Queenstown Community Library
by Wong, Heng
The Queenstown Community Library located at 53 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149297, was opened on 2 May 1970. It was the first full-time Branch Library, built by the National Library in its plan to decentralise home reading services. It pioneered several firsts amongst Branch Libraries, including becoming the first fully air-conditioned Branch in 1978, computerising its loan services in 1987, and lending video cassettes in 1997. It was refurbished in 2003.
The Queenstown Branch Library was the first public library building planned by local librarians in close liaison with PWD architects. The building plans were approved by Mrs Hedwig Anuar, the then-Director of the National Library. Building construction began in November 1968 and with its completion, the building was handed over to the National Library on 26 December 1969.
The need for a library in Queenstown was not only because it provided access to books which few could afford, but because, as Mr Lee Kuan Yew highlighted, it also served as " a sanctuary of peace and quiet where concentration is possible..". The Queenstown Branch Library was officially opened by the then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 30 April 1970.
On 7 October 1987, Queenstown Community Library became the first public library in the National Library Boards network to have its library services put online.
The Queenstown Branch Library was renamed the Queenstown Community Library when the National Library became a Statutory Board on 1 September 1995.
The library was closed for upgrading work on 4 February 2003 and officially reopened on 31 October 2003 by Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of National Development, and Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
The Queenstown Branch Library is a two-storey stand-alone building, built in the heart of a public housing estate in Queenstown. Fronting the Library across the road is a shopping centre, a market and two cinemas. A public medical clinic is located to the Library's right and on its left a post office. Immediately behind the Library there are multi-storey residential flats, and around it several amenities including many schools.
Initially, the Queenstown Branch Library had a floor area of 3, 195.85 sq m, a capacity for 200,000 volumes and a seating space for 280 readers. It had a Children's Room on the ground floor and an Adult and Young People's Room (1,189.15 sq m), which included a Reference Section on the first floor. These Rooms provided lending and reference services to the residents. Library programmes were organised to encourage reading. After the renovations in 2003, the area was expanded to 3,349 sq m with an initial collection of 150,000 print and non-print materials. It has a unique intergeneration theme; the iGEN@Queenstown that seeks to bring together seniors, adults, youth and children. By providing opportunities for patrons to read, learn and interact through activities within the library environment, the goal is to forge closer community bonds across the generation divide.
The library serves the residents of Alexandra, Bukit Timah, Buona Vista, Clementi, Commonwealth, Dover, Ghim Moh, Holland, Pasir Panjang, Queenstown, Tanglin Halt and Ulu Pandan.
Chan, T. S. (1971). A branch library for the people. Singapore libraries, 1, 63-66.
(Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SL)
National Library. (1968). Annual report (p. 10). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)
National Library. (1969). Annual report (p. 9). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR )
National Library Board. (2001). Queenstown Community Library. Retrieved December 13, 2004, from http://www.nlb.gov.sg/images/LibInfo-QUCL.pdf
List of Images
National Library (Singapore). (1970). Annual report (pp. 1, 6-7). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)
The information in this article is valid as at 2000 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.