Bedok Public Library
by NIL:Jenny Tien
Bedok Public Library is the sixth branch library built by the National Library Board (NLB). It was known as Bedok Community Library until 2008.1 Officially opened on 28 September 1985 by S. Jayakumar, then minister for home affairs,2 it is currently one of the lifestyle libraries under the NLB banner and it has an enhanced Malay-language collection.3 The public library will be closed in 2017 as it shifts to a new integrated complex located beside its current site.4
First opening (1985)
Foundation work for the Bedok branch library started in September 1983 and the building was completed in December 1983.5 The S$6.87-million library was officially opened on 28 September 1985.6 It was reported that 20,000 visitors thronged the library on the third day of its opening.7
The new Bedok library featured a collection of about 300,0000 items, a third of which was books, with 200 magazine periodicals as well as videotapes and compact discs.8 To enhance the efficiency of the library operations, the computerisation of the library circulation system began in all libraries in 1987. Bedok Library was fully computerised in January 1988. Card catalogues were replaced by the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). Readers were able to have online access to the library’s catalogue by checking on the availability of books, checking of loan records and placing reservations.9
On 1 September 1995, the library was renamed Bedok Community Library when the National Library became a statutory board.10
The library was closed in January 2001 for a major upgrading and reopened on 18 November 2001 by Jayakumar after a S$4-million refurbishment. The manual system of issuing and collecting books was replaced by automated self-checkout machines and book-drops.11 The new Bedok Community Library is a three-storey building with a floor area of 5,088 sq m with a seating capacity of about 500. It serves more than 200,000 residents in eight constituencies: Bedok, Changi, Changkat, Fengshan, Kaki Bukit, Kampong Chai Chee, Eunos and Tanah Merah.12
On the first floor of the building, a corner designated as a “health corner” was equipped with machines for readers to check their blood pressure and exercise bikes. Three telephones linked to the Health Promotion Board’s health hotline were installed to allow readers to call for free health advice. In addition, about 5,000 health-related books were available for loan.13
On the second floor is the Malay Library with a collection of 30,000 Malays books on subjects ranging from folklore to science.14 Bedok library has the largest collection of Malay books amongst the NLB’s branch libraries. This was created in response to the large Malay community living in the Bedok area.15
The iPad loan service was launched on 21 June 2012 at Bedok Public Library. It is one of the first libraries in Southeast Asia to loan out iPads to the public. The initiative is part of NLB’s efforts to help bridge the digital divide among Singaporeans.16
As at 1 September 2014, it has a collection comprising 253,420 items; 16 multimedia stations; 15 catalogue stations; and six borrowing stations.17 In the financial year ending March 2011, Bedok Community Library served more than 2,097,573 visitors and has registered 1,344,703 library loans.18
Bedok Library was one of the polling stations during the 2015 general election for residents of the East Coast constituency.19
1. National Library Board. (n.d.). National Library Board annual report 2008/2009. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy08/
2. Bedok Public Library. (2016, March 10). Retrieved May 06, 2016, from http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/330/Default.aspx?branch=Bedok+Public+Library
3. Workout at Bedok’s ‘new’ library. (2001, November 19). The Straits Times, p. H7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Chin, D (2014, July 26). Bedok residents to get new sports complex, library and community club under one roof by 2017. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
5. National Library. (1983). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, p. 7. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR-[AR])
6. Library opens. (1985, September 29). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Perera, A. (1985, October 6). Bedok library under siege. The Straits Times, p, 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Library opens. (1985, September 29). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. National Library. (1985). Annual report. Singapore: The Library, pp. 13, 15. (Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)
10. National Library Board. (1995, September 30). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Bedok library to be upgraded. (2000, December 29). The Straits Times, p. H9; Taking a page from library’s success. (2001, November 19). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. National Library Board. (2014, September 14). Bedok Public Library.Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Bedok%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
13. Workout at Bedok’s ‘new’ library (2001, November 19). The Straits Times, p. H7; Ong. S. (2001, November 19). Lending by the book. The Straits Times, p. L4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. National Library. (1985). Bedok Community Library. Singapore: Author. (Call no.: RCLOS NC20)
15. Ong. S. (2001, November 19). Lending by the book. The Straits Times, p. L4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Lua, J. M. (2012, June 22). No iPad? You can borrow one from the library. The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ng, T. (2012, June 21). iPads and Kindles for loan now at Bedok Public Library. AsiaOne. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
17. National Library Board. (2014, September 14). Bedok Public Library. Retrieved 2016, June 13 from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/documents/Bedok%20Public%20Library%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
18. National Library Board. (n.d.). Statistical summary: National Library Board annual report FY2010/2011, p. 49. Retrieved 2016, May 6 from National Library Board website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/Reports/fy10/content/NLB_AR10_11_statistical summary.pdf
19. Republic of Singapore. Government gazette. (2015, September 4). (G.N. 2183). Notice of contested election for the electoral division of East Coast. Retrieved 2016, May 24, from Elections Department website: http://www.eld.gov.sg/gazette/G_ParE2015/NOCE/Notice of Contested Election for the ED of East Coast.pdf
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 of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.