Bukit Merah Community Library

by Wong, Heng


Bukit Merah Community Library, located at Bukit Merah Central, Singapore, was the fourth full-time Branch Library built by the National Library in its decentralised plan to bring library services nearer to people's homes. The Library is the first amongst the Branch Libraries to have an audiovisual room specially designed for such a purpose. For weeks after the Library's opening on 29 December 1982, it was heavily used.

The Bukit Merah Branch Library is a three-storey building built on a site of 0.15 ha along Jalan Bukit Merah at the heart of the Town Centre. With a total built-in area of 4,300 sq m, the Library is designed to serve a projected maximum population of 220, 000 living in seven constituencies of Bukit Merah, Bukit Ho Swee, Delta, Kim Seng, Radin Mas, Henderson, and Telok Blangah. It is fully air-conditioned and has a seating capacity for 405 readers.

The first storey, approximately 800 sq m, is occupied by the Foyer, the Bags & Satchels Section and the Children's Section which consists of a Reading Room, (140 seats), a Storytelling Room (60 seats) and a Reference Room (25 seats).

The Adult & Young People's Reading occupies an area of 823 sq m on the second storey with 140 seats. Adjacent to it is a Staff Workroom which includes a Senior Librarian's Room and a Staff Rest Room.

The Adult and Young People's Reference Room is located on the third storey, with a floor area of 309 sq m and a seating capacity of 100 readers. This Reference Room is connected to two Meeting Rooms, a Training Centre, an Office for the National Library's Staff Development and Welfare Officer and a Bookstack. The 336 sq m multi-purpose Lecture Hall is located nearby with a seating capacity for 280 people. The Lecture Hall is equipped with a stage, heavy curtains, stage and spot lights and a public address system.

Planning for the Bukit Merah Branch began in April 1972 when a tentative site for a branch library was allotted in the Telok Blangah New Town Centre. However, due to land alienation complications, the project was kept in abeyance.

In February 1975, a new site was found. In FY 1976 a six-member Telok Blangah Branch Building Committee was formed, chaired first by Mr Cheong Kwai Liew and subsequently by Mr Rishpal Singh. In March 1977, the Committee submitted a comprehensive plan for the new Branch Library.

Development proposals for a full-time Branch Library in Bukit Merah, submitted in early 1977, were approved by the Treasury in March 1979.

The original plans for a four-storey building were scaled down to a three-storey building, excluding an auditorium and staff car park. Tenders for the building were called in May 1980, and piling and foundation works were completed in December 1980. In October 1982 the keys to the new library building were officially handed over to the National Library.

On 28 December 1983, Mr Lim Chee Onn, then Minister-without-Portfolio and Member of Parliament for Bukit Merah, officially declared the National Library Bukit Merah Branch open, amid much ceremony and celebrations, including the attendance of two teams of lion dancers. On the next day the Library was opened to the public.

The Bukit Merah Branch Library was renamed the Bukit Merah Community Library when National Library became a Statutory Board on 1 September 1995.

Heng Wong

Lee, Olive. (1983). National Library, Bukit Merah Branch. Singapore libraries, 13, 12 -14. 
(Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SL) 

National Library. (1975-76). Annual Report, (p.10). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

National Library. (1976-77). Annual Report, (p. 10). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

National Library. (1977-78). Annual Report, (pp.12-13, 19). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

National Library. (1978-79). Annual Report, (p. 15).Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

National Library. (1979-80). Annual Report, (p.14). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

National Library. (1981-82). Annual Report, (p. 7). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 027.55957 RLSAR)

Further Readings
National Library Board.  (n.d.)  Bukit Merah Community Library. Retrieved January 6, 2005 from www.nlb.gov.sg/images/LibInfo-BMCL.pdf

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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