8 The Library Book Sale has received overwhelming response from the public and long queues usually form before the sale opens.9 Since its launch in 1998, the National Library Board has also carried out a pre-event charity book donation.10



Author

Anasuya Balamurugan



References
1. Library sale attracts a crowd. (1998, July 19). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Library to hold Great S’pore Booksale. (1998, June 17). The Straits Times, p.2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Goy, P. (2008, July 20). 170,000 books snapped up at library sale. The Straits Times, p. 14; Tan, J. (2009, August 24). 60,000 turn up for library book sale. The Straits Times, p. 18; 170,000 books sold. (2008, July 20). The New Paper, p. 27; Zaidah Rahmat. (2008, July 12). Bag books from just $1. The Straits Times, p. 3; Bigger venue, 250,000 books on offer this year. (1999, June 19). The Straits Times, p. 4; Get cheap books at library sale. (2004, January 10). The Straits Times, p. H8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Ng, J. (2000, July 16). Library book sale that got too hot. The Straits Times, p. 32; Library sale attracts a crowd. (1998, July 19). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Azizah Sidek, et al. (2007). The people’s library: 50 years of national and public library services. Singapore: National Library Board, pp. 129–132. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SIN); Library to hold Great S’pore Booksale. (1998, June 17). The Straits Times, p. 2; Woon, W. T. (1994, August 24). Bukit Merah’s big book bang. The New Paper, p. 9; Branch library’s sale of old books draws crowd. (1996, November 22). The Straits Times, p. 50; Pram comes in handy at library sale. (1997, March 8). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Library to hold Great S’pore Booksale. (1998, June 17). The Straits Times, p. 2; Chia, S. (1998, July 20). A 2-1/2 hour wait to buy cheap books. The Straits Times, p. 27; Get cheap books at library sale. (2004, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 8; Zaidah Rahmat. (2008, July 12). Bag books from just $1. The Straits Times, p. 3; Tan, J. (2009, August 24). 60,000 turn up for library sale. The Straits Times, p. B2; 300,000 used books up for grabs at NLB sale. (2012, September 16). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Goy, P. (2008, July 20). 170,000 books snapped up at library sale. The Straits Times, p. 14; Get cheap books at library sale. (2004, January 10). The Straits Times, p. H8; Chua, W. Y. (1999, July 2). Double the size, double the book. The New Paper, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Tom, K. (2006, August 11). Grab your pick from. The Straits Times, p. 2; Lim, L. C. (2001, July 4). The big book feast. The New Paper, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Ng, J. (2000, July 16). Library book sale that got too hot. The Straits Times, p. 32; Guess what these queues are for. (2003, January 12). The Straits Times, p. 6; Zaidah Rahmat. (2008, July 12). Bag books from just $1. The Straits Times, p. 3; Chow, C. (2006, August 15). 70,000 bookworms flock to Library sale. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Almost 100 organisations benefit form charity book donation. (2011, July 22). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/



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 on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Books--Prices--Singapore
Science and technology>>Library and information science>>Library and information services
Libraries--Singapore
Events