The main branch of Singapore’s National Library reopened with great fanfare in August. Newspapers wrote about the huge collection housed in a gleaming new ecofriendly highrise. The building does look impressive. But I was a bit disappointed when I visited the library for the first time on Sunday. True, I visited only the Central Lending Section — and not the reference library which has the major collection — and spent only an hour browsing through the racks. But that was enough to show the lending library at least offers a rather limited choice of fiction. And the decor too is somewhat impersonal.
I prefer the Woodlands branch for its fine collection of fiction. It’s well laid out too and stocks newspapers such as The Guardian and The Times. At least, it did when I last visited it before going to America. I hope it doesn’t get cannibalised, ceding some of its collection to other branches of the National Library. I must visit it next weekend to see if it’s just as good as it used to be.